Most of us have trouble catching our breath from time to time. Maybe you exerted yourself too much on the basketball court, or you ran too far one day. Whatever the case, having to stop to get more air into your lungs is normal for most people. However, those with COPD have this feeling most of the time even without exerting themselves. If you are wondering if your health conditions are an indication of COPD you need to learn what are the signs and symptoms of COPD so you can get the help you need in the event that you need it.
The Beginning Stages:
In the beginning, there may be no obvious signs that you have COPD. However, as the condition worsens little signs may gradually begin to show. For some, developing an ongoing cough or one that produces a lot of mucus can be an indication that something's wrong. You could also find yourself short of breath for no apparent reason, wheezing when you breathe, or you may feel a slight tightness in your chest.
Not everyone who has COPD will demonstrate the same symptoms so while one person may have developed an unrelenting cough someone else may only have the tightness in the chest. This is why some people have difficulty identifying what are the signs and symptoms of COPD. Many of the symptoms you experience can actually mimic other health conditions that may not be so serious. And if the symptoms are mild enough you may not even take note of them.
The Damage To The Lungs:
Over time though, the condition will continue to worsen to the point where it will become obvious that something is wrong. You may find yourself getting winded just getting out of bed or you may notice that you'd rather take the shorter route to certain locations because you know you're going to be struggling to breathe.
As the severity of the condition continues to advance, you will need to get to a doctor for treatment. Without medical treatment the symptoms could progress to a point where it can cause damage to your lungs. The secondary stages of the disease could show in other symptoms; swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs. You may notice a sudden weight loss even though you are not physically active, and there's a weakening in the muscles. When conditions continue to advance it may require medical treatment or hospitalization.
Medical treatment should be sought for as soon as possible if you can't seem to catch your breath, your lips or fingernails begin to turn blue or gray, you can't seem to stay focused, you have a rapid heartbeat, or medically prescribed treatment does not seem to be working.
Knowing what are the signs and symptoms of COPD can literally save a life. While the early stages and symptoms may not be obvious, if you have any reason at all to suspect COPD it is important to get a diagnosis. As the disease advances it can cause severe damage to your lungs and disrupt your lifestyle. Without treatment there will be a point of no return where recovery will become impossible. So if you want to preserve quality of life and reclaim your lungs then getting started on a diagnosis and treatment for COPD is an absolute must.