What is COPD?
COPD is really an umbrella term for a group of lung diseases that block your airflow and make breathing difficult. Asthma, bronchitis and emphysema are just a few common examples of COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
What are the signs and symptoms of COPD?
A sign is something you or another person can see. A symptom is something you can feel. Here are the main early warning signs and symptoms of COPD:
- Increased shortness of breath
- Coughing more than usual
- Chest tightness, pressure
- Feeling more anxious than usual
- Fluid retention, sudden weight gain, swelling at ankles
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling cold symptoms
- Sputum (the stuff you cough or spit up) changes colors (normal color of sputum is clear)
- Needing rescue medicine more than usual
Every person with COPD is unique and will experience unique symptoms, including some that are not listed above.
How do we treat COPD?
There are many possible treatments for COPD, the most common of which are bronchodilators such as rescue inhalers and oral steroids that open your breathing passages. Self-care should include quitting smoking, physical exercise and practicing proper breathing technique. Other treatments can include pulmonary rehabilitation and oxygen therapy.