Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center
Frederick, MD 21704
COPD: Part 2
Making Breathing Difficult For Millions of Americans
At first, COPD may cause no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, symptoms usually become more severe. Common signs and symptoms of COPD include an ongoing cough or a cough that produces a lot of mucus, this is often called smoker’s cough, shortness of breath, especially with physical activity, wheezing, whistling or squeaky sounds when you breathe and chest tightness.
If you have COPD, you often may have colds or other respiratory infections such as the flu, or influenza.
Not everyone who has the symptoms described above has COPD. Likewise, not everyone who has COPD has these symptoms
If your symptoms are mild, you may not notice them, or you may adjust your lifestyle to make breathing easier. For example, you may take the elevator instead of the stairs.
Over time, symptoms may become severe enough to cause you to see a doctor. For example, you may become short of breath during physical exertion.
When you do visit your doctor let your doctor know about these symptoms and if you have an ongoing cough, let your doctor know how long you have had it, how much you cough, and how much mucus comes up when you cough. Also, let your doctor know whether you have a family history of COPD.
The severity of your symptoms will depend on how much lung damage you have. If you keep smoking, the damage will occur faster than if you stop smoking.
Severe COPD can cause other symptoms, such as swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs, weight loss and low muscle endurance.
Some severe symptoms may require treatment in a hospital. Seek emergency care if you are experiencing a hard time catching your breath or talking, your lips or fingernails turn blue or gray, a sign of a low oxygen level in your blood, people around you notice that you are not mentally alert or your heartbeat is very fast.
Prevent COPD Before It Starts
The best way to prevent COPD is to never start smoking or to quit smoking. If you do smoke, talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit.
If you have trouble quitting smoking on your own, consider joining a support group. Many hospitals, workplaces, and community groups offer classes to help people quit smoking. You may also call the National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quit Line at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848). Also, try to avoid lung irritants that can contribute to COPD.