What are some early symptoms of COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?
This condition affects many people, generally over the age of 40-50. Most commonly, it affects people who smoked for many years.
Initially, most patients complain of fatigue, tiredness, especially on exertion. For example, many people may find climbing stairs or keeping up with their friends when going for a walk more difficult. Many people think this is a normal part of growing older, however COPD may sometimes explain this shortness of breath on exertion.
Coughing, especially a productive, wet cough which doesn’t seem to go away may also be a sign of COPD.
Sometimes, the coughing may only represent chronic bronchitis, however, a spirometry is usually necessary to make the distinction. Spirometry is a simple breathing test which can help diagnose COPD.
Once COPD is diagnosed there are many treatments available, mostly inhalers. In mild cases, only one inhaler dose per day may be sufficient to improve symptoms dramatically.
Do not hesitate to discuss any respiratory symptoms with your doctor, as it is worth diagnosing COPD early.
If you are still actively smoking, this would be a great time to think about quitting.