The signs and symptoms of COPD include:
•An ongoing cough or a cough that produces large amounts of mucus (often called “smoker’s cough”)
•Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
•Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe)
These symptoms often occur years before the flow of air into and out of the lungs declines. However, not everyone who has these symptoms has COPD. Likewise, not everyone who has COPD has these symptoms.
Some of the symptoms of COPD are similar to the symptoms of other diseases and conditions. Your doctor can find out whether you have COPD.
If you have COPD, you may have colds or the flu (influenza) frequently. If your COPD is severe, you may have swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs; a bluish color on your lips due to a low blood oxygen level; and shortness of breath.
COPD symptoms usually slowly worsen over time. At first, if 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 see a doctor. For example, you may get short of breath during physical exertion.
How severe your symptoms are depends on how much lung damage you have. If you keep smoking, the damage will occur faster than if you stop smoking. In severe COPD, you may have other symptoms, such as weight loss and lower muscle endurance.
Some severe symptoms may require treatment in a hospital. You—with the help of family members or friends, if you’re unable—should seek emergency care if:
•You’re having a hard time catching your breath or talking.
•Your lips or fingernails turn blue or gray. (This is a sign of a low oxygen level in your blood.)
•You’re not mentally alert.
•Your heartbeat is very fast.
•The recommended treatment for symptoms that are getting worse isn’t working.
Who is InPraize and Why Does She Care About
Breathing For Life?
Hello, my name is Stephanie Carter, but around the Internet communities, I’m known as “InPraize”. I am so honored that Beverly has allowed me to become a part of this awesome project, bringing to light the lives, struggles and victories of individuals living with pulmonary diseases. My reason for caring is simple….I have been an asthmatic since the age of 13 months, and at no time have I outgrown the symptoms or stigma that comes along with this disease.
I have had ups and downs living with asthma (and subsequently emphysema and bronchitis), but the love and support of a great family and good friends have helped me live my life with dignity and filled with fun and laughter.
Asthma is a disease that has been in my family for generations. Typically, one out of two children born into our family has the disease, both male and female. The interesting part is that most of the males outgrow the disease by puberty; and most of the females outgrow it by the time they are in their twenties. Then, there is Stephanie. I’ve had full blown asthma all my life. The running joke use to be that Stephanie has never experienced the first day of school, because she has always been either sick at home, or sick in the hospital. This is something that followed me clear into college.
There was a brief period of time that I was on full-time oxygen treatment and I frequently need to utilize a nebulizer at home. In addition, I have sleep apnea, which requires sleeping with a c-pap machine each night.
Well, now that you know me, what can you expect from my posts? Just about anything. From childhood to adult memories of dealing with asthma, as well as dealing with other’s misconceptions about asthma and asthmatics, I’ll also be educating others about what asthma, emphysema, bronchitis and sleep apnea really consist of and the ins and outs of the treatments.
For me, I can’t imagine a time when I didn’t have asthma. My parents say I started showing signs when I was about 5 or 6, so I’m inclined to believe them. Knowing that, it shows I was in Kindergarten at that time. That was in Bose Elementary, in Kenosha, Wisconsin (yes, folks, I am a born & raised “Cheesehead”—I alas have the iconic foam cheese wedge to prove it!), the school I went to from Kindergarten thru 2nd grade. I remember living just a half a block away from school, so it never occurred to me that asthma would affect my life.Read more ›
•Chronic obstructive airway disease
•Chronic obstructive lung disease
Bronchitis (bron-KI-tis) is a condition in which the bronchial tubes become inflamed. These tubes carry air to your lungs. (For more information about the bronchial tubes and airways, go to the Health Topics How the Lungs Work article.)
People who have bronchitis often have a cough that brings up mucus. Mucus is a slimy substance made by the lining of the bronchial tubes. Bronchitis also may cause wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe), chest pain or discomfort, a low fever, and shortness of breath.Read more ›