Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease symptoms

Reading time: 2 min

COPD does not have a specific clinical diagnosis, given that the symptoms may be common to other lung diseases. The most frequent symptoms are:

Shortness of breath, choking

Shortness of breath (dyspnoea) on exertion, often slowly progressive. This symptom is the most relevant, given that its appearance in a person who smokes leads to the suspicion of COPD. In addition, many studies seem to show that the progressive increase in dyspnoea on exertion is associated with other factors that define a poor prognosis.

Man coughing

Frequent cough. The cough that manifests in COPD patients is constant from the beginning of the disease and worsens slowly and progressively over the years.

Cough with sputum, sputum

Daily coughing up of phlegm for more than 3 months in the previous 2 years defines chronic bronchitis. The presence of chronic phlegm may be associated with an increased risk of decompensation episodes.

Respiratory sounds, lung whistles, strong breathing

Respiratory noises may appear, which in some cases appear as whistles (technically called wheezing).

The diagnosis of COPD can only be established with certainty if lung function tests are performed.

Substantiated information by:

Núria Seijas
Néstor Soler

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018

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