Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects 1 out of 20 Australians. It’s also among the top 5 fatal health conditions according to recent studies. COPD is commonly caused by tobacco smoking and exposure to toxic fumes, moldy and dusty environments, among other causes.
With time, these factors cause severe and irreversible lung damage through excessive swelling and blockage of the airways.
COPD is not fully treatable. Once it touches your lungs, you can only manage and live with it. The good news is that with the early treatment you can enjoy a prolonged life and fewer breathing complications. It is therefore important to understand the signs and symptoms that come with it early enough.
In this article, we explore the signs and symptoms you should look out for.
Shortness of breath when doing regular activities like working out or walking is normal. But if you find yourself experiencing the same situation too many times, even when doing simple physical activities like walking or climbing a few stairs, go get yourself checked.
The condition could be more serious if you often experience difficulty breathing when you are not doing anything at all. COPD causes airways blockage through swelling and could be the reason why you have to stop and catch your breath every now and then.
A Persistent Chesty Cough
Coughs are triggered by many factors such as a bout of the common cold. When the cough is mild or disappears after a short while, that’s not a cause for alarm. You should however be on the lookout when the cough is accompanied by gunk and is recurrent.
Many people who come to Providence Medical Center with such coughs often get diagnosed with COPD. It is therefore advisable for you to monitor your cough and see your doctor if it fails to clear.
Frequent Chest Infections
Most chest infections clear easily with proper medication. However, having them too frequently weakens your respiratory system, leaving your airways and air sacs inflamed. The result could be fatal and the infection cycle endless.
Go for a check-up if you have been having constant colds, flu, or other infections recently even after medication to rule out COPD.
Wheezing is the high-pitched noise that comes when exhaling. Heavy production of mucus on your respiratory tract walls makes breathing laborious prompting the wheeze. Although you can wheeze from other causes, most COPD patients have reported having had serious cases of the same, making it a prime symptom. See your doctor if the wheeze is louder and refuses to go.
The Constant Need To Clear Your Throat
We all feel the need to clear our throats once in a while, especially when we wake up. However, too much of the need could be an indicator that you airways are covered in too much mucus. To clear any doubts, see your doctor so you can be sure you do not have COPD.
When To Seek Emergency Medical Care
COPD is a progressive disease, sometimes getting intense flare-ups and can be hard to detect. It is therefore important to have regular check-ups if you notice the slightest of the above symptoms.
Remember to give your doctor all the relevant information for a more accurate diagnosis. For instance, let your doctor know if you are currently smoking, have a family history of COPD, are under medication, or have asthma.
In summary, seek immediate help from a good medical clinic near you if you experience any or all of these signs. Getting treatment from the best medical facility is a sure way to have full control of COPD symptoms and improve the quality of your life. At Providence Medical, we have a team of specialist doctors with a wealth of experience in diagnosing and treating COPD. Visit any of our centers to experience our quality healthcare services.