COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affects more than 11 million people in the United States.  Worse, the same number of people could still be suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease without even realizing it. COPD is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and treatment options. Below, we’ve listed both options for you.
COPD patients have obstructions in their respiratory system airways, to put it simply. Emphysema, asthma, and bronchitis are among the respiratory diseases that make up the condition. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is mostly caused by smoking, but it can also be caused by exposure to toxins or chemicals in the atmosphere.
This disease is treatable, but it continues to worsen and becomes lethal if left untreated. The most common symptoms can be somewhat similar to a common chest cold, which can make diagnosis difficult.
Early Symptoms of COPD
According to Health US News, there are more than a half-dozen Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease warning signs.  They may not appear to be significant on their own, but it’s important to see your doctor regardless, especially if you’re experiencing multiple ones.
1. Sleeping Problems
It’s normal for people to sleep better some nights than others, but if you wake up coughing or gasping for air, you may be experiencing early COPD symptoms.
2. Waking Up With Headaches
Because your lungs struggle to get enough oxygen during sleep, morning headaches are another early sign of this worrying disease.
3. Changes in Mucus
A change in the amount, color, frequency, or quality of your mucus should be taken seriously. If you have more mucus in your nose and throat than normal, or if the color is yellow, green, or dark red, see your doctor.
4. Excessive wheezing and coughing for no apparent reason
Coughing and wheezing that persists even though you are not ill is a warning that something is wrong and that you should speak with your doctor about getting certified and secure tests.
5. Excessive Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath during the day and during normal physical activity, even though you are not overly active, may indicate that you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
6. Excessive Fatigue
Feeling sluggish or drained all of the time is a symptom of COPD or, at the very least, sleep apnea. This symptom should not be overlooked.
7. Ankle Swelling
Your blood vessels will make your heart work harder and cause swelling in your ankles and extremities if your body doesn’t get enough oxygen.
8. Weight Loss Without Justification
If you have problems with your lungs or breathing, you can notice a significant reduction in appetite and subsequent weight loss.
What Do After You Are Diagnosed With it?
While receiving a COPD diagnosis may be a harsh awakening, it doesn’t mean your quality of life has to suffer. COPD can be successfully managed with the right motivation and treatment. It’s important that you talk to your doctor about your treatment options, including medicine, recovery, surgery, and oxygen therapy.
If you notice yourself among the COPD symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment with a doctor right away. Don’t forget that if you don’t handle COPD, it will get worse over time.
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