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Dr. Flemings
At first, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, may cause no symptoms or only mild symptoms. But as the disease progresses, symptoms can become severe. Dr. Patel, can you tell us about the symptoms of COPD?

Dr. Patel
Sure, Dr. Flemings. Common signs and symptoms of COPD include:

  • An ongoing cough or a cough that produces a lot of mucus, often called smoker's cough
  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • Wheezing or a whistling or squeaky sound that accompanies breathing, and
  • Chest tightness

Many people with COPD also find that they are more susceptible to respiratory infections, such as the common cold or influenza.

Severe COPD can cause other symptoms as well, including:

  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, or legs
  • Weight loss, and
  • Decreased muscle endurance

Some symptoms of severe COPD may indicate the need for emergency medical care. These include:

  • Difficulty catching your breath or talking
  • Bluish lips or fingernails
  • Mental sluggishness, and
  • A very fast heartbeat