Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of death and disability in this country. COPD encompasses many lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, all of which make it difficult to breathe. In the majority of COPD cases, smoking is the main culprit.
COPD develops slowly, and people are often not diagnosed with it until their 50s, when the disease has greatly affected their lung function and their lungs have been irreparably damaged.
Learn more about the tests and scores used to diagnose COPD ›
When the symptoms of COPD get worse, it’s important not to ignore them. Your goal is to keep your lungs working as well as possible. Talk with your health care provider about whether these steps can help you control COPD.
To help control worsening symptoms of COPD, be aware of the early warning signs of change, such as more frequent symptoms or the onset of a new symptom. This could include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or mucus production. Ask those close to you to watch for changes, too.
What are the warning signs that you may need additional treatment? ›