What is COPD?
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is damage to the lungs that makes it hard to breathe. Most people with COPD have both:
- Chronic bronchitis – airways are swollen with a lot of mucus.
- Emphysema – air sacs in the lungs are floppy and make it hard to catch your breath.
Signs of COPD
Early signs may include:
- Lots of mucus, often in the morning.
- Nagging cough (smoker’s cough).
- Hard to catch your breath, mostly when
- Wheezing or whistling when you breathe.
- Chest tightness.
- Lung issues, like often getting a cold or
When COPD is worse, you may have:
- Blue or gray lips or fingernails.
- Weight loss.
- Fast heartbeat.
- Trouble catching breath or talking.
Living with COPD
There is no cure for COPD, but these things can help you feel better:
- Avoid dust, chemicals, and smoke
- Talk with a doctor about:
- COPD meds.
- Exercise and diet.
- Ask for help with daily tasks.
- Stay away from secondhand smoke.
- If you smoke, try to quit!
Why Quit Smoking
You can’t get rid of COPD, but quitting can:
- Stop COPD from getting worse.
- Help with shortness of breath,
coughing, sinus issues, and feeling
- Allow lungs to work better.
Help from the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line
Content from: UW-CTRI and the University of California-San Diego