Many people mistake their increased breathlessness and coughing as a normal part of aging. In the early stages of the disease, you may not notice the symptoms. COPD can develop for years without noticeable shortness of breath. You begin to see the symptoms in the more developed stages of the disease. That’s why it is important that you talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. Ask your doctor about taking a spirometry test.
What are the symptoms?
Increased breathlessnessFrequent coughing (with and without sputum)WheezingTightness in the chestHow common is COPD?
COPD affects an estimated 24 million individuals in the U.S., and over half of them have symptoms of COPD and do not know it. Early screening can identify COPD before major loss of lung function occurs.
What are the risk factors and common causes of COPD?
Most cases of COPD are caused by inhaling pollutants; that includes smoking (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, etc.), and second-hand smoke.
Fumes, chemicals and dust found in many work environments are contributing factors for many individuals who develop COPD.
Genetics can also play a role in an individual’s development of COPD—even if the person has never smoked or has ever been exposed to strong lung irritants in the workplace.
- See more at: http://www.copdfoundation.org/What-is-COPD/Understanding-COPD/What-is-COPD.aspx#sthash.4x0hP9lG.dpuf