Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the chronic disease of lungs that causes inflammation in the airways of your lungs. The disease leads to reduced flow of air in and out of your lungs and it becomes difficult to get rid of carbon dioxide from the body. Chronic coughs, lot of mucus production, shortness of breath, fatigue, unexplained weight loss are some of the symptoms of COPD. COPD has not cure and the person suffering from the health condition will find the symptoms deteriorating over time if not treated timely. It is possible to manage symptoms of COPD if symptoms are diagnosed in time. (Also read: Chronic cough: 5 common reasons why you can't stop coughing)

Women have higher chances of developing the disease than men as they are more vulnerable to lung damage from cigarette smoke and other pollutants and their lungs too are smaller. Estrogen may also play a role in worsening lung disease. It is possible to manage the disease through medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation among other things.

It is important to recognise the early warning signs of COPD in order to effectively treat it.

Dr Jeenam Shah, Consultant Chest Physician & Interventional Pulmonologist at Bhatia Hospital Mumbai in an interview with HT Digital talks about early signs and symptoms of COPD that should not be ignored.


People suspected with COPD have unexplained chronic coughs. They keep on coughing throughout the day. Generally, cough which is lasting for more than 4 to 8 weeks is an early indicator for COPD.


Second indicator is a lot of mucus production, that is phlegm. If the sputum is yellow or green in colour, then it indicates that there is some infection in the lungs.


The third symptom is shortness of breath. After walking for long hours or climbing, if you start realising that you are feeling fatigue, and if throughout the day you feel very tired, these are again early signs that your lungs are getting weaker.


Fourth symptom is unexplained weight loss. Lots of time because of breathlessness people start losing weight and when this is not intentional, then these are early signs of COPD.

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