Healthy lungs are incredibly important and knowing the early signs of a poorly functioning respiratory system can help one breathe easier. There are many symptoms describing the problems associated with breathing that is an extremely discomforting medical condition.

Chronic cough

Many people experience a cough for short-term reasons such as a cold or flu but a cough that does not go away may be a sign of a chronic condition. Conditions that often lead to chronic coughing include postnasal drip, asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis and can be one of the early signs of lung cancer. While there is no reason to panic from a few days of coughing, a long-term cough is worth getting looked at.


Wheezing is caused by inflamed, narrowing airways, which can in turn be caused by a number of conditions. From chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to allergies to heart failure, wheezing can be caused by so many different conditions, it is important to speak to a doctor about it even if no other symptoms are present. Additionally, wheezing can be caused by certain medications, such as aspirin so it may be best to tell the physician if it is experienced.

Painful swallowing

If it hurts to swallow, it could be an early indicator of respiratory illness. On top of the typical suite of illnesses that typically cause sore throats such as strep throat and tonsillitis, chronic conditions like COPD can also involve symptoms such as painful swallowing. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult a medical professional about the possibility that persistent pain when swallowing might be linked to COPD or another chronic condition.

Chest pain

Chest pain can indicate a number of respiratory, cardiac, muscular and digestive conditions, so it is important not to armchair-diagnose yourself. That said, if one is experiencing other respiratory symptoms along with chest pain, such as shortness of breath and coughing, it might be a sign of pleurisy or another respiratory condition.

Shortness of breath

Though some causes of shortness of breath are temporary and mild, others are quite serious including asthma, anaphylaxis, COVID, and even carbon monoxide poisoning. Of course, reaching out to a doctor is the best way to learn more about why one is experiencing shortness of breath.

Coughing up blood

Coughing up blood is never a good sign as it is a sign of something more severe going on. Identifying the underlying cause of coughing up blood may include X-rays, blood tests, CT scans and other examinations. One’s doctor can help determine which tests are needed to identify the root cause of symptoms.

Waking up with headaches

If one experiences morning headaches in tandem with snoring and other major sleep apnea symptoms, it might be time to reach out to a doctor.


One of the many complications associated with COPD is swallowing problems to the point that one might have an increased risk of choking.

Loss of weight or appetite

Sudden weight loss or a decrease in appetite can be caused by a number of factors but it may be possible that it is linked to respiratory issues. Conditions like COPD are known for causing a decrease in appetite while pulmonary fibrosis can cause weight loss.

Excessive mucus production

The cause of excess mucus can be anything from short-term conditions, like infections or allergies, to chronic illnesses like asthma and bronchitis, so it is important to speak to a physician, especially if symptoms persist long after recovering from a cold or making it through allergy season.

Source link