The First Signs of COPD
July 25, 2017
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Commonly referred to as COPD, it is characterized by frequent coughing, shortness of breath, tightness in chest, and an excess production of mucus in the lungs.
While smoking is the most common contributing factor to the disease, many cases of COPD are a result of environmental exposure, a genetic history of COPD, or even a childhood history of respiratory infections.
Does any of this sound like you? Here are some of the biggest red flags that we see in patients struggling with COPD:
Blue Lips or Fingernail Beds
This phenomenon is a symptom of not having enough oxygen in your blood—also called cyanosis. Your blood is normally red, and areas like your lips and fingertips with thin, sensitive skin become pink with the color of that blood.
When your airway is obstructed and you become oxygen-deprived, that blood becomes blue and so do your lips and fingertips!
Swelling in Lower Body
When you have COPD, your lungs weaken and your heart has to work harder to make up for it. Over time, this pulmonary hypertension can result in gradual heart failure and poor circulation in the lower part of your body.
This symptom should be extra alarming, as it points to both heart and lung conditions.
Unexplained Weight Loss
If your coughing, shortness of breath, and fatigue is also accompanied by weight loss, it’s even likelier that you’ve got COPD. Your body is burning 10x more calories than usual, because it’s having to work so much harder to breathe.
The rapid weight loss you’re experiencing could also be a result of your loss of appetite, which is another symptom of COPD. If this sounds familiar, you should work to keep gaining weight! Talk to your doctor and learn from resources like this, on how to keep your weight up despite COPD.
If you’re experiencing any of these serious symptoms, don’t wait any longer to seek treatment. Even if you’re only experiencing the more common symptoms of COPD, you could prevent further damage by seeking treatment, staying active, and maintaining a healthy diet!
Schedule your consultation today, so that we can get you in for a personal consultation as soon as possible!