COPD symptoms – the four early warning signs of COPD


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) develops slowly over several years. As it’s so gradual many don’t realise they have it at first. Many Brits don’t develop any recognisable symptoms until they reach their late 40s and 50s. So are there any ways to spot the condition early?

COPD most commonly appears among smokers and often occurs in people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.

The symptoms of COPD will get gradually worse and could make daily activities increasingly difficult.


COPD sufferers often experience periods where symptoms get suddenly worse.

This is known as a flare-up or exacerbation, it’s common to have a few flare-ups a year, these typically happen during the winter.

READ MORE: Smoker’s teeth: 5 ways smoking impacts your teeth


It is important to diagnose this condition as soon as possible as treatment can help slow its progression.

Early signs of COPD

Unfortunately, symptoms of COPD rarely appear until significant lung damage has happened.

Perhaps the clearest symptom of COPD is increased breathlessness, though at first this may only happen when exercising.


In the early stages of the condition, you might sometimes wake up at night feeling breathless.


Persistent wheezing is another symptom of COPD, as soon as you start to develop this you may want to consider seeing a doctor.


When should you seek medical advice?
Smokers are most at risk from, COPD, the NHS recommends you see your GP if you have persistent symptoms as listed above, especially if you’re over 35 and smoke or used to smoke.

These symptoms could also indicate other conditions such as asthma, bronchiectasis, anaemia and heart failure so it’s worth getting them checked out.

Testing for COPD is easy a simple breathing test can help determine if you have the condition.


Currently, there’s no cure for COPD but, the sooner treatment starts the less chance there is of severe lung damage.

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