COPD Symptoms | American Lung Association

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COPD Symptoms

What Are COPD Symptoms?

Many people don't recognize the symptoms of COPD until later stages of the disease. Sometimes people think they are short of breath or less able to go about their normal activities because they are "just getting older." But shortness of breath is never normal.  If you experience any of these symptoms, or think you might be at risk for COPD, it is important to discuss this with your doctor.

  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath while doing everyday activities (dyspnea)
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis)
  • Fatigue
  • Producing a lot of mucus (also called phlegm or sputum)
  • Wheezing

Remember: Don't wait for symptoms to become severe because valuable treatment time could be lost. Early detection of COPD is key to successful treatment.


    Approved by Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 1, 2016.

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