If you have difficulty breathing, cough, mucus production and wheezing, you may have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a group of lung diseases that block airflow making it difficult to breathe. Most commonly, emphysema and chronic bronchitis contribute to COPD.

If you have the following symptoms, you should see a medical provider as soon as possible:

  • Unexplained shortness of breath for several months, especially if it is getting worse
  • Shortness of breath that interferes with daily activities
  • Shortness of breath that prevents climbing stairs
  • Lips or fingernails that turn blue or gray with physical activity
  • Reduced or changed mental alertness

Treatments for COPD

While there is no cure for COPD, managing your disease can slow the progression, relieve symptoms and keep you out of the hospital. Treatments may include pulmonary rehabilitation, medicines such as inhalers and nebulizers, and oxygen therapy. The purpose of these treatments is to prevent further lung damage, reduce the risk of complications and help ease some of the symptoms.

By taking your medications as prescribed by your medical provider, having regular check-ins with your provider and practicing self-care, you can live a longer, healthier life and stay out of the hospital. Get tips and tools in free monthly emails that will support your healthier lifestyle.