Symptoms of COPD

People can experience COPD in different ways depending on which symptoms trouble them most and how severe they are. COPD is a progressive illness meaning it has several stages of severity. It tends to creep up on people slowly. This means it can often be several years before symptoms reach a level that will make the sufferer go to the GP. Symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath are often attributed to getting older.


  • Frequent coughing sometimes with mucus (phlegm)
  • Mild breathlessness from physical work or brisk walking

Moderate COPD

  • Coughing becomes more frequent and more mucus is produced
  • Breathlessness occurs more often from activities such as physical work or brisk walking
  • A cold or chest infection can last for several weeks

Severe COPD

  • Increased coughing and production of mucus
  • Difficulty breathing
  • You can no longer go to work or carry out household chores
  • Difficulty climbing a stairs or crossing a room
  • Tire very easily

The earlier COPD is diagnosed and treated the greater the chance of preventing it developing into severe COPD!