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COPD Symptoms and What You Can Do About Them

17 Nov 2016
| Under COPD, Disease Education, Lung Disease | Posted by | 7 Comments
COPD Symptoms and What You Can Do About Them

COPD symptoms can be difficult to live with. We’re here to help.

For those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the symptoms of the disease can often seem unbearable. From chronic cough, breathlessness and fatigue, the COPD symptoms can make one’s day-to-day routine difficult while simultaneously eroding the hope of returning to a better quality of life. In this sense, COPD symptoms are not only a source of discomfort, but their strength and frequency can serve as a measurement of one’s overall health. Although alternative treatment options are available in the treatment of chronic lung disease, understanding and handling the symptoms, as well as ultimately addressing disease progression is critical in the treatment process moving forward.

With your health in the mind, the Lung Institute is here to give you the information you need on COPD Symptoms and What You Can Do About Them.

COPD Symptoms- An Overview

COPD is a progressive form of lung disease that typically arises from prolonged cigarette smoke or hazardous respiratory conditions; the disease ranges from mild to severe. COPD is characterized by a restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult and is encompassed by two conditions: emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis. While emphysema is just the description of the degeneration of the alveolar walls of the lungs, for chronic bronchitis, the predominant symptoms of the disease are a daily cough and mucus production for at least three months a year for two consecutive years. The unfortunate reality of COPD is that, for many who have the disease, symptoms don’t begin to appear until significant damage within the lungs has already occurred. Because of this—especially when the patient is unaware and continues to smoke—this can further the damage already inflicted.

What Are the COPD Symptoms?

Although the severity of the symptoms can vary dramatically among those with COPD depending on the stage of disease, environmental conditions, lifestyle habits, diet and genetic history, COPD symptoms one can expect include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
  • Wheezing
  • Chronic cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Excess mucus build-up
  • Blueness of the lips of fingernail beds
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
  • Swelling in ankles, feet or legs
  • Fatigue

Here’s What You Can Do About It

As we’ve mentioned before, quitting smoking is the most important step you can take in aiding your respiratory health, and in truth, it’s critical that it’s also the first. Though exercise and a healthy diet can help in bringing energy back into the body, ultimately promoting easier breathing and decreased fatigue, the effects of these lifestyle changes will pale in comparison to the negative effects of continued smoking. So, if you’re looking to reduce your COPD symptoms as much as you can, the first and most necessary step is to quit smoking.

Another key consideration in addressing COPD symptoms is the prevention of common respiratory illnesses such as catching a cold or the flu. These conditions can dramatically exacerbate the typical symptoms of COPD and create a dangerous combination of intensified symptoms within an already weakened immune system. To combat this, it’s incredibly important to get vaccinated with a flu shot every six months to a year. This will give your body a proper defense against cold and flu conditions and will keep your immune system reasonably healthy to stave off infection and disease.

COPD Symptoms and What You Can Do About Them

Traditional Treatment Options for COPD Symptoms

Despite the fact that many of the traditional treatment options for COPD can only affect the disease’s symptoms and not its progression—unlike cellular therapy—there are a variety of medications, surgeries and supplemental options that can work to relieve COPD symptoms.

These COPD treatments include:

  • Bronchodilators
  • Inhaled Steroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Pulmonary Rehab Program
  • Surgery- Lung volume reduction surgery, lung transplant

Moving Forward…

COPD symptoms bring many challenges, so it’s important to know the road ahead in the treatment of COPD. Although COPD can seem insurmountable, the first step to living a longer life is finding a treatment that addresses the disease head-on. Changing one’s diet and consistently exercising are among the best lifestyle changes one can do aside from quitting smoking. However, if you’re looking to address COPD progression directly, it may be time to consider cellular therapy. Rather than only addressing the symptoms of lung disease, cellular therapy directly affects disease progression and can improve quality of life and pulmonary function. For people with lung disease, a change in quality of life could mean the difference between struggling to walk to the mailbox and riding a bike.

If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like ILD, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of adult cellular therapy options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for cellular therapy, and find out what cellular therapy could mean for you.

Interested in our article on COPD Symptoms and What You Can Do About Them? Share your thoughts and comments below.


  1. Pingback: Bronchodilator 101: Uses and Side Effects | Lung Institute

  2. Cameron Kennerly

    2 years ago

    Hello Dodi,

    First and foremost we’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to your aunt for the difficulties she’s faced in regards to her health. Sadly, her story is all too common. Although unfortunately, we do not offer cell trials for lung disease, please feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to discuss potential treatment options that could be beneficial to your aunt and her continuing health.

    Thanks for your question Dodi and we look forward to hearing from you,

    -The Lung Institute

  3. D Beauchamp

    2 years ago

    My Aunt suffers from COPD. It is heartbreaking to watch her wither away. She just wants to feel human again. She will be 80 soon. Is on oxygen 24-7, & is winded by the simplest of tasks. She has lost so much weight, and is so frail. But her mind and will are strong. It seems she struggles with getting rid of her excess mucous. We had looked at those vests that CF patients use. The cost was astronomical. Another issue is we reside in Canada. Are there any cell trials for lung disease gong on in Canada? At this point we are looking for a miracle.

  4. Cameron Kennerly

    2 years ago

    Hello Samuel,

    First and foremost we’d like to thank you for your question and extend our deepest sympathies to your mother’s condition. For more information on treatment and what cell therapy can mean for your mother’s ongoing health, please give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak with one of our patient coordinators.

    Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you Samuel,

    -The Lung Institute

  5. Samuel Jonah

    2 years ago

    My mum is 75yrs and has been diagnosed COPD.
    I’ll like to link up with the Lung Institute.
    We reside in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.

  6. PB

    2 years ago

    Dear Kenneth,

    Thanks for your comment and questions. Unfortunately, at this time, insurance companies don’t cover treatment. However, we’re hopeful that treatment will be covered by insurance companies in the near future. Keep in mind that it will take some time before the insurance companies see a financial benefit in their favor and then decide to cover it.

    Treatment cost varies depending on treatment type, and you can receive our treatments at any of our clinic locations. Currently, we have Lung Institute clinics in Nashville, TN; Scottsdale, AZ; Tampa, FL; Dallas, TX; and Pittsburgh, PA. Our treatments are minimally invasive and outpatient, and treatment happens over the course of three days.

    We’re happy to answer any additional questions you have regarding cellular treatment for COPD and other chronic lung diseases, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  7. kenneth

    2 years ago

    is any of this covered by insurance ? and or what is the approximate cost of treatment..?? does it make a difference at which location the treatment is provided?? is it a one visit treatment or multiple stage process.???

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.