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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

COPD Symptoms: What to Watch Out For

COPD warning signs: cough, breathlessness, tightness. See a doctor.

COPD, short for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a serious lung condition that can make your life quite difficult. It sneaks up over time, and often the signs get chalked up to age or just being unfit. But knowing what COPD symptoms to look for is key to early diagnosis and getting the help you need.

Let’s talk about what this disease does to your lungs and how your body might try to warn you. we will also highlight how you can start a medical negligence claim.

Feeling Like You’re Always Out of Breath

One of the biggest red flags for COPD is shortness of breath. In the beginning, you might not even notice; maybe you’re just a bit more winded than usual when you climb stairs. Over time, though, the breathlessness gets worse. You might huff and puff with simple activities like making the bed or carrying groceries. Eventually, even just walking might make you feel like you’ve run a marathon.

This shortness of breath is all about your airways—the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. COPD damages them, making them inflamed and narrower. It’s like trying to breathe through a pinched straw; it takes much more effort to get the same amount of air.

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That Cough That Never Goes Away

Coughing is your body’s way of getting rid of gunk in your lungs. So, if you have COPD, it figures that you’d cough a lot, right? Often, there’s that thick phlegm or mucus coming up with it. This is another way your lungs are dealing with the damage from COPD; they create more mucus to try and protect themselves.

At first, you might shrug off this cough as just a smoker’s cough (if you smoke) or think it’s nothing serious. But a cough that hangs around for weeks, especially with that mucus, could signal COPD.

Wheezing and Chest Tightness

Have you noticed a wheeze when you breathe, like a whistling sound? That’s those narrowed, inflamed airways in your lungs making it hard for the air to pass through smoothly. It’s like if you partially block a hose—you hear that whooshing as the water struggles to get through.

On top of the wheezing, you might feel a tightness or heaviness in your chest. The inflammation in your lungs can make it feel like it takes a lot of work to expand your chest for a normal breath.

When Colds Become Chest Infections

With COPD, you’re more prone to chest infections. Why? Well, all that damage and extra mucus in your lungs makes a happy breeding ground for bacteria. A normal cold or flu that most people could shake off can quickly become a nasty chest infection for someone with COPD.

Watch out for any changes in your cough – it might be bringing up more phlegm, or the phlegm could change color. You might feel even more breathless, run a fever, and generally feel way worse than you’d expect from just a cold.

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Unexpected Signs of COPD

The classic COPD symptoms we’ve talked about are important, but there are some sneakier ones to look out for too:

  • Tired all the time: Because your body is working so hard just to breathe, it can leave you constantly feeling fatigued, even if you’ve had a full night’s sleep.
  • Swollen ankles: Sometimes the effects of COPD can impact your heart, leading to a build-up of fluid in your ankles and legs.
  • Losing weight without trying: COPD can zap your appetite and alter your metabolism, so even without changing your diet, you might notice those scales going down.

When to Worry and See Your Doctor

Don’t brush off these COPD symptoms! If you experience any of the following, it’s time to chat with your doctor:

  • Breathlessness that impacts your everyday life
  • A persistent cough that won’t quit
  • Frequent chest infections
  • Any of those unexpected symptoms

Early diagnosis and treatment for COPD can make a significant difference in managing your symptoms and slowing down the disease.

Making a Medical Negligence Claim with National Claims

At National Claims, we understand that medical care should be a place of healing, not harm. Sadly, even with the best intentions, medical errors can happen that have life-altering repercussions. If you’ve suffered from medical negligence, whether it be a misdiagnosis, delayed treatment, surgical error, or any other form of substandard care, our team is here to help. We specialise in helping victims of medical negligence navigate the claims process and secure the compensation they deserve.

Free Consultation

Let’s start with a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. We’ll listen to your experience and assess the circumstances of your medical treatment. This allows us to give you initial advice on whether you have a strong claim, especially when it might be unclear who is responsible or if the specific situation warrants a claim.

*No Win, No Fee

National Claims believes that access to justice shouldn’t be limited by financial worry. For this reason, we operate on a “No Win, No Fee” basis. You won’t pay any upfront legal fees. Our fees are dependent on whether your claim is successful, allowing you to pursue your case without undue financial stress.

*Customers pay up to 25% (incl. VAT) of the amount recovered towards solicitor costs and if you cancel outside your cooling off period, you may be charged a fee.


COPD is a serious condition, but it’s not a hopeless one. If you’re worried about any of the symptoms we’ve talked about, don’t ignore them. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can start taking steps to manage your COPD and improve your quality of life.

Remember, knowledge is power. Now that you understand the signs of COPD, you’re equipped to take control of your health and advocate for yourself if you think something’s wrong.

Contact us today to speak to one of our claims agents who will be able to help you get started on your claim.

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