Patient Comments: COPD - Symptoms


What symptoms do you experience with COPD? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: SriR, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 06

I am a 25 years old girl, and 2 years ago I experienced a severe wheezing problem that my doctor diagnosed as chronic bronchitis with dust allergy and some food allergy. But my COPD worsens only during winter time. During summer I am perfectly fine without any difficulty but winters are very difficult time. I don't know what I can do to be healthy in winters.

Comment from: Jeannie66, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

I was diagnosed with COPD stage 2, four years ago now. I moved to Spain 3 years ago in the hope my health would improve. I am now 66. I also had a triple heart bypass 10 years ago, which doesn't help! I often get headaches and migraines and can't walk upstairs without getting out of breath. Even small exertions sometimes make my breathing bad. I have also got a cough and have started getting really bad aches in my back and chest. I don't know if this is as a result of the COPD or not.

Comment from: Last1Called, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 29

I'm almost 62 and was diagnosed with COPD in 2006. I also have fibromyalgia. I've got to where I can't catch my breath when my pain gets bad. I feel like I've been hit across my mid back with a baseball bat. I make every attempt to stay active.

Comment from: Dottie's mom, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 28

Two years ago I went to see a cardiologist because I had trouble breathing. I had lots of tests and nothing was wrong with my heart. A year ago I had a colonoscopy and when I awoke I had a sore throat and coughing and hoarse voice for a week. Then last summer I started wheezing. I had not put two and two together. Then a year later I had shortness of breath and told my doctor I think I had COPD, something was wrong with me, I was not able to sleep. I saw a pulmonary specialist and the woman giving me test said I had mild COPD and the doctor said I had asthma, not COPD. I also had a test to monitor my blood oxygen level and it went down to 81 for 45 minutes. I have been on oxygen at night. Today I had shortness of breath. This is because I smoked for 16 years. I started smoking for two years from 57 to 60 but after three years of not smoking, it came to bite me back. What a life adjustment and it will only become worse. I think I will take my life if it gets worse.

Comment from: SarahJ, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 08

I had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for 15 years. My first symptoms were dry cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath. My first chest x-ray only showed bronchitis. Finally I went to a pulmonologist and was diagnosed with COPD.

Comment from: Carygirl, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 06

I'm a 39 year old female that was told I have 35 percent of my lungs functioning because of COPD.

Comment from: Sljaxx, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 03

I have COPD and am experiencing excessive sweating. I am not sure if this is related to my COPD.

Comment from: Kathy Varney, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 20

Last year December I was told I had mild emphysema, and COPD. I was shocked, I had only had minor breathing problems at times. However I had smoked for 17 years when I was very young and had quit over 38 years ago, when I developed asthma. I always heard your lungs were cleared 5 years after you quit smoking, but they don't tell you the damage is already done! Mild is not mild, I am on oxygen all the time.

Comment from: painful 1, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 29

I have what feels like swelling over my ribs. It hurts very badly. Sometimes there is more pressure on right or left side, and shortness of breath because of COPD. Sometimes I find myself panting just to walk about 10 feet. I have morning headaches. I have migraines and I have them a lot more often. Sometimes I have just pain all over. I also have fibromyalgia, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Helicobacter pylori, and chronic pain syndrome, which leaves me not sure what is happening to me most of the time.

Comment from: don, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 30

My symptoms of COPD are chest pain, dry cough, dizziness and panic.

Comment from: Trisha, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 24

I am 50 years old and I was told I had COPD 10 years ago. I immediately quit smoking, but as the years pass by my situation gets worse, and I started having attacks once a year, then every six months, and now every 3 to 4 months I`m in the hospital. I used to be able to exercise, but it is so hard because I`m out of breath. I see people say exercise, but understand this, you can`t exercise if you`re out of breath. I live off steroids and now I am a type 2 diabetic from the steroids, but they`re the only medicine that`s keeping me going. No one knows how you really feel unless they have been through your situation, not even some doctors. When the steroids no longer helps, is when I go to the emergency room, that`s when I need a higher dose through IV. If I could only turn back the hands of time.


COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the same as adult-onset asthma. See Answer
Comment from: deangarr, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: November 20

For the past few years I have had difficulty working out in yard and carried a lawn chair with me. Then a couple of months ago it got harder and harder to breathe. After many tests it was a CT scan that showed COPD, emphysema and scarring in my lungs. I quit smoking 12 years and 6 months ago. But the damage has been done. I got to the point I couldn't catch my breath and was coughing so hard I thought the top of my head would blow off. The day after I had the scan I was on oxygen the next night and am on it 24/7. I can take it off to shower and take a few minutes break now and then. Even though I am now tethered to the machine or tank I carry when I'm out, I am very thankful for my doctors, Medicare and Blue Cross. All I can say is if you haven't quit the cigarettes yet, please do it now. When I quit on May 3, 2002 it was without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done. I have an understanding family and even though it is entirely my fault they want me to live as long as I can. When you get where you cannot breathe it may be too late. Good luck to each and every one of who that's trying to quit.

Comment from: Alex Smith, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 23

My father has COPD, diagnosed 2 years ago. His speech is bad, he is not able to talk and experiences shortness of breath.

Comment from: Chris, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 05

I cough so intensely with COPD that I pass out and land face down on the ground usually with an injury.

Comment from: debra, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

I had bronchitis several times a year for the last 2 years. This last time I was given an oral steroid. Almost immediately I noticed a difference in my ability to breathe better and think more clearly. I am convinced that I have not been getting enough oxygen to my brain for years due to COPD. I would love to hear from others who have had the same reaction.

Comment from: oakie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I was told I had emphysema in 1987 when I was 45 years old. I smoked for 30 years, but quit smoking as soon as I was told that I had COPD. Quitting smoking was the hardest thing I ever did. But I knew I would die if I didn't. My health was getting so bad that I needed oxygen 24/7 and was down to 92lbs. Thankfully, in 1999 I got lung volume reduction surgery. It saved my life. I no longer needed oxygen and was able to climb stairs, dance, and travel the world. That good fortune lasted for almost 13 years. I am now back on oxygen 24/7 and can't climb stairs, dance or travel the world. But I do go to the gym 4 days a week and workout with weights and treadmill. I was told when I got my surgery that exercise would keep me out of the hospital and they were right. Don't know how long I have but I will go down fighting every inch of the way.

Comment from: Busybee33, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

For the past 20 years I had been taking allergy shots and they had helped to keep my lungs clear, but after moving across country and being tested by two separate allergists who said I didn't have allergies, but chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) my allergy shots stopped. One and a half years ago I started sweating profusely, worse than during menopause. Water literally dripped off my face. Gradually it started to disappear. The less the sweating became, the more I became breathless until I was gasping for air walking across a room. My lungs started to fill up with mucus which eventually turned into pneumonia.

Comment from: Susan1125, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 07

I am 56 now. I was diagnosed with COPD in March of 2007. I had been a heavy smoker, got a cold I couldn't get rid of, ended up in the hospital, on a ventilator. I should have known it was coming, but like most smokers, thought it would never happen to me. I don't smoke now and never will again, but, I still want to. My life has changed drastically. I had to stop working, sold my home (couldn't afford it without a salary), and cashed in my retirement to be able to move closer to family and support. I have very little energy most days; I try to use what I do have wisely. I rest/sleep a lot. I carry tremendous guilt because I "did this to myself" and I try hard not to be a burden to my family. I was someone who rarely took even an aspirin, now medications are a huge part of my life. I finally have Medicare, but it doesn't cover prescriptions, and they are so expensive. There may soon come a time when I have to pick the most important ones and let the rest go. I use oxygen at night. I try to count my blessings, fully appreciate what I do have, and remain positive, but I'm not always successful with that.

Comment from: Carol, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 07

I grew up with asthma; I suffered sinus and respiratory infections my entire life. I started smoking at 15. When I was in my early 40s, my asthma was becoming increasingly worse. I was diagnosed with COPD at age 47. I am now 55. I quit smoking four years ago. The disease does not improve. My "good days" are far and few these days. My dad and his dad died from this. My older sister was just diagnosed three years ago. My son was diagnosed with beginning stages at age 25. (He doesn't smoke.) My sister's daughter was just diagnosed at 33 (smoker). It's a hard disease that seems to start out like bad asthma and progresses into chronic lung infections.


COPD Lung Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment See Slideshow
Comment from: dkwilliams2, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I have COPD. It's been 2 years now. I quit smoking which I smoked for 41 years. The gentleman who stated he was not able to stop, please try CHANTIX. I never would have thought I would quit, but this pill is great. The hardest part was the habit not the addiction. So start planning the replacement. Such as, I needed to smoke when I first got up and had several cigarettes with 2-3 cups of coffee. I changed my patterns to make it easier. Both my parents smoked and my mother died from a heart attack with the notation by the coroners that was triggered by her smoking. She died more than 20 years ago before COPD. My dad just passed away with the same but COPD named. He suffered so badly because he would not give up smoking. This is an eye opener and I quit that October. Almost a year ago. I still have difficulties and wondered if this would qualify for SSI? Any one know ?

Comment from: Jillybean, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I am 39yo and started suffering from bronchitis only 2 years ago each winter. I had been a smoker from 17yo at about 25 per day. This year I had a major respiratory attack at the beginning of suffering a 3 month bout of Chronic Bronchitis and spent 6 days in hospital. I was diagnosed with COPD and was shocked. Luckily I had stopped smoking a week before ending up in hospital, only because I couldn't smoke (it hurt too much and made it even harder to breathe) It has now been 3 months since I had a cigarette and I never want one again. I am currently going thru a bout of pneumonia as an after effect of the bronchitis, and am still struggling to breath at times.

Comment from: Sheryl, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

Well it was a bit of a shock for me even though I smoked, my symptoms weren't particularly severe and still aren't but I had been sick with bronchitis for three months, but it was the pain in my left side that made me ask to get a chest x ray, I was then told it was COPD, huh? I have nearly quit, only been 4 days and down from 20 a day to 4. I think it was caught early and I expect to feel better soon, it's just getting through this bronchitis stage that's hard and confusing and I will expect to get sick each year now. I did notice I was breathless on steep inclines, but then I was 16 years ago so smoking did that, but my only symptoms at the time of my diagnosis was that I couldn't bring up any mucus and I had a pain in my left side, that was all.

Comment from: larry, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 18

My lung functions are 48 percent because of COPD.

Comment from: Gean, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 09

I was not really having a problem breathing at first. My throat was burning; I thought I had strep throat. I had pain in my neck, and there was swelling around my collar bone. The first doctor I went to said he did not know why there was swelling. He gave me antibiotics and told me that if the swelling was not better to come back in two weeks. I went back in two weeks and he said he did not know what was wrong. Since I do not have insurance, I went to a hospital emergency room, and they said I have COPD.

Comment from: Jules, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 07

I quit smoking one year ago, January 3, and for the first three months after quitting, I really got into walking every day. I was trying to get healthy until one morning, as I ventured out for my walk, I could barely make it to the end of the street. I couldn't get my breath! I went to see my family doctor and he referred me to the specialist who in turn ran an entire regime of tests. I was diagnosed with COPD September of last year. Some days are not too bad and others are unbearable because of my difficulty catching a breath. I cannot stand certain smells and noticed that last fall, as I was out for a walk and had to steer away from burning leaves, it literally took my breath away. I find that also with colognes and perfumes, which had never bothered me until COPD entered my life. Bottom line, don't smoke! I did for 41 years and regret it with all my heart! By the way, I was never a heavy smoker, so that has nothing to do with whether or not you will fall victim to this horribly debilitating disease!

Comment from: Polly, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 07

I'm 57 and have just been diagnosed with COPD. This is a warning, as the next stage seems to be lung cancer. There is something you can do to help yourself with this diagnosis and that is to stop smoking. Ask yourself why would you want to still use something that has done your vital organ such harm? The cigarette is your enemy. My first warning was waking up with a headache. Then I caught this wretched flu bug, which developed into a persistent cough 24 hours a day. I had to consult a doctor and it took two weeks of antibiotics to ease the symptoms. I haven't smoked for nearly four weeks. I'm taking one day at a time.

Comment from: Chailady, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 07

I've never smoked a day in my life. Unfortunately, I'm that rare patient – a non-smoker, under 40 – and I had coughing fits this spring and again this fall. Through a battery of tests, I've been diagnosed with severe COPD. So even those of us who've never smoked are at risk for this. Thankfully, my doctor encourages my optimism, and I'm determined to let my medicine keep me alive.


COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Life Expectancy See a medical illustration of bronchitis plus our entire medical gallery of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Comment from: Bruce, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 07

I spent eight days in ICU and was diagnosed with severe COPD six months ago. I used to smoke for 40 years. I haven't for six months. I'm on oxygen now. I still work and hike short distances in the area metro parks but lack energy and have continual body pain. That is always there to remind me of my illness. As much as I try; being tired and not feeling any change after a night's sleep is just part of the big picture. I worked all my life in a welding shop and also used a lot of industrial chemicals, which also contributed to my condition. I don't feel sorry for myself but for my wife of 37 years, as she sees my condition worsen and knows my days are numbered.

Comment from: Jamca, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 17

I was just diagnosed with Chronic Bronchitis and Bronchiectasis. I have been reading that they are a form of COPD. I only smoked for 5 years and that was 30 years ago. I am 52 years old now. I started off with chronic sinusitis. I have had pleurisy 8 times in the last year. I developed severe asthma also. I have shortness of breath and a chronic cough. It just goes to show anyone can develop it. I don't think my brief smoking caused it. The lung doctor things it was repeated lung infections that caused the damage. Everytime I see someone smoking I cringe. This breathing problem is no fun. I urge everyone to stop smoking if you are diagnosed with COPD.

Comment from: catlady, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 23

I found out that I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease three years ago. I quit smoking for a few days and started back up because it seems everyone around me smokes, my boyfriend, daughters, son-in-law and it makes it so hard to truly quit and yes I know I'm slowly killing myself. I've been a smoker for 38 years was down to three or four cigarettes a day then started smoking like crazy again. I really do want to quit just don't have the willpower! So if you don't smoke now don't ever start, it's no fun getting this sick and trying to fight the urge not to smoke. I hurt so bad everyday, my back and my lungs. I wake myself up at night with my wheezing. I cough all the time I cant breath when I'm laying down. I use 2 different inhalers three to four times a day and also do breathing treatments at home. I go to the doctor for prednisone and antibiotics when the pain gets so bad I can't stand it anymore.

Published: July 22

When I breathe out, the longer I keep that breath going I start to cough and cough. I don't smoke. But as I get older this is getting worse. When I laugh it gets worse. I am getting more and more cases of bronchitis like I did as a kid. I had chronic bronchitis from birth to age 6. Now I am 49 and it's coming back. I hear constant wheezing in my chest.

Published: June 26

I have just been diagnosed with COPD and mild pulmonary hypertension. Breast cancer was diagnosed and treated with chemo and radiation as well as a lumpectomy and I am now 7 years free of that. Lung cancer came and after treatment, I am now free of that. In March I began coughing a lot and got Zovirax for 3 days. My breathlessness got worse and worse and after a visit to urgent care and primary physicians, I got a nebulizer, oxygen, Avelox, inhalers and referral to the top pulmonologist in town. A pulmonary function test and echocardiogram reveal I have no heart problems but do have mild pulmonary hypertension. I did smoke for 70 pack years but have not done so in 24 years and my uncle died of emphysema so my assumption is that I have the AT gene deficiency or the BMPR2 gene mutation but will ask the new doctor when I get to see him. At present, I am hoping to be rid of the choking sensation and the breathlessness so I can return to exercising and more pleasurable activity. Thanks for the opportunity to share my concerns.

Published: June 20

First I started being really tired and coughing uncontrollably. No cough drops, no medicine over the counter helped. I would drink bottles of cough syrup. I coughed so much I lost my voice. It progressed to where I throw up the mucus at anytime of day or night. Which takes my breath away and it is hard to breathe. I cough this stuff up all day long at night I wake up coughing it up. I wake myself up early in the morning trying to get this thick mucus up that I strain my throat and can't talk good for awhile. I have had two surgeries because the inhalers make sores on my voicebox and they have to do surgery and send them off to make sure they are not cancer. When it's hot I cough, when it's cold I cough. The least smells that are everyday bothers me. Such as candles, wood at a lumber company, cleaning supplies, paint, and perfume. Things that you know never bother you before now I notice them and have to get away from them or they take my breath away. People also look at you as if I am contagious. They try to stay away. Or some give you cough drops to help but bless their hearts it doesn't. When I was working and would get a coughing spree I would interrupt everyone else because sometimes they last up to an hour. And I have to spit this mucus in a hanky to get rid of it. If you swallow it down it makes you cough more. It's terrible and I know it gets worse I just hope I can endure this and they can find something to help ease it.

Comment from: john harvey, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 14

Now 69 years of age and a heavy smoker all of my life, I suffered a collapsed lung over two years ago - plus a simultaneous mild heart attack. The event occurred while visiting my daughter in California and I had half of my right lung removed. I have made great progress since, on meds for my heart plus morning and evening ventilators for my COPD. Needless to mention I haven't smoked since the procedure and I enjoy walking the dog for my daily exercise.

Comment from: ninaq, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I was diagnosed with COPD just today. All I can say is that if you smoke, quit. If you don't, don't start. I quit 6 days ago. Smoking has caused multiple problems for me. This COPD is just the latest. I have shortness of breath and tiredness. My doctor had a PFT done and the COPD was discovered.

Comment from: exgospelsinger, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I am 57 years old. Had TB in the early 90's and was treated for six months. Upon diagnosis, chest X ray revealed lung scarring on upper lobes of both lungs, and lower lobe of right lung. I have been experiencing severe shortness of breath and fluid retention for the past 6-8 months. I have no health insurance or money. I am unemployed because I can't get enough energy to do anything. I had worked most of my life, and would much rather be working, but because of the SOB, lack of energy, I can't.

Comment from: sssudio, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I have allergies (my father smoked), and live in Las Vegas where there is constant fine particulate in the air. All 4 of our kids developed asthma here, and when I started having a different kind of cough, I though it had I it too. I let it go about a year, to see if there were any other symptoms, then I went to the doctor. She noticed I wasn't moving very much air, and has referred me to a pulmonologist. I have little energy, and take a nap most afternoons. I get dizzy when I get up too fast, even from just bending over. After I cough a while, a little bit of gunk comes up, then I'm OK for awhile. The cough is obnoxious- loud and sort of honking. It's definitely different from a regular cough. I am 60 years old, and take good care of myself, so I guess my father (who died of lung cancer 3 years ago) has killed me too.

Comment from: cincin, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I had been hospitalized for 3 years in a row all in the same month march, for shortness of breath. They thought it was asthma. The last time which was this year, they hospitalized me for a week. Which they ran lots of test and determined I have COPD. The symptoms I had were shortness of breath, tired, and coughing.

Comment from: kkevster, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 17

It started with bronchitis that lasted several weeks before I was treated. A few years later I had bronchitis again. I then started having a recurrent cough, with sputum. I did smoke, but not more than a pack or two a week. Several years passed and I started to notice an occasional wheeze. Several years later I had pneumonia. Thereafter I had a constant cough, tired easily. There after, I had a physical and was advised to get a pulmonary function test. I learned of my moderately severe COPD on the day of my sons wedding.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Allergy and Asthma Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.