Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Symptoms & Signs
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
COPD is characterized by a longstanding (chronic) obstruction to air flow out of the lungs. It can take different forms and have different symptoms. Symptoms of COPD can also vary in severity. Symptoms include a chronic cough, shortness of breath, and frequent respiratory infections. Other possible symptoms can include finger clubbing, wheezing, exercise intolerance, chest tightness, cough productive of sputum, and coughing up blood. The advanced stages of COPD can lead to symptoms like swelling of the feet and ankles, bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes (cyanosis), morning headaches, and weight loss.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/28/2014
Kleinschmidt, Paul. "Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Emphysema in Emergency Medicine." Medscape.com. Sept. 17, 2012. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/807143-overview>.
Longo, Dan, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine.
18th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.
Main Article on COPD Symptoms and Signs
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COPD Symptoms and Signs
- Bluish Discoloration of the Skin and Mucous Membranes (Cyanosis)
- Chest Tightness
- Coughing Up Blood
- Exercise Intolerance
- Finger Clubbing
- Frequent Respiratory Infections
- Morning Headaches
- Shortness of Breath
- Sputum Production
- Swelling of the Feet and Ankles
- Weight Loss
Examples of Medications for COPD Symptoms and Signs
- albuterol (Accuneb, [Ventolin and Proventil have been discontinued])
- albuterol and ipratropium inhaler, Combivent, Combivent Respimat
- ipratropium bromide inhaler, Atrovent, Atrovent HFA
- ipratropium solution - inhalation, Atrovent
- magnesium sulfate (injection)
- methylprednisolone, Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol
- pirfenidone (Esbriet)
- salmeterol, Serevent
- terbutaline, Brethine, Bricanyl, and Brethaire are no longer available in the U.S.
- theophylline, Elixophyllin, Theo-24, (Theolair, Uniphyl Theo-Dur, and Slo-Phyllin-discontinued)
- tiotropium bromide and olodaterol (Stiolto Respimat)
- tiotropium capsule - inhalation
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