The Knowledge Center

COPD symptoms

What does COPD feel like?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can include chronic bronchitis and emphysema, 2 conditions that cause different symptoms. Because COPD is usually a progressive disease, more of your airways can become narrowed or blocked over time. Quitting smoking is the only thing that can slow the progression of COPD.

Some symptoms of COPD may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chronic cough and mucus
  • A feeling of tightness in the chest

In the later stages of COPD, you may experience:

  • Decreased ability to perform your daily activities (walking, climbing stairs, household chores)
  • Shortness of breath during everyday activities, like carrying the laundry or even showering
  • Chronic cough (with mucus) most of the time
  • Complications, like respiratory infection, from common illnesses like the flu or a cold
  • Fatigue that may keep you from activities you enjoy

Want to know more about:

Getting diagnosed? >

What to do after COPD diagnosis? >

How to manage COPD? >