Q. How does COPD progress?
A. The first symptom of COPD is usually chronic morning cough with clear sputum. When you have a cold, coughing may be more pronounced and sputum will probably turn yellowish or greenish. You may also experience wheezing. As COPD progresses, you may develop shortness of breath during physical activity, which may eventually lead to severe episodes of breathlessness after even modest functioning.
Frequently, patients with COPD have some degree of reversible airway obstruction. Because of this, treatment can impact lung functioning. However, as COPD advances, most symptoms- with the exception of cough and sputum production- appear to gradually worsen. A slow worsening of the disease usually occurs over a period of 4 to 5 years.