World COPD Day: Symptoms and Causes of COPD You Need to be Careful about!


Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vikas Kumar Sharma

General Health

4 min read

Key Takeaways

  • There are two types of COPD namely chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • Wheezing and chronic cough are two important COPD signs and symptoms
  • Adhere to the gold guidelines for COPD if you have this pulmonary disease

COPD is a chronic lung disease that obstructs airflow from the lungs. COPD full form is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Certain abnormalities are caused in the airways of your lungs that affect the flow of air to and from the lungs. The respiratory tract becomes narrow due to several reasons such as the presence of mucus, destruction in certain parts of the lungs or due to the swelling of airway lining [1]. The two types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

In chronic bronchitis, the lining of your bronchial tubes gets inflamed. These tubes are involved in carrying air to and from the air sacs. Symptoms of this condition are excessive coughing and mucus production. In emphysema, air sacs present at the end of bronchioles get destroyed. This condition occurs due to excessive exposure to cigarette smoke and other harmful gases. If COPD is not treated on time, it can result in fatal complications like heart ailments and lung cancer. According to the 2019 WHO report, COPD caused approximately 3.23 million deaths globally [2]. Read on to understand more about COPD disease, symptoms and why World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day is observed.

What Are the COPD Causes?

One of the main causes of this pulmonary disease is tobacco smoking. It may also be caused due to inhalation of fumes from cooking fuel. Note that chronic smokers are at more risk of getting this obstructive lung disease. If you are a non-smoker, you may still suffer from COPD. Few other causes of this chronic obstructive pulmonary disease include:

  • Occupational exposure to chemicals
  • Childhood asthma
  • Family history
Additional read: The Need to Quit: How COVID-19 Tobacco Use Affects the Immune System?

What Are the Different COPD Symptoms?

Symptoms of COPD in medical terms do not appear unless your lung gets damaged severely. These conditions may worsen over a period of time. Some of the COPD signs and symptoms you should never overlook are:

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Wheezing
  • Inability to breathe properly during physical work
  • Respiratory infections
  • Chronic cough
  • Swollen legs and ankles

How Is the COPD Diagnosis Done?

During COPD, you may experience small episodes called exacerbations. If there is a sudden increase in sputum production or cough, it indicates an acute exacerbation of COPD. In such situations, doctors may recommend the following tests.

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Laboratory tests
  • Blood gas analysis
  • Lung function tests
Additional read: Chest CT Scan: What are CT Scans and How Effective is CT Scan for COVID?

How Can It Be Prevented and What Are COPD Treatment Options?

After diagnosis, doctors may prescribe certain COPD medications to reduce your symptoms. This disease progresses slowly and can be managed if treated on time. Since the major cause of COPD is smoking, you need to avoid it completely. If you are an active smoker, it is better to quit this fatal addiction following your doctor’s guidance. Managing COPD is possible by making such minor modifications to your lifestyle. You may also take vaccination for pneumonia to reduce the risk of COPD.

Why is World COPD Day Observed?

The World COPD Day 2021 theme is ‘Healthy Lungs – Never More Important’. This day is observed on 17 November. The main aim for this observation is to highlight the importance of COPD burden, despite the COVID pandemic. According to the GOLD guidelines for COPD, the first and foremost thing you need to do is keep your lungs healthy. Avoiding smoking and staying active are preventive measures to minimize the risk of COPD [3].

To maintain proper functioning of your lungs and prevent COPD, avoid smoking and do lung exercises. With them, the efficiency of your lungs can be improved. This can help in preventing COPD complications. Get your lungs tested if you notice any unusual symptoms. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Connect to top pulmonologists on Bajaj Finserv Health. Book an appointment and address your COPD symptoms. Be proactive and stay away from lung ailments.

Published on 26 Nov 2021Last updated on 13 Apr 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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