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Signs and Symptoms

People with COPD usually have one or more of these symptoms:

  • a cough that lasts a long time (longer than 3 months)
  • a cough with mucus
  • feeling short of breath
  • lung infections (the flu, acute bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.) that may last longer than other people you know
  • wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe)
  • feeling tired.
  • losing weight without trying

Feeling short of breath is not a normal sign of aging. Talk to your health care professional if you are short of breath when doing everyday tasks like walking up the stairs.  

Canadian Lung Health Test

If you are over 40 and smoke or used to smoke, you may be at risk for COPD. If you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, please consider speaking to your doctor or nurse practitioner about spirometry testing.

  1. Do you cough regularly?
  2. Do you cough up phlegm regularly?
  3. Do even simple chores make you short of breath?
  4. Do you wheeze when you exert yourself, or at night?
  5. Do you get frequent colds that persist longer than those of other people you know?

This test is for information purposes only. It should not replace a complete medical examination by a doctor. If you think you may have COPD or are worried about your lung health, please see your doctor.

For more information on COPD, see our COPD Handbook