If you were or have been a longtime smoker–or live with one–then chances are your doctor has given you a good lecture about the dangers of COPD, otherwise known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, the illness is caused by prolonged exposure to irritating gases, and if it’s not diagnosed soon enough or treated properly, it could put the patient at risk for developing heart disease, lung cancer, and a host of other potentially deadly conditions.
Because the risks associated with the disease are so high, it’s important that treatment starts as soon as the first signs appear. Here are 5 of the most common ways COPD starts showing in the body…
Feelings of tightness in the chest area
According to experts, it’s not unusual for some COPD sufferers to receive a diagnosis after visiting the emergency room, thinking that they may be having a heart attack. This sensation occurs when an increased amount of mucus has consolidated in the lungs, or when the airways have been irritated to the point that blockages form.
The appearance of blue nail beds
The blue hue can also appear on the lips, hands, feet, and ankles too. It’s called cyanosis and it’s a sign that a patient is not getting enough oxygen in their blood supply. When this happens, normally healthy red blood cells turn to a grayish-blue color, which can sometimes show on the skin.