The prognosis of advanced COPD is worsening breathlessness as time passes, explains WebMD. This can start out as being short of breath during exercise, but it eventually progresses to an inability to perform even the simplest of tasks without needing to stop to take a breath.
Early signs of COPD include more frequent coughing with excessive phlegm or mucus production, a sensation of tightness in the chest, and increased shortness of breath, notes WebMD. These symptoms may not be caused by aging, and a lung specialist can provide a preventive test to rule out COPD, called spirometry. This test is conducted by measuring the volume of air inhaled, the volume of air exhaled and the speed of exhalation, and it is also used to diagnose other lung disorders, according to Mayo Clinic.
While there is no cure, COPD sufferers can manage their disease by quitting smoking and maintaining up-to-date immunizations, according to WebMD. Doctors can also administer regular tests to identify lung functioning and any other conditions which can occur simultaneously with COPD. Pulmonary rehabilitation, maintaining activity levels, and home oxygen use can ameliorate the symptoms of COPD, provide for a better quality of life and improve survival rates, as WebMD explains.