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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Phlegm and COPD

01/21/2009

Question:

My mom was diagnosed with COPD last April. Dr said she had the "beginning" of COPD. She quit smoking immediately. Whenever I read about COPD, I always see issues about the phlegm: Did it change in color or consistency? My mom has never had a cough or phlegm when smoking or not smoking. Is it possible she was misdiagnosed? Thank you

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness. On this site, NetWellness experts try to answer general questions about health. Only a health professional performing a thorough clinical history, examination, and testing can thoroughly evaluate your question.

In general, however, COPD is diagnosed by performing a breathing test called spirometry along with a history of symptoms and smoking. Not all people with COPD have a cough or phlegm production as one of their symptoms. Some people only have shortness of breath and do not notice a cough. Others may not notice their symptoms at all because they have limited their activities.

The most important treatment for people who smoke is to quit smoking. If you have questions about the diagnosis, seeing a pulmonary specialist for an evaluation may be helpful.

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Response by:

Michael E Ezzie, MD Michael E Ezzie, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University