What makes you breathless?

2) Breathlessness

Lady holding chest


When you have been diagnosed with COPD, breathlessness is one of the main symptoms you will notice. You will experience breathlessness at different times of the day and sometimes it will vary in severity from day to day.

Breathlessness varies with each person. It is important to know what is your usual or  your “normal” amount of breathlessness. This helps you recognise an increased level of breathlessness enabling you to take early action. For example  if there are stairs in your house, do you normally have to rest on the landing before continuing? Is this getting worse? Are you getting more breathless than usual when walking up a slope?

Breathlessness can be caused by an exacerbation or flare up of your COPD or chest infection, increased exercise, something in your environment such as very cold weather or emotional stress.

In this section we will show you some of the ways respiratory specialists measure what they mean by breathlessness.

We will also show you some practical tips to control or manage your breathlessness and advice for times when your breathlessness is getting worse.