COPD Home > What Is Mild COPD?
Many people may wonder, "What is mild COPD?" In order to determine which of the COPD stages a person is in, a healthcare provider will use a breathing test called spirometry. This test is easy and painless and shows how well your lungs work. You breathe hard into a large hose connected to a machine called a spirometer. When you breathe out, the spirometer measures how much air your lungs can hold and how fast you can blow air out of your lungs after taking a deep breath.
Spirometry is the most sensitive and commonly used test of lung functions. It can detect COPD long before you have significant symptoms. Based on the spirometry test, your doctor can determine if you have COPD and how severe it is. There are four stages of COPD -- at risk COPD, mild COPD, moderate COPD, and severe COPD.
In the mild stage, the breathing test shows mild airflow limitation. Symptoms may include a chronic cough and sputum production. At this stage of COPD, you may not be aware that airflow in your lungs is reduced.
(Click COPD Stages for a closer look at what mild COPD is and the possible symptoms of this stage. This article also discusses the other three stages of COPD, including at risk COPD, moderate COPD, and severe COPD.)