Chronic bronchitis can cause the lungs of a person with COPD to produce more mucus than usual. In fact, a long-term cough that produces mucus is one of the symptoms that helps a healthcare provider diagnose a person with the disease.
If a person’s lungs produce more mucus that usual, it can cause a cough that is worse. The coughing plays an important role in removing the extra mucus. It is the body’s way of clearing out the person’s airways to help make breathing easier.
Changes in mucus can also be a sign that a person with COPD might be having an acute exacerbation. An acute exacerbation is also called a COPD attack or “flare-up.” This happens when a person’s COPD symptoms suddenly get worse.