Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a prevalent condition causing a high level of disability, and it is one of the leading causes of death. To assess the general health status of moderate to severe Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients, we studied 76 male patients attending an outpatient hospital clinic who were not dependent on oxygen and who did not present bronchial obstruction reversibility. We assessed clinical status (dyspnea, six-minute walking distance) and functional respiratory impairment (spirometry, and blood gas analysis) of the patients and also asked them to respond to the Spanish version of the Nottingham Health Profile, a multi-dimensional generic health status measure. Patients scored especially higher than the general population (denoting more level of distress) in energy, physical mobility and sleep Nottingham Health Profile dimensions. The former two dimensions scores had a high correlation with dyspnea (respectively Spearman Rs = 0.60, and Rs = 0.64; P less than 0.01). High levels of sleep disturbances were found for patients reporting low or very low dyspnea level. Health status measurement (Nottingham Health Profile dimension scores) and functional respiratory impairment were not correlated. Results underscore the importance of measuring symptoms carefully when assessing these patients, whose health status is substantially affected by the Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They also suggest that it is relevant to assess sleep disturbances in these patients.