24 years old, just diagonsed with chronic bronchitis, I need advice.

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Hi, I'm 24 years old and have had asthma since childhood. I do not smoke, but have been around various irritants my whole life. I have had 5 cases of bronchitis that eventually turned into pneumonia within the past 2.5 years. Each time has lasted at least 4 weeks, typically up to 6 weeks with a productive cough that lasts even longer. The last time around with bronchitis/pneumonia, I was diagnosed with pleurisy as well (this is the second time I've had that). When I have these infections, my asthma gets worse and I have even more asthma attacks/consistent trouble breathing. Each time I've gone into the doctor's, my oxygen level has been in the low 90's, and by that point I’m usually pretty disoriented and tired from the lack of oxygen. The last time, my doctor wanted to do a CT scan and possibly take some fluid from my lungs, but I do not have insurance and had to refuse. However, the doctor did say that based on my history and symptoms, I have chronic bronchitis (which some consider to be part of COPD). Especially since I cannot afford to be hospitalized every time this happens or take weeks off of work, he suggested that along with avoiding smoke/any form of irritants, I should try to avoid people with respiratory infections at all costs. However, I work in a school with young children so that is not an option. I use an emergency inhaler as well as a daily-use one. Each time I have an infection, I get antibiotics (sometimes multiple rounds) and steroids, as well as oxygen and nebulizer treatments. I already wash my hands religiously, never touch my face, exercise regularly, take vitamins, and usually get at least 8 hours of sleep.

My questions are: could I really have chronic bronchitis/COPD at this age? Or could there be another explanation? And will I really need to consider leaving my job to try to stay healthier and avoid further damaging my lungs? What else can I do to manage these symptoms? I’ve already been sent home from work and to the doctor’s multiple times this year. It’s very embarrassing and disheartening and it’s really affecting my work and social life!

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  • Posted

    I have had chronic bronchitis since a very young child. It went on to asthma and COPD. I am now 74 and have had pneumonia twice in 6 years ending up in hospital. Last year I had to have my lungs aspirated. What is the atmosphere like where you live?  I have SOB and that has been hard to live with. You are doing everything right so I think you have to look at where you live and work. Can you wear a mask to work?  I am 74 and smoked for 37 years. At 24 I think you have some decisions to make. Are you seeing a pulmonologist?  I had a CT scan and it showed the shape my lungs were in and what I was dealing with. Isn't your health care paid for in England ?

    I live in Canada and moved from high elevation to sea level which has been a good move for me. 

    Please take care of yourself and look into your environment. Good luck. 

    Mary Ann

    New Westminster BC

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply! I did not realize chronic bronchitis could start in childhood, I'm sorry you had to deal with that. I haven't seen a pulmonologist, I'm currently in the United States. I live at a high elevation. The pollution isn't too bad here. I wonder if the high altitude could be part of the problem. I have a good job here, so I was hoping not to move. However, I'm not sure if working with kids is a possible dream right now. I don't think my employer would let me wear a mask everyday as it might scare the kids or concern the parents. Thank you for your suggestions!
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    Research conducted at the University of Maryland revealed that Vitamin C and Magnesium aid in the treatment of COPD. People with COPD often have low levels of magnesium due to poor nutrition. Magnesium promotes healthy lung function, thereby making it vital for COPD patients. Research has also revealed that supplements like Carnitine and CQ10 are beneficial for COPD patients, who experienced improved breathing and fewer COPD symptoms.

    Herbal Treatments for COPD

    Olive leaf is one herb that eases symptoms of COPD. Olive leaf reduces inflammation and aids in the treatment of COPD-related infection. Olive leaf is a natural antibiotic with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties

    Astragalus, enchinacea, ginseng, quercetin, thyme, milk thistle and lobelia are helpful herbs

    Eucalyptus is a natural expectorant that can help to loosen phlegm

    Licorice, lobelia, marshmallow, red clover and saw palmetto all can be used to treat bronchitis

    Garlic has antioxidant properties and may help to fight infections

    Cayenne is useful because it has the ability to increase circulation and improve breathing. A recipe for blood clearance is 1 cup of water, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons of honey. Drink this slowly throughout the day

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your ideas! I really appreciate the suggestions. I would much rather use herbal treatments than pharmaceuticals.
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