A question about emphysema symptoms

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Hi,

A few months ago and out of the blue, I suddenly found myself having to take frequent deep breaths to satisfy my breathing - like you would do if you hyperventilated but only every minute or so.  My job is quite physically demanding (network technician) and I do a lot of walking, crawling, carrying, climbing, stairs - you get the idea, yet my air hunger(?) doesn't seem to get any worse when I am doing strenuous activities.  Same is true for when I get on my treadmill or recumbent exercise bike for an hour.  My breathing just stays poor and I am lightly gasping whenever I am not too involved to notice.  Here's the kicker - my doctor gave me 6 weeks worth of samples of Breo Ellipta (it's one of those rotate-the-lid-back dual medication inhalation powder devices for COPD) and the condition stopped after a day or so of taking it and then the symptoms returned a 6 weeks later after the medication had run out.  So I'm guessing I have COPD.  I stopped smoking (for 30 years and I am now 50) immediately when I was given this medication but I have no coughing or wheezing whatsoever and my chest is as clear as a whistle.  This is making me think this would likely be emphysema as opposed to CB as I have no wheezing or mucous issues.  But from most of what I am reading, emphysema apparently really affects you when you do physical exercise and I am not seeing any difference to my SOB when I am dripping with sweat from a workout.  Is this usual (my SOB makes me feel this has to be beyond the imild stage to COPD).   I have a referral for a lung Xray and I should have the money to do this within a week and I guess I can get a referral to a pulmonary specialist once I get this done - but I'm trying to do as much research as possible and of course I'm freaking out a bit (but over the shock stage as I'm pretty sure after being temporarily relieved by the medication, that this is COPD).  Thanks!

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  • Posted

    Hi Kim

    Sounds as tho you may be without insurance in the States? I'm in Texas. Do yourself a favor and get some insurance before you get a diagnosis as they're working every second to reinstate the pre-existing condition exclusionary clauses. If you get a COPD diagnosis before getting insurance, regardless of specific lung issue in that umbrella you will never be able to get insurance until you're eligible for Medicare, and he may dismantle that long before you get to that age.

    Beyond that, we're not docs and can't diagnose you. Heart issues also cause SOB but I guess whoever you saw felt certain it wasn't heart related?

    You might look up online videos for breathing exercises. Doing those regularly may give you more control. Would that doc renew your Rx without another office visit? It never hurts to ask the nurse.

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  • Posted

    Hi and thank you for replying to me! I do have health insurance but for some reason the Dr didn’t think it was covered or warrant applying to my health insurance vs what my copay would be. It’s honestly not that expensive but it’s just been an unusual month for me.  It’s a couple of weeks before I see my Dr again so I figured I’d do it next week when I am more flush. Thank you for the health insurance advice though. My insurance is self-paid (not through work) and not that great for the amount I pay here in Northern California.  I have been watching PR breathing exercises that I found online and they do help significantly.  
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  • Posted

    self diagnosis is not recommended, you do need diagnosis from a medical professional.  you may also want to ask for a spirometry test or referral for full lung function test.  If you can be very active as you describe, even if you do have lung damage its not likely to be severe.  

    Good luck with test results.

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  • Posted

    [color=#333333]Hi Kim - That was an eloquent account from you seven days ago. None of us is professionally qualified but some of the guidance offered frequently turns out to be useful. And each of us has varying symptoms.[/color]

    [color=#333333]​Age is the first factor to impact on the condition. In your case you are young, active, stay fit and probably do all the right things. Stay away from medication if you can. I certainly avoid it and usually pause for 20 seconds before moving on (3 miles minimum daily and a physically demanding retirement job. Whether I can get through to 80 is another matter.) If you live on the coast, it might be an idea to experiment with onshore sea breezes. (I have yet to put this to the test on a regular basis owing to distance from the coast.)[/color]

    [color=#333333]In sum, I am a great believer in self-help on all health conditions. We do, however, have to recognise there are various snags to each passing year. Those, too, vary with gender and numerous other physical features. Maintaining low body mass is critical.[/color]

    [color=#333333]​It would be good to read an occasional update from you.[/color][color=#333333] [/color]

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    • Posted

      In this case the lung med helped so I'm not sure why you'd say to avoid it? My lung meds are some of the most effective meds I've ever taken. Am glad you don't need them but many of the rest of us do.

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  • Posted

    self diagnosis is not advised

    breathing probs are not caused by COPD alone, you need a diagnosis from a medical professional.  Check back with your doctor if symptoms persist.

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  • Posted

    Yes, my response was a bit careless in one sense;  everyone's condition varies. My general theme, however, is that we should resist and tackle our decline generally. Agreed, it's not going to be easy. I am often reminded of examples of fortitude and persistence. One of them can be found in ?The Guardian ?today. Links are not permitted but it is titled "meet the man living with Alzheimer's who climbs the same mountain every day". Otherwise it can currently be found on the MSN site.

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