Carbon Dioxide Retention in COPD!

Posted , 2 users are following.

I was diagnosed with moderate COPD in Feb. 2016 but was never fully explained what all the numbers mean.  I also have Obstructive Sleep Apnea and use CPAP nightly as well as A-Fib, GERD and am somewhat overweight.  I smoked about 1/2 to 1 pk. of cigarettes a day for over 15 years but quit a few weeks after the COPD diagnosis - after it finally hit me and I was no longer in denial.  I just began a program of Pulmonary Rehab and the educator there looked at my PFT results and another surprise hit me that I was never informed of before - she told me that  I am a Co2 retainer and supposedly my numbers are not good. (the only number the educator mentioned was "22"wink My FEV1 back in June was 74 but I was not told about any of the other results from the pulmonary function testing.  Could my sleep apnea be partially resposible for this or is it a sign of rapidly declining lung function?  Everything I've read makes this sound very dangerous like being on the brink of death or even putting one into a coma or causing brain damage.  Please, if anyone can help clarify this for me I'd be grateful - none of my doctors ever explain my numbers to me; just put me on Spiriva Respimat and Ventolin and told to watch my diet and walk every day. So frustrated and scared!


0 likes, 5 replies

Report / Delete

5 Replies

  • Posted

    Jeanette72,  You might as well get over the fear and embrace everyday.  COPD is nothing to think lightly of, however, if you are exercising have ceased your smoking you have begun to take control of the situation.  You have to admit we have all thought this was something that would happen to others but never us, well....buckle caught up to us and we have to take responsibility for everything we do from here on out.  You are now on ajourney that is dangerous and could take our lives however, there are so many things that are out there to help us.  You need to sit down with your doctors (Internal and Pulmonologist and allergist if you have all those), if not I suggest you get them.  Take your phone and video every single word that they tell you.  This is for you benefit and make sure you get a copy of every single test they do, you keep a copy and make sure the rest of your doctors have a copy of them for their files.  You want everyone on the same page.  Make sure you keep that fold with you in your car in your brief case wherever you go.  I am surprised that you are not on a  nebulizer ????  I don't use mine every single day sometimes not even every 2 weeks, but that is dependent on the weather and just how much I do and get winded.  How old are you?  How long did you smoke?  I met a man in the hospital last week while my husband was having surgery, he was diagnosed 14 years ago, he is now 76 years old, and he wasn't wearing oxygen even though he had the portable tanks with him.  His wife was in worse shape than he and he is still working.  It was a real eye opener for me to meet someone who had gone way beyond what anyone had projected for him.  So you see, you have got to get over the fear, stay out of polluted places, pace yourself, and remember you have to take charge of yourself.  It's up to you to ask the questions...and make sure you record them..Best wishes..  Breathless


    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I feel like I'm taking the initiative on my condition, though if I'd been diagnosed years ago the smoking would hae ceased years ago.  My own bad habits got me into the shape I'm into today - no one else's fault.  I am now 62 and had my Chest Medicine doctor (who diagnosed me with sleep apnea about 9 yrs. ago) authorized Pulmonary Rehab for me.  I do my 6th visit tomorrow and am authorized for 44 rehab visits total.  I no longer smoke and most days I try to walk about a mile unless the weather is bad.  Need to invest in a treadmill before winter.  I love being outside and love spending time with my family but I try to avoid being outside on air quality alert days or days where it is too hot and humid; this means not getting to do as many things with my family as I'd like.  My doctor never mentioned a nebulizer - how does that help above what I'm getting with my Spiriva?  I've also been practicing the pursed lip breathing at home.  My biggest problem is a severe back injury I incurred a little over 2 years ago (fractures, compression and disc bulges) - I have daily pain due to the injury so I struggle with the machines sometimes they have me on at rehab but mostly with the warm up and cool down stretching.  My sinuses are also a mess and I'm mainly a mouth breather which also affects how well I do with my rehab - it's difficult getting the breathing part down just right when I exercise and I know how important a part the breathing plays.  I'm not now or ever going to give up - it's a struggle that I'm willing to go through to give myself a somewhat better quality of life. Thanks for reaching out!

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Actually the nebulizer is not just a one or two squirt inhaled into the lungs.  It has more steroids and you breath in the liquid for a longer period of time.  Each presciption whether albuterol or pulmocort, xopenex are all different, some may take 4 minutes to breath normally and take the treatment others may take up to 10 minutes.  And sometimes you may be told to take 2 different ones back to back....They reach deeper into the lungs and open them up, stop the spasming and actually stop the wheezing.  It's totally different than the hand held spiriva, symbicort.  ...and it lasts longer.  I only use them on days that I am wheezing or have been in the heat way too long and it begins to drag me down... I don't need to or want to end up in the hospital with pneumonia again.  That is one thing that can surely take you out of this world.  So...with that being can exercise in a pool which will lessen any pain from your injury, eat healthier meals, drink plenty of water, and make sure at flu season, pneumonia season (which is any season) you get your shots and stay on top of things.  Keep up with you records, and don't leave home without your medications.  I keep Tamiflu and an antibiotic filled at all times to carry with me in case I am out of town.  As my doctors have told me, if I don't feel well, don't think it's just a 24 hour virus, get to a hospital or my doctors..  Best wishes to you I remain...breathless 

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Jeanette, try putting CO2 retention copd into the search engine and look at the links that come up.

    If you are living in the UK make contact with BLF (British Lung Foundation) website and maybe phone their helpline. 

    Or contact the Lung Foundation or Association in the country that you reside.

    My recommendations would be:

    1) Ask your GP or consultant / pulmonologist for a referral to a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme, that way you will get to learn all about managing COPD and your symptoms, and this will take some of the fear away.  You will also gain an awareness of what COPD is, how CO2 retention affections you, sleep apnea etc.  you can read all about these on the web pages here at patient UK (use search box top right) or on the lung foundation / association pages in the country you reside using google search or similar.  NHS choices, .gov sites etc

    2)  Ask for copies of all your test results so you can check these yourself against previously scans and test results.

    3)  Have an annual flu shot (recommend for patients with COPD)

    4)  Get the pneumonia vaccination ( also recommended) 

    5) Avoid any irritants to lungs, smoke, aerosols etc 

    6) Avoid contact with people infected with a cold or the flu virus

    You can learn all the do's and don'ts by attending a PR course.

    If you do all the right things its possible to become stable and remain so for many years without deterioration and in some cases lung function can improve allowing you to do more, exercise more and breathe more easily.

    Lastly your doctors don't explain !  Ask them to explain.

    You need a good diet and to drink plenty of water but again you will learn much by attending a PR course and reading the information available on the lung foundation website of the country you reside in.

    Read only information that comes from a reliable source when searching online. 

    If you are overweight you may want to ask your doctor for a referral to a weight loss programme also, this along with exercise is bound to help you shed some lbs and in turn will help you breathe easier the more active you become the more you will notice the improvement.

    Best wishes and keep on keeping on.


    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      As I posted in an earlier reply I am now in a Pulmonary Rehab program.  I live in the US where maybe the doctors are different than the UK - they do all the testing, blood work, scans etc. but not through regular office visits where I normally take my complaints to.  Most of my complaints of SOB over the years have fallen on deaf ears and my doctors pretty much dismissed my complaints as results of me being overweight, not getting enough exercise, not eating right etc. but if I'd never insisted on a chest x-ray and spirometer test a few months back I still would have no idea that I have COPD.  I just kept going to the ER or Urgent Care Center or a cardiologist to try and find out why I was always so tired and short of breath.  Seems like they just want to collect their money and leave you to die.  I never get to see actual results of anything - the doctors look at them and usually prescribe meds or refer you to a specialist - my cardiologist recently told me I should see a Psychiatrist because he thought all of my complaints were in my head and were causing me a great deal of anxiety.  My health problems are real and I will be proactive in whatever treatment they recommend.  I only wish this was discovered years ago before more damage was done to my lungs.  Our healthcare system just doesn't seem to care too much about us as individuals and it's a sad thing!

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up