copd aged 21

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I'm a 21 year old smoker, I started smoking when I was 13, when I was 18 I had bad cough that lasted ages (I cough a lot now) and I coughed up bright blood about 4 times but I ignored it cos I thought I was ill. I have always been a nervous person so when I started struggling for breath I thought I was having panic attacks, now I think it's emphysema. I get out of breath just walking upstairs, I can't take deep breath with out yawning and even then I don't always get deep breath, I wake up some nights with terrible ear pain where my head feels so heavy, I wheeze. Everyting I have read has said I'm to young to get copd, I was born at 25 weeks and weighed under 2 lbs so don't think my lungs were ever very good. I'm so terrified all the time that I get the shakes, my breathing is so bad already that just walking the mile to work has me out of breath. It terrifies me to go gp and have the tests done and have it confirmed, it's so final. I will never get a boyfriend or have a baby. My life feels over before its begun. I have quit smoking now. I feel so alone.

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  • Posted

    Hi Missy

    so sorry to hear of your problems but if you have not already done so get to your GP ASAP. My chest problems started at the same age and they gave me back a normal life

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  • Posted

    I am so sorry you are worried but you do need to see your GP.  I had a cough for 6 months, non-stop, I was even on my hands and knees because it was making my stomach wrench and I thought I was going to be sick.  I coughed up blood but it was because I had torn something in my throat by wrenching all the time. I went to my GP who first of all put me on antibiotics and then gave me a note to take to the hospital for an Xray. I was diagnosed with Asthma, they gave me some steroids to settle things down and I was prescribed inhalers, and three days after using them I was fine.  The worrying is worse than the diagnosis because once you are  diagnosed with a certain illness, the treatment can then start.  Stop messing about and  first thing Monday morning ring your doctors, tell them you  are coughing up blood and they will put you in, no waiting.  If they won't, tell them you want a home visit, then they will put you in, do not take no for an answer.  I worked for the NHS with doctors for nearly 20 years and I know how the system works.  Good luck, the treatment is there if you see the doctor.
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  • Posted

    You have to know that you can't just sit back and be scared. Just like folks told me, you can live a long time with COPD...But you gotta take the medicine and start it asap. So come on missy24322 you gotta get to the Dr. And get tested properly. Nobody is gonna love you like you love you so go do it. Let us know when u do...tell us what you found out let us help you thru some questions u may have. But be sure and don't be afraid to ask the Dr whatever might be bugging you. Let us know.....ladyjack51
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  • Posted

    It's no good for your physical or emotional health to live with the possibility of emphsema hanging over your head:  PLEASE go to your gp and get a diagnosis.

    If that is what you have, and it does sound like it. there are medications which can make your life much more comfortable:  I promise that, because I know from personal experience that my life is easier now than BEFORE I was diagnosed.

    The stress of not knowing will almost certainly be making your symptoms worse:  PLEASE get yourself checked out ASAP,   

    It's really sad that someone your age is so restricted, but remember it may not be emphysema, which in any case takes decades to kill you and can be managed, it could be something else much less serious.

    Why on earth would this stop you having a boyfriend?   Quadriplegics in wheelchairs have relationships!   I don't know about babies, maybe, maybe not, but you won't know until you have a diagnosis.

    PLEASE let us know how you get on, I for one will be thinking of you

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  • Posted

    missy24322 - Stop beating yourself up. And you are not alone.

    See your local GP asap. You might discover that your condition is not as serious as first feared; it could, e.g. be pleurisy or a chest infection that is fairly easily treatable. Good to hear you have quit the smoking habit and better still to hear you walk a mile to work.

    Chin up. 

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  • Posted

    Sounds serious but not COPD at 21. Premature babies often get given oxygen at very high concentrations which causes changes in the lungs. Look up bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) on this web site for details. I would have thought a paediatrician would have followed your progress for many years after your birth as you were so early. 

    I know one young man with this problem but don't know much about his treatment except that he uses oxygen since childhood. But usually those kids are breathless from the time they are babies.

    Sounds like you need to see a GP and then a lung specialist soon and get a diagnosis. Glad to hear that smoking has stopped, madness to continue. 

    Having said that you may have something much simpler like asthma..... Go and get checked, being afraid won't get you any help.

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  • Posted

    Hey missy 22 year old here that also feels I have copd I have had a cough for a while and had odd occasions of blood init .

    I had a breathing problem where my breath would get like cut off every couple of minutes and I get out of breathe everywhere I go I weight 8.6 stone so I'm really skinny not overweight and I walk everywhere so this fear came to me I'd gasp waking at night and I still sometimes do u have daily breathing problems and I'm exhausted from it but it all boils down to anxiety I haven't had a test for copd but my doctors haven't even mentioned it this fear is still in but it could well be with you that we both have anxiety causing these problems and the blood / cough us a nervous cough from amxiety I hope you do go and get checked out and let me know how you get on your not alone xx

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    • Posted

      So you've been to doctors about this?   You say they haven't mentioned COPD - what have they mentioned?  Thre are lots of other non fatal things which fit your symptoms and it's unlikely you have COPD at your age unless you have a severe congenital lung problem
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    • Posted

      I've been to doctors about the breathing problems as I have many and also for the coughing blood thing ect .

      There reply each time anxiety

      I don't know

      For the sleep breathing thing "freaky sleep disorder"

      Went to hospital because my records say anxoety they said they will say anxiety too

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    • Posted

      Can you change doctors or get a second opinion?  Certainly anxiety can cause breathing problems or make existing physical condtions worse, but coughing blood?  I wouldn't have thought so.

      And what sort of medical diagnosis uses the word "freaky"?  That's just ridiculous

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    • Posted

      I don't know maybe strain from.coughing ?

      The doctors im at as many are change doctors you see ever time you go unfortunately.

      I told the doxtor at a&e that the doctor said freaky sleep disorder and he laughed I don't get taken seriously because I have "anxiety" I diagnosed anxiety myself there able to accept that but when I tell them about other problems it seems they want me straight out the room

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    • Posted

      That's no way for a doctor to treat anyone - how disrespectful and lazy, also ignorant, as if anxiety isn't a medical condition.  Are you in fact having treatment for that?

      Can you take someone else with you next time?   It's amazing how much more considerate some professionals are if there's a witness!

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    • Posted

      I had my partner with me at doctors and the other 4 doctors I saw about it I was alone though when this doctor said that so yeah kinda understand why he was been like that because they was nobody therr with me .

      Iv tried cbt which did not help and I tried meds but they made me worse and doctors said it's maybe best not to be on any as they cause too much stress with side effects for me I had hives and burning chest arm and neck like boiling water was on my veins was not nice

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    • Posted

      It so angers me when a psychiatric diagnosis is used as an excuse for doctors to stop searching for other problems!

      💛 Dawn, USA

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    • Posted

      Yeah me too, but Missy has said she suffers from anxiety and doesn't seem to be doing much about it.

      Whether or not her breathing problems are caused by anxiety, that wouldn't be helping at all.

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