COPD aged 35 and have never smoked

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Have just been diagnosed with COPD after having numerous ongoing coughing fits for years. Never smoked however my loving mother smoked 40-60 a day without stopping for a breather so I can only imagine this is where I have accumulated the build up in my lungs.

Worried not so much for myself but the fact I have 4 kids under the age of 7 and there is a real lack of content with regards copd for non smokers.

I now start on the early road with inhalers and my primary appointments with respiratory consultants with a degree of uncertainty as I await chest X-rays and am only going on my pathetic lung blowing results (apologies forget the actual name of the test). The positive is that my ongoing headaches of 8-9 years may actually be down to copd so treating it may give me relief from this 24/7 headache which has been put down previously to chronic daily headaches to the point where I think I am going mad.

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Shay

    Sorry to hear about your diagnosis.

    I would still urge you to get as much information as you possibly can from as many sources as you can, and even get a full and thorough second opinion so that you are confident about the diagnosis.

    To be honest, if you have not even had a Chest X-Ray yet, or a contrast-CT Scan, then I really don't see the diagnosis of COPD being set in stone. Yes, Lung Function tests (particularly the rate of FEV - forced exhalation in first second volume) can indicate the *possibility* of COPD but you would need a number of those tests over time - plus you would need pre and post BronchoDilator inhalation Lung Function Tests to rule out the presence of Asthma.

    By the way, a Chest XR should have been the IMMEDIATE thing you had after your first visit to the GP - you should have been sent off with a GP XRay Request Form to your local Hospital's Walk In XRay Clinic and, given your age, symptoms and growing up alongside a heavy smoking parent then [b:fc5601e564]any abnormality in the CXR[/b:fc5601e564] should trigger an Urgent Referral to the Chest Clinic so that you are seen within 2 weeks of that referral date, which should be within 24hrs of the XRay. The hospital should have also preferably scheduled a contrast-CT Scan to take place before the appointment. These are the NICE (Government 'National Institute for Clinical Excellence') guidelines for abnormal Chest XRays for people meeting your age and symptoms.

    You probably already know that COPD, which is merely a name for damage to the lungs caused by different things, is for someone of your age VERY rare. Even then, it is in well over 95% of cases down to a history of heavy smoking, *or* a history of severe bronchitis, or severe Asthma.

    The remaining number of cases can usually be tracked down to environmental and/or work-related issues which normally involves having inhaled pollutants at some time in the past.

    I hear what you are saying about your Mother's (very) heavy smoking and, if that was around you all the time you grew up at home, then for sure it was a risk-factor but on its own, at your age, makes it very rare if it truly is the cause of your COPD.


  • Posted

    I had the chest X ray about a week ago and when I saw the doctor yesterday she still hadn't got the results. Me and the missus have been used to worst case scenarios and as she is a student nurse had already done some research based on my lung functionality tests so had an idea it was COPD related. However we were so focused on that when the doctor made an appointment for a consultant its four weeks away which will mean the standard tests will then be another 2-4 weeks from that as well.

    The other annoyance is I have been seeing doctors for the last 7-8 years based on my headaches which had been put down to just chronic daily headaches but my wife managed to speak to a respiratory consultant whilst on placement today and my blood/gas levels could if it is COPD be the cause of my headaches.

    Indeed it is rare with regards a 35 year old non smoker to have COPD but trying to find something on google with regards this is a nightmare so I feel in limbo at the moment until I see a consultant.

  • Posted

    Hi your message stuck out to me as I've just been dignosed with copd with two young children too. I'm deverstated and just don't no what to do.
  • Posted

    Hi your message stuck out to me as I've just been dignosed with copd with two young children too. I'm deverstated and just don't no what to do.
  • Posted

    Hi Nicola, the post you've replied to is dated 2009, not sure if you realised that. It would be interesting to here again from the two Guests to see how they are getting on in 2013.

    May I suggest that you ask your GP for a referral to a specialising respiratory consultant and ask about being tested for alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency, a hereditary form of respiratory disease, which can affect people at a younger age and those who have never smoked. Its important to find out and can be determined by a simple blood test.

    Once you are under a respiratory consultant you will have a clearer understanding of your condition and the way forward for you.

    Come back and let us know how things go. Its a good thing to get an early diagnoses as good management of the illness can determine a better quality of life in later years.

    All good wishes



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