COPD ... or not ...

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Dear All,

Just over a week ago, I decided to go visit my local doctor because I was/am not able to continuously inhale as deep as I would like to. 

The doctor used his stethoscope but was unable to hear anything and recommended that I should go get an X-ray. I did that the same day and was able to call in for the results the day after. The receptionist told me that they did not find any fluid/moist behind my lungs (indicating heart failure), but they did see some symptoms of COPD which gave them reasonable doubt. 

As I was literally scared sh*tless at that time, I called the local doctor for a new appointment in which he explained a bit and that I should be better off visiting a lung specialist in the hospital. Luckily I was able to get an appointment quickly, but I did have a lot of stress during that weekend. Considering I'm 31, you do not want to be diagnosed with COPD.

The lung specialist then listened to my symptoms (basically just not being able to inhale completely all the time, no coughing/mucus/slime/out of breath symptoms) and striped through the diagnosis that the Radiologist wrote down. He took another look at the X-ray and informed me that the x-ray was very normal and that there was nothing extraordinary to see. He also told me that the diagnosis COPD was often given way too quick.

Obviously I was relieved to hear that everything was supposedly OK, although he did want me to do a lung-function test since I did check in with the complaint of not being able to inhale as much as I'd like.

The appointment for that is scheduled on the 11th this year and a telephone consult the day after.

Anyone care to comment on this?

My symptoms are:

- Not being able to inhale "completely" everytime I want to.

- I am not out of breath.

- I had a cold early this year and about 2-3 weeks after the cold was over I had a very bad cough, resulting in a lot of slime for about a week. This was months ago and I have not had any coughing since then.

- No blood/slime/mucus in my cough (if i have to even cough).

I'm 31, have occasionally smoked, more of a youth sin. I dont think that it I have ever smoked a pack a week, let alone be addicted. There have been years that I did not have a smoke at all. My condition is normal ... I did 23km on my MTB on the street yesterday in 50 minutes, without getting out of breath at all.

There is no COPD in my family as far as I know. One of my aunts has Astma, the other one has Bronchitis. My grandma had bronchitis as well, my dad has neither of those. 

I was assuming that a Radiologist knows what he's doing, but the same goes for a Lung specialist. The specialist I talked to was >50 and has published many publications regarding Astma, COPD and has written books about it. I'm assuming he knows the symptoms of COPD when he hears them. 

My "stress" and fear for what is to come has luckily decreased a lot, but this disagreement is not very satisfying either.

Thanks!

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27 Replies

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  • Posted

    Do the lung function test, I have done many and tho I suffer from mature onset asthma which comes under the umbrella of copd my lunf function tests have all been good. Most sufferers of copd as far as I know have trouble exhaling not inhaling and mistakes can be made in reading x=rays,  I applaud your doctor for referring you to a lung specialist and for him wanting you todo this test, Believe me it is nothing to worry about and may perhaps allay your fears.  Good luck and let us know what happens xx
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    • Posted

      COPD/emphysema certainly causes difficulty in exhaling because carbon dioxide becomes trapped in the damaged part of the lungs and then one can't inhale as much as necessary, but this can be improved considerably by different breathing methods.

      I don't think that applies to COPD not caused by emphysema.  

      Asfar as I know COPD isn't diagnosed by x-rays but by a spirometry test:  I think the x-rays are to rule out anything else

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  • Posted

    BaasB

    I would stop worrying because until you have had the Spirometry test, nobody knows but as my "specialist" keeps telling me I stand more chance of being run over and killed, as I cross the road than dying from COPD

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    • Posted

      I'll try to, but it is quite difficult not to worry. 

      Is there anyone here that could tell me what the inhaling should be like if you ahve COPD? Are you _always_ unable to inhale past a certain point? 

      Basically that is what I experience sometimes, but that could also be something like hyperventilation for example. 

      In my opinion (using some basic logic), I would assume that if you have COPD (the emphysema variant where your bronchi are broken), they do not work at all and you would only be able to use the working ones. I.e. you can never have that effect/feel of "inhaling very deep" ?

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    • Posted

      If you google emphysema I doubt very much if any internet entry will describe it as being "broken bronchi" !!    This condtion damages the alveoli, resulting in the trapping of carbon dioxide and therefore reducing the amount of oxygen which can be inhaled.     So it's basically a problem of not being able to inhale enough due to the previoius exhalation not being complete.  This can be improved considerably with the correct breathing techniques, but it's not curable.

      I can inhale deeply if I"m keeping up with the breathing exercises and taking my medication, but with empysema it's the exhalation that's far more important::  my 30% lung function loss has remained stable for the 3 years since I was diagnosed. 

      Because COPD is an umbrella term and the breathing issues with long term asthma or bronchitis and emphysema (the main conditions covered by the term COPD) will be different.   I can only speak of what I've learned about emphysema

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    • Posted

      Alright, thanks for that information !! 

      The worrying has dropped a little bit, but I can't stop it. 

      Did some more self-tests, and I'm really not running out of breath. I'm sweating like a madman when biking or running, but I dont have to stop because I'm running out of air ...

      Could it also be something like Asthma ? Because that runs in the family too.

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    • Posted

      I've never had asthma but I reckon you'd run out of breath if you had that.

      Hey, stop with the self tests and get yourself tested properly with spirometry:  They'll do one test without ventolin and one with, if your breathing is better with ventolin you'll know you have asthma.

      It really doesn't sound to me as if you have COPD:  maybe you're just pushing yourself too hard?

      Oh and by the way, it IS possible to learn to stop worrying!   It just takes practice:  having other self-talk ready for when worries come up and swtiching your brain away from the worrying thoughts.   If you come up with one single thing in the entire history of humanity that's been improved by anyone worrying, then go for it, but I"ll bet you can't!  Worryinhg has got to be one of the biggest wastes of time ever

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  • Posted

    This is a method/device used by COPD sufferers to try and show someone who doesn't have COPD what it is like. (very useful if you have an "unsympathetic" person around).

    Ask them to excercise VERY vigourously until they are short of breath and breathing VERY heavily.  Then hand them a drinking straw and make them breathe through that alone to regain their breath.   THAT IS WHAT IT IS LIKE TO HAVE COPD.

    Try it on yourself and see how it compares with your symptons.  To all you other COPDers out there, this is a very useful device to show people, who don't understand, what you are enduring!

    Take care all

    Michael

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    • Posted

      I've never heard of that before Michael - thanks!    I wish I could get my loved ones who are still smoking to do it so they know what's probably ahead of them!    Actually, the person closest to me is an 18 yo grandson who's just taken up smoking:  he might just do it on a challenge if I approach it gently.
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  • Posted

    Ask your doctor for a Spirometry test, This will give an indication of whether or not you have COPD. Good Luck wink
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  • Posted

    I did the Spirometry test the day before yesterday! The docter called me yesterday with the results and all was OKAY ! No signs of COPD or anything abnormal!

    Not even asthma, probably just responding more to very moist weather than others. 

    Thanks for the replies all smile

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