Could I have COPD?

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Hi, about a month ago I noticed that my breathing was a bit heavier than usual. A few people commented on this, especially when I spoke to people on the phone. I was often asked if I'd just run to pick up the phone.

Then a couple of weeks ago I got an attack of hay fever. The person I live with also began suffering from hay fever, so I didn't think much of it. My wheeze turned into a full blown chest infection, which got so bad I had to see a doctor. The doctor prescribed amoxicillin and salbutamol inhaler. However two days later my breathing was still very bad and I was coughing up a lot of sputum. I went back to the doctor and was given another antibiotic to take in conjunction with the amoxicillin, an antibiotic called doxycycline.

I have finished both antibiotics now and my chest infection is much better, but my breathing is still not back to normal and I'm still coughing up sputum.

Ive even been getting pain in my left shoulder and a general ache in my chest.

Im 45 and I've been smoking since I was 14. My breathing is much better than it was a week ago, but I'm concerned that it still isn't completely normal after completing 2 courses of antibiotics.

Ive provided a sputum sample. I know I need to stop smoking. In fact I'm so frightened I may not smoke another cigarette again.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi I really advise you to try and stop smoking i know how difficult you might think it is, i smoked for 30 yrs about 20-30 a day. 

    I am 53 now about 4yrs ago i was in hospital with pneumonia it all started with a chest infection.

    It frightened me so much that i got nicotine patches and after a few days i didn't even want to smoke! i was diagnosed with COPD before i was in hospital, i am so glad i gave up but sadly i still struggle with my breathing.

    I wish you luck and hope you get better soon.

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    • Posted

      I appreciate your response, and your honesty. I know I need to stop smoking. I don't enjoy smoking anymore, it's just a vile addiction I have to feed.

      Thank you for your comment. I am going to stop smoking.

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  • Posted

    Hello Jack It has taken me two years and several x rays before an appointment was made with the asthma  nurse. I come from a no smoking family so have never smoked but many of my work mates did so I probably was subject to passive smoke. When I was training many years ago I went to a training hospital in London and I saw the effects on smoking on the lungs in jars and it surprised me the effects even on a light smoker most of the lungs were varying shades of black. We all know someone in their eighties who have smoked all their lives and say they have had no ill effects but most have had chest infections and coughs. I know how difficult it is to give up after so many years but it is not to late so it is worth a try. A very close friend who retired from the army looked very fit but was a heavy smoker intil in his late forties had a heart attack and is lucky to be still with us.It was hard for him but he never touched another cigarette again, he looks so much better and dosent smell like an ashtray anymore, and now he can smell the food he is eating has become quite a cook. What you said about hayfever strikes home when I was 70 I thought I had hayfever and put it down to the fields of rape seed of which we have a lot of here in Essex UK. Listen to Granny Wacky Jacky and stay frightened buy yourself some sugar free mints and keep your hands busy I am sure smoking is boredom lots of men knit and sew these days. I went for yet another x ray this morning and used Spiriva inhaler for the first time this morning and for the first time in ages didnt get out of breath walking down my garden to fed the birds and my fish.  regards Jacky       
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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your encouraging reply. I have cut down from 20 a day to 5 a day, and I've just bought some nicotine lozenges. You are right, so much of my smoking is simply out of boredom. I also think I have what psychologists would call an oral fixation, I sucked my thumb at night until I was ten!

      knitting sounds like a good idea, definitely something to occupy the mind and fingers, and it's productive too.

      Thanks again

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    • Posted

      Hello Jack I used to bite my fingernails until I was in my teens. I dont know why we have so many TV stations as there are so many repeats and there is nothing on to make us laugh and relax now. Most of the good comics seems to have passed on and with political correctness the programme makers are terrified. I used to love The man from uncle, The professionals, The avengers etc, there was not the violence that we see on the screen now. The American programmes seem to be obsessed with cutting up bodies. I am now reading books again and doing jigsaws but these stupid lights bulbs now strain the old eyes perhaps when we leave the EU we can have our proper lamps back which only cost a third of these so called energy saving ones. Instead of one lamp I now have three or four in each room. This new spirivar inhaler does appear to be working. As a Work place first aider I used to put patches on work mates when BT banned smoking in all their exchanges in the 1970s I dont know wether they are still available but they seemed to work. But probably they have been banned by the EU. I have been buying Jakemans Throat and chest menthol sweets these seem to help clear my chest but then I dont need the nicotine but might be worth a try.

      It gets very frightening when you cant breathe and panic sets in. The trouble is those closest to you seem to think you have just got to get over it and Doctors dont seem to have the time to listen and are trying to keep cost down. I dread to think what will happen if we cant control our own boarders the NHS will collapse most of my age group went to work at 15 and paid stamp duty until retirement so many immigrants have never paid a penny get better care than we do.  Rant over   wishing you all the very best Jacky          

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    • Posted

      I really enjoyed reading your comment. I agree with everything you said. You make such a lot of sense, and I completely agree with you about television. Thank you so much for your advice. I'm going to buy some of those Jakemans menthol sweets, I've seen them in my pharmacy. It was really nice to get such a sensible and kind reply.

      Thank you Jacky

      Jack.

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    • Posted

      Hello Jack these sweets are very moreish so be carefull not to have to many. They now say sugar is bad for you. Many of my young family are having reduced sugar coke and food items they are all over weight some are diabetic. The health brigade are trying to ban real sugar cane and sugar beet I cant why understand it as it is a natural product the fake ones are full of chemicals and are over sweet. I think the powers that be should check these addatives first before banning cane sugar or sugar beet. The same goes for mucked about butter, give me real butter and cheese  every time. My generation were reared on bread and dripping, bread pudding, bread and butter pudding, stew and suet dumplings, breast of lamb and belly pork and none of us were obese.  The best was a great big slice of crispy bread thick butter and home made raspberry jam. Those were the days I only put on weight after radioactive Iodine treatment zapped my thryroid. Back to COPD my breathing as definately improved with this new inhaler managed to get up the stairs last night without fighting for breath it seems strange breathing up powder though. All the very best Jacky       
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  • Posted

    Hi the only way to diagnose COPD is via a spirometry test.  Have you had one or has your doctor organised one for you?  If not then they need to.  You should also have a chest x-ray as well.   x

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks hypercat. I've had a spirometry test many years ago as part of the physical for a job I took. That would have been 20 years ago and everything was absolutely fine back then.

      I haven't been back to the doctor since I got the second antibiotic. The doc did ask for a sputum sample. He told me to see him immediately if my breathing got worse or hadn't got back to normal in 2 weeks. He said he would send me for a chest X Ray. I didn't mention COPD to the doctor and he didn't mention it to me. But it's something I'm worried about. Every time I get a chest infection it becomes an issue because I am taking a strong pain medication called Physeptone for pain associated with an old injury and exacerbated by a rheumatic disease. Physeptone also acts as a powerful cough suppressant. So I don't cough, I have to deliberately hack and heave to clear my lungs.

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    • Posted

      A lot can happen in 20 years so ask for a new one.  I didn't have copd 20 years ago either...  x
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  • Posted

    If you think you may have COPD and you are still smoking, check back with your doctor to discuss your concerns and communicate your symptoms as described here, no doubt your doctor will refer you for preliminary tests.

    Of course the smoking will likely increase your chances of lung damage which can lead to COPD if you haven't already got it, not to mention heart damage.  So a good move to kick the habit sooner rather than later..

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