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Hi, this is my first post.
I was diagnosed with stage 2 (moderate) COPD on Oct 1st (FEV1/FVC after bronchodilation = 54.18)
Six months ago I was reasonably active and virtually free of this disease, and only had the occasional tight chest and breathing problems when I overdid it a bit.
I am 71, and as I have had hypertension for 35 years and a replacement aortic valve, (5 years ago) all the docs and heart specialists thought my chest problems were angina related. So I had an angiogram which showed my arteries were clear and then had a breathing (spirometer) test which showed I have COPD. I haven't smoked for 35 years, but before that, I was a heavy smoker and I was told the damage was done all those years ago.
Just before I had the test I was experiencing more frequent breathing problems and would get very tired and out of breath after only a ten-minute slow walk. I was put on a Formoterol easy haler and a Ventolin evohaler which did help my breathing, but within weeks my condition has just become progressively worse – especially at night when I have been so congested that I get very little sleep.
I went back to the doctor and he gave me a short course of steroid tablets which worked wonders for a short while. This was about 3 weeks ago and now I am back to square one. In spite of the inhalers (which I also take during the night to help me get a few precious hours sleep) my condition seems to be getting worse by the week.
If I do a bit of light housework, (load the dishwasher, wipe the kitchen table, sweep the floor, etc) or just walk upstairs I am exhausted and breathing very heavily, and it takes at least an hour to recover. Same thing if I take a 5-minute slow walk.
I suspect I am now on stage 3 as I wasn't far away from that when I was tested in early October.
The doctor will not give me any more steroids or a steroid based inhaler because he says it will cause a lot of long-term damage, especially as I am an insulin dependent diabetic.
I have an appointment to see the "breathing nurse specialist" next week and I was wondering if anyone could suggest some questions I should ask or some meds (non-steroid based) that I could suggest to her.
Right now sleeping is my major problem and I rarely get more than about 4 hours intermittent sleep. Until this problem, I was a good regular sleeper. I have tried lying on my side with my head on raised pillows, which helps a bit but if I do drop off, I wake up within an hour or so with severe breathing problems and feeling quite ill.
Has anyone else experienced such a fast onset of the disease, and does anyone have some suggestions to help my sleeping problems? It is really making me very depressed as my quality of life has suddenly gone through the floor.
Thanks for any ideas.
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