I Admit It, I'm Scared

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I have very mild adult-onset asthma and I'm used to using my rescue inhaler just 3 or 4 times a year for tightness (or when I get a chest cold) - I've only ever had two real asthma "attacks." Most of the time my doctors can't even hear a wheeze. Over the past year or so though I've felt more out-of-breath (upon small exertion) and have heard an odd whistling noise, usually at night, that is coming from my nose or lungs. Very bothersome and the inhaler does seem to help that. As far as the shortness of breath I've gained a lot of weight and am out of shape. I quit smoking in 1987 and I'm not around second-hand smoke or toxins.

Just recently I had to undergo a CAT scan to compare a small nodule on one lung to the same one found a year ago by accident, when I was being tested for an abdominal problem. The nodule has not changed and is probably due to old inflammation. However, I was shocked to see that they discovered both bronchiectasis and adenectasis. I looked up the symptoms of the first, and found that whistling noises when breathing and breathlessness are two of the symptoms.

I don't have a cough (though I often feel like I have stuff in my chest and take guiafenesin tablets daily). I'm scheduled for a pulmonary function test next week; because of the asthma it's my 3rd one (I'm 61) and I did fine on the others. Now we have this, though. What scares me is, my mom passed on 9/1/16 and though she lived to be 91 with severe rheumatic heart disease, she also had this whistling, ended up on 24-hour oxygen and her death certificate read "COPD." She didn't smoke either. I fear I'm following right along in her footsteps, and I have a boatload of other stuff (an IgG immune deficiency, inflammatory myopathy, chronic Lyme, neuropathy) and now my bronchial tubes are both irreversibly swollen AND in one place, collapsed? I know NOTHING about this disorder. Any help very much appreciated.

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  • Posted

    I don't think you need to worry so much.  There are plenty of people who have lived for years with this condition.  That said, you will have to manage it.  I'm in my early 50's, also have asthma and was diagnosed about 4 years ago.  I have only been sick enough to need antibiotics one time and that was before I was diagnosed.

    When I get that chest tightness or an unproductive cough (usually accompanied by more trouble breathing)  I take an expectorant for a few days which helps get the mucous up and out.

    I think it helps to exercise.  It seems to help move the mucous for me.  The down side of this for me is the fatigue that comes and goes.  I have had several occasions that I don't have a fever, but feel bad and am extremely tired.  I recently went through this and just rested 2-3 days.  Seems like I need more rest than I used to!

    Be sure and get your flu and pneumonia shots!  

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    • Posted

      Thanks -- helps to hear from other folks. I do get the flu shot and also have had my pneumonia shot a few years ago and a booster. Do they know what caused it in your case?
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    • Posted

      My doctor thinks that I may have aspirated during a surgery I had to repair the cervical discs in spine (neck area).  It was within 2 years after the surgery that I started having a lot of throat clearing, etc.

      I also have been one of those with asthma/allergy/sinus problems and they seem to go hand in hand with bronch patients.

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  • Posted

    Don't worry too much - stress is not good for you! I have had bronchiectasis in both lungs for 68 years and although it's a nuisance and sometimes you feel really rough if you take care of yourself properly you can live a normal life.

    Hopefully your doctor will recommend you to a respiratory specialist and a physiotherapist who would help you with breathing exercises and teach you ways to clear your lungs.

    Lots of rest, drink water, take exercise if you can especially in the fresh air, take any meds prescribed and life won't be too awful - better without bronchiectasis of course but I don't remember not having it so can't really judge.

    Very best wishes.

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    • Posted

      That's a long time for sure.  I do drink lots of water, but don't get much exercise any more since my tolerance for exertion is lessened due to arthritis and inflammation. I don't currently have a pulmonary doctor but I'm sure I'm headed in that direction. Just trying to find out as much as I can...terrified of pulmonary fibrosis, which apparently is part of what my mom had. Also I've been exposed to both TB and aspergillosis from an uncle I was VERY close to, and he was very sick for 8 years before he passed. I live in his old house and wonder if there's mold here...

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    • Posted

      You can't catch bronchiectasis from anybody because it's an abnormality or damage to the lungs - it us usually there as a result of something else. It can be caused by another illness - in my case childhood measles - or a foreign body in the lung or TB, pneumonia etc. Spores and mould and other poor conditions will always make respiratory complaints worse of course. I do hope you can see a proper respiratory doctor. This condition is not fun but with proper management it doesn't need to spoil your life. All the very best.

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