Just diagnosed - no symptoms

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I have been diagnosed with COPD after I mentioned a 3 week cough during a routine GP check up. A nurse gave me Spirometry? Lung function test and said I had the lungs of a 90 year old.  I am 65. The doctor gave me a broncholdilator? inhaler thingie and told me to use it as necessary and to exercise.  I don't use the inhaler as I don't feel any different from before the diagnosis.  I walk fairly regularly and have included more hills.  Am a bit dismayed to be told it's going to get worse.  Is it inevitable or do people manage to hold it at bay? 

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  • Posted

    I'm afraid it's a progressive condition. How fast it progresses is down to genes, and what you do about it.

    Stop smoking if you do. Don't live next to idiots who burn wood burning stoves or coal chimney smoke. A growing trend I'm afraid.


    People can live with copd for many years, but then the count will start at a younger age if they are young. You are 65 your lungs have start to age as a natural process anyway of ageing, and become less efficient anyway. There is a table that exists that shows what your spirometry scores should be for a man (I'm assuming) your age. Height is very important to accurately measure as your lung capacity is designed to be in synch with your lungs. So you have to know that before asking for your lung results to check against the tables. (bear in mind "normal height to spirometry results have to take into account a standard deviation formula that takes into accounts natural differences between people , so you should apply the standard deviation to this, you may naturally be at the low end of the calculation)

    Then you will know exactly where you are in relation to where you should be if you did not have copd. The important thing is to take control of the information and research it. Buzzle has a good site on copd but there are others.

    If you can still hillwalk this is good good. There aren't many 90 year old non-smokers who can do this, so I would take into account your doctor may be an individual who is using colourful language to frighten you into being wise with your condition.

    But he/she'll be right about you having copd.

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  • Posted


    I was diagnosed 12 years ago at the age of 52 after presenting to the gp with a cough I had for 6 months or more

    I was given as inhaled and an xray.

    The xray showed very little but after the tests i was told I had COPD and it was a progressive illness my lung capacity was 73% I was then given another inhaler. I stopped smoking my lung capacity improved over time and now I am told that I have asthma. Unfortunately the damage had already been done and I now have only half a lung on my right side due to bullers. But never the less I have other problems and am not able to walk far and get out of breath quickly but I dont think it is because of my lungs.

    I suggest you keep walking as you say you do and do stop smoking if you haven't already done so.

    I wish you the best and dont give up on it. I haven't


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  • Posted

    Thanks so much for your quick replies.  Next time I go to the doctor I'll ask for lung test results so I can look up that table.  I stopped smoking a couple of years ago.  The doctor said my oxygen was good - from a fingertip test.  My friend's dad died aged 89 last week.  He had emphysema, lived in Scotland and walked round the loch twice a day.  He collapsed and died while on a walk so had a good quality of life to the end.
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  • Posted

    yes that is the right attitude. What we all fear is that we may be "cheated" of life, or good quality life. Or should I say, cheated ourselves , due to smoking or choosing to be working or living in bad environments.

    The fingertip test is called an oximetre. You can buy a home oximetre from amazon for about £25. Again you have to watch about obsessively monitoring this and using it correctly. A lot of people buy an oximetre then gaily use it the wrong way.

    The wrong way is to breath heavily while taking your reading, or to have gone out for a brisk walk beforehand. This gives a false reading. As does smoking shortly before you take a reading as the carbon monoxide reads like red blood cells and makes your reading look better than it actually is.

    It is also wrong to take your reading immediately. You need to sit quietly with the oximetre on for at least three minutes then try not to panic as the scores start to tumble from around 97 on a downard trend. Ultra shallow breathing on the other hand makes your score look worse. Just straighten the back and breath as you would watching telly.

    My father died of emphysema when he was 46 due to heart complications. He worked right up to the day he died. That was over 40 years ago and I still amn't over the horror of that night. But , the point is, doctors can manage the condition better, they can check the size of your heart by x-ray, yours is fine, that is a good thing. A great start. Your hillwalking has helped here. Keep exercising. Don't smoke, and you can keep the trajectory to poor breathing on a shallow curve hopefully until pretty much what would have been the end of your natural life. But live your life, don't live in fearful introspecton of what is "about" to happen to you. At your age you will probably "get away" with having copd since your physical condition is already good enough to hill walk.

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  • Posted

    Hi PGtips11!  First off, I want to compliment Peter for his magnificent information that he imparted to you!!  I am currently 72 and was diagnosed 6 months ago with copd.  I went to my GP because my blood oxy reading was 73 and I was quite dizzy.  They immediately did an EKG, sent me for a CT scan and it was clear after ALL the testing that I was at Stage 2.  However, I have been walking 3 miles a day, am on Spiriva and use oxygen all night.  Two days ago I went for my 6 month check-up with my pulmonary specialist and he said I was doing well.  I'll just add one more thing to Peter's information....I too have an oximetre and if you do purchase one, always hold your hand below heart level when you take it.  Yes, copd is progressive and cannot be reversed,  BUT it can be managed and you CAN lead a normal life if you truly try to "follow all the rules".  I have heard of others surviving 20 years with copd.   Good luck and stay in touch!!
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  • Posted

    Hi there my mum has had chronic COPD for fifteen years she is now 84 and is still living with this she hasn't got the mobility she used to have but up to two years ago was living a normal life getting out and about unfortunately two years ago she had a virus that lasted for three months and was hospitalised for that time I'm afraid she lost all her confidence after that and is unsteady on her feet so she's housebound but it's not the COPD that is effecting it's her age so yes I believe there is life after diagnosis of this disease just keep on doing what you enjoy and don't let it stop you good luck


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  • Posted

    hi sue, quite right. It wasn't so long ago that life expectancy for a male was 70 years , and a woman 74.

    My reckoning is that long as I make it to making the most of my three score years and ten, I have seen the best of it, and anything thereafter, in good health, is a bonus.

    I'm in my sixties and I feel priviliged to have lived through time that was without a world war, had fresh drinking water, available good food, genuine career opportunites for those prepared to work whatever their class background.

    I consider my life experience to have been one of good fortune. The trick now is to prolong it until I reach three score and ten. Then I bet when I reach that, my target will be to reach four score and ten.

    Guess I'm saying that a life threatening illness is daunting, could lead to perpetual melancholy, but I am savouring every day in the light that i can. That would involve eating sensibly, sleeping well, exercising and not smoking, after that it is down to che sera sera.

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  • Posted

    my advice for lung  problem,take honey one spoon with three almond  at night time every day (if u hv in  dyslipidemic and diabetic avoid almond,honey)  they cure breathing problem
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