My mum has just been diagnosed with COPD.

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Hello

My mum who is 67 has just been diagnosed with COPD. She has smoked since her teens and never stopped. For the past 5 years she's had so many chest infections and now she is breathless all the time and wheezes. She gets breathless just talking. She said she will quit smoking but she hasn't yet! She still works. She is a caretaker so is active but doesn't have a healthy diet. Any advice? I know she needs to stop smoking and I'm working on that as that is priority. Even if she stops will she ways be like this now (breathless and coughing) she has been given an inhaler. She only saw the nurse to get the diagnosis. No GP. She said her aunties had it and lived into their 80s so I don't know if she thinks she will be the same and can still smoke. Also is it hereditary? I've never smoked but my sister does.

Thank you

Sarah

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  • Posted

    My best advice to your Mum is to realize she is not like others.  Illness plays all degrees of different with each of us. I smoked for 43 years and have quit because I cared about the others around me who loved me and would have to take care of me. Good Luck. Quitting is NOT easy.

     

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  • Posted

    Hi if this is in her family then she needs to stop.  There can be a genetic component called Alpha1 Deficiency Gene which is quite rare but those with that generally get it much earlier than 67.  I have known people in their 20's and 30's with it.  

    I think your mum knows she need to stop smoking but it can be a very scary thing to do when you have smoked for many years.  I was diagnosed younger than your mother and it has taken me 10 years to stop,  Fortunately I was mild when diagnosed and am still mild.

    Copd is a progressive disease which is not currently curable.  The progression is different in everyone but by stopping smoking, leading a healthy diet and exercising your mother is giving herself the best chance of a long a healthy life still.  She might be lucky and stay relatively healthy until her 80's but then again she might not.  She is playing Russian roulette with her health and she might get the chamber with the bullet in. She won't know until it's too late for stopping to make much of a difference. 

    Encourage her to stop smoking but whatever you do don't nag her.  What you need to do is support her and tell her you know she is strong enough to pack it in and you will help her in every way that you can.  To get up the confidence to stop she needs building up and not running down.  She also has to stop for herself and for her own reasons.  There are many NRT available now from patches to Champix.  

    It could also be a good idea to get her to join a quit smoking site either in real life or online.  I joined one called Quit on Health Unlocked which is brilliant and they really helped me stop and stay stopped.  

    Good luck with all that.  Oh and see if you can get her on a PR course (Pulmonary Rehab) which would be arranged by her doctor/nurse.  This takes place once or twice a week and consists of exercise tailored to copd sufferers and chats by experts etc.  This will help her and give her lots of knowledge.  All the best.  x

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for that. So very helpful and informative.

      I know nagging won't help as I've tried that in the past. I'm hoping she will stop as she coughs so much when she smokes. We think she's had it for 5 years. What is that gene? Her family were all big smokers. It's worrying as my sister smokes and has done since she was early teens. She is nearly 50 now.

      Thanks again. So helpful

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  • Posted

    Hi you are very welcome.  Don't worry about the genetic link.  It is quite rare and if any of your family had it they would have symptoms of copd much earlier and have been diagnosed then.  The main difference it makes to copd is a diagnosis often as young as in their 20's and sometimes they are not even smokers.  Obviously being so young the illness has more time to progress so they will deteriorate quicker and become more severe.  

    Re smoking I can only give you my experience.  I only stopped smoking last August.  My copd is fairly mild and doctor and nurses told me for years that my cough and breathing would improve immeasurably if I stopped smoking.  I poohoed that until I did stop. I was amazed to find my cough virtually stopped,  I could walk up hills again and I had lots more energy.  I feel embarrassed now at not believing the medics!  

    I bet the same would happen for your mother.  x

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  • Posted

    Any concerns or worry contact the British Lung Foundation Helpline.  

    BLF . org has lots of information of their website concerning different lung illnesses.  The alpha1 antytripsin is the hereditary one, you can read about it on BLF pages.  2nd and 3rd hand smoke also harmful.

    Stopping smoking will improve her chances of living into her 80s, continuing to smoke will detract from that.

    Healthy diet is also importain, again all the information on the BLF org website

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    • Posted

      apologies errors, its late past my bedtime...

      Any concerns or worry contact the British Lung Foundation Helpline.  

      BLF . org has lots of information on their website concerning different lung illnesses.  The alpha1 antytripsin is the hereditary one, you can read about it on BLF pages.  2nd and 3rd hand smoke also harmful.

      Stopping smoking will improve her chances of living into her 80s, continuing to smoke will detract from that.

      Healthy diet is also important, again all the information on the BLF org website

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  • Posted

    She has got to give it up as smoking was probably the reason she has got COPD in the first place plus given up will cut down on getting infections 
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  • Posted

    Dear Sarah, i well understand that your mother is still smoking as i know for a fact that it is harder to quit heroin than nicotine, so rather than wasting money on nicotine replacement i would recommend hypnosis which at the end of the day will be much cheaper. If your mother is successful in hypnosis then she wouldnt relasps and start smoking again, also life Insurance states that a person must be free of nicotine for twelve months to be classified as a non-smoker and payouts become much higher and yes if your mother smoked whilst with child then it would be hereditary as the lungs get the toxins that are carried through the blood. My Grandmother, my mother and myself have all developed COPD, one with cancer the other pulmonary fibrosis, which unfortunately was diagnosed as cancer and had mother received the right diagnosis she would have had the chance of going to a hospital in London who can give the patient a few more years life if caught early, elderly GP's should either retire or retrain. Best of luck Sarah X

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  • Posted

    I am 57 got told 2 years ago i have emphysema and stopped smoking 4 months later, it's the hardest thing i have ever done and some days still miss smoking.

    But there is no point telling her to stop she needs to make you own mind up really.

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