New to COPD - Do I need Meds

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I'm almost 63... Heavy smoker for 40 years. I did my annual physical a couple weeks ago and was asked to come back to discuss my chest x-ray. Doc said I have COPD.

He had me blow into a handheld device and said I did pretty good on that.... I've been fast walking two miles a day five days a week for several years.. I do get slightly winded after climbing two flights of stairs. I walked one mile this morning. I cut back due it being a bit cold outside... Was told cold air is bad for the lungs.

I'm on day six as a complete NON SMOKER!!! (yea) But the two things I've noticed is a slight pain in my chest that comes and goes and I can get short of breath when I talk a lot. 

A few weeks ago I had a "cold" with a nasty cough... the cough didn't want to stop... It was a dry non productive cough in the beginning that turned productive towards the end... I cough very little now...Just maybe a little cough to clear my throat. 

Doc and I made an appointment for me to comeback in three months to talk about meds and an inhaler.. He already offered me these two items... But I wanted to wait.

So the question is, do you think that the longer I'm a non smoker that my shortness of breath when talking a lot will improve a "little." I understand COPD is here to stay but would rather not pop pills unless I have to.

Thank you in advance for your feedback. 

Steve

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Dear Steven Dallas.    I stopped smoking in 2009 when diagnosed and sometimes still get out of breath when talking. What I would suggest is get on the meds as soon as possible and you might find because you seem to be at quite an early stage you might notice a difference depending on the meds you get. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Steve

    You are doing quite well although you are experiencing symptoms.  I would definitely go for ventolin as rescue inhaler to carry with you as you need it, make sure you get your technique checked.  And perhaps a 24 hour broncho dilater at the least at this stage.  Those 2 inhaler medicines you may find beneficial and later if not enough you can add to them.

    I would say you need to attend a pulmonary rehabilitation course so as you know how to recognise a chest infection and when you may need to use an emergency medicine pack.  Your doctor can advise on this.

    Also an annual flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine again speak with your doc about this.  

    The above just a few things that can help you breath easier and protect the lungs.

    Please note I am not a medical professional, the above is just my thoughts on your situation, I have been living with COPD in excess of 12 years.

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  • Posted

    Thanks guys.. That's 2 out of 2 suggesting that I get some meds now..

    Except for the ex smoking part, I try pretty hard to stay on top of my health issues. I'm a ten year prostate cancer survivor. 

    I do get an annual flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine as required. Had a bit a heart scare a couple of years ago that ended up being acid reflux. So at least my heart is in good shape. 

    I appreciate your feedback and welcome any others. 

    Thanks again.

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    • Posted

      Hey Steve:

      Are you in Dallas Tx? I'm in Austin.

      Yes, call doc's off. tomorrow & get started. If you're in the States, it's extremely unlikely that you'll get either pulmonary rehab or emergency medicine packs. If you have extraordinary insurance or you just happen to participate in the right health system, maybe you can get an hour with a nurse.

      Wherever you are please start the meds. They're part of hanging onto all the lung health you have now, which is all that matters.

      Congratulations on the cold turkey. If you need help or encouragement, ask here and or at the lung foundation wherever you live.

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  • Posted

     Hi Steve unfortunately the damage is done with the smoking already, I haven't smoked for 25 years and I was diagnosed this year .

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    • Posted

      Hi Eric,

      Please let us not forget that smoking is not the only cause of COPD even though the medics would have us believe that this is the case.  The air is highly polluted here in the U.K.  Also the work place environment can be a cause.  Congratulations Steve on kicking the habit, I wish I could but having smoked as long as we have, I don't see the point in depriving ourselves.  I'm 71 years old and enjoying life with the help of inhalers.  Go for it.

      Best wishes to you.

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    • Posted

      SOME of the damage is done; continuing to smoke will increase the damage. I understand, sort of, deciding at 71 to keep smoking, but in one's 50s?

      Yes, 25% of COPD is in folks who never smoked. So 75% smoked ourselves into this, with or without environmental factors. Quitting is still the single best thing we can do for our lungs & future.

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    • Posted

      Absolutely stopping smoking is one of the best things we can do for our lung health and health overall.  To continue to smoke with ~COPD is just going to hasten expiry date.

       

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    • Posted

      hasten expiry date and involved faster deterioration in quality of life
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  • Posted

    Thanks everyone.... Last Wednesday the 6th I had one cigarette and haven't looked back. My sense of smell has come back and have really noticed that everything in my house smells really bad.

    I'll be seeing my doc the first week in January to talk about the meds and inhalers.. Originally was going to do that in late February. 

    Thanks again for all of your feedback. 

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    • Posted

      Consider hiring pros who specialize in cleaning after fire & cig smoke. Have to clean everything. If pros do it, you pissibly won't need to get out the KILZ & paint.

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    • Posted

      My reply is in moderation, probably due to the name of a product I suggested. If you can afford it, get your entire house cleaned by pros at removing fire & cig smoke damage. Worth every penny. Explain your lung issue & stipulate that they not end the process with any perfume or "freshener. " Alternatively you can get out 5 gallons of a product that goes on like paint high which covers water stains & smoke or other odors in painted surfaces. The product sold stateside has a 4 letter name which rhymes with "pills " but substitute a k for the p, then delete one l. You'd either have pain m8xed in or have to paint over it, then clean carpet & furniture.

      It's important to do this so that you don't have the constant reminder of what you've turned away from, and so you'll feel better about having people over. I was lucky: I bought a very expensive painting 11 years before I quit smoking. It's not under glass & I realized that my pack-day habit would ruin the white horse in the painting. I banned smoke from the house.

      Keep up the good work.

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  • Posted

    No pills to pop, Steve, but the inhaler could help whatever symptoms of SOB (shortness of breath) you have. I quit after 47 years, but my COPD was advanced, and I'm on oxygen 24/7. Exercise is your best friend. You should see a reduction in your symptoms over time. By two months, you should notice a change. Congratulations on becoming a nonsmoker!

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