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I smoked for almost 20 years - started when I was about 40 and smoked maybe 1/2 to 1 pk per day. In the last few years I noticed more and more shortness of breath. MY doctors all knew I was a smoker and never pushed hard enough for me to quit. I always thought the fatigue was heart related so I kept seeing a cardiologist and having EKG's, Stress Tests and Echocardiograms. Only minor problems, like an irregular heart beat and some mitral valve problems came up but nothing indicating major heart problem. I also have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea (about 9 years ago) and have used CPAP regularly for the past 4 years. I was still getting very tired during the day and always telling my Sleep Doctor about this but he never suggested a breathing test or pulmonary function test to see if I had lung problems. Finally about 4 months ago he got a chest x-ray and did a spirometer test on me and just matter of factly told me I have mild to moderate COPD (FEV1 was 55). He didn't even put me on meds - just told me to quit the smokes which I finally did about 2 months after that diagnosis. Then it was suggested on another site that I need to get a full Pulmonary Function test done so I saw a Lung Doctor and had that done - this time it showed my FEV1 to be 76 (this was about 3 months after the sleep doctor's diagnosis). And this lung doctor didn't say anything about me having COPD or even try to put me on meds. So on my next visit to my Sleep Doctor (just a few days later) I told him that I saw another doctor and had the full pulmonary function test done. So he called and got the results sent to his office and again said I definitely had COPD and he put me on Spiriva Respimat(to use daily) and a Ventolin inhaler (for use as needed). I've been using the Spiriva for a few weeks now and have not noticed any difference in my shortness of breath or fatigue - in fact I've had much more fatigue and kind of feeling kind of dazed and some blurry vision since using the Spiriva. Do you have to stay with the inhaler for quite a while before you notice a difference in it helping you or should I continue it even though it don't seem to be helping? Also I've noticed I've been clearing my throat almost constantly - about a month now this has gone on. Is this a COPD symptom? I don't cough much at all and it feels like I have phlem to bring up but I can't. Just tired all the time. So please, any advice would be really appreciated. I am so confused at this point and scared as I know this is a progressive disease and I would like to think I have many years left. I am now 62. Thanks
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