Over the past few years, with a worsening of my GERD, I started getting asthma symptoms. What scared me most was feeling immediate breathing restriction when lying flat. I asked my doctor to order a BNP blood test (very accurate for detecting heart failure) and my reading was very low at "4" (the lower-the-better and congestive heart is not suspect unless readings are at least 100). I now believe my difficulty breathing when supine (not near as bad on my sides) is due to the GERD.
Afterward, the hypocondriac that I can sometimes be, made me fear that I might have COPD, despite my never being a smoker and only being around second hand smoke up to about age 18 (I'm now 48).
At night I can hear not only some wheezing but some clicking sounds on both the in and out breath. These come from my lungs, not from my throat and will be maybe two or three of them on both the inhale and exhale. You might call it "crackling" but isn't so prominant that I can feel it - only hear it when it's quiet at night.
I bought a peak flow meter today - an "Access Brand" full-range one from Wal-Mart, made by Respironics Company. My PF was very good, my best being about "700", which is above normal values for my age/height.
THREE QUESTIONS Please:
1. Would a PF this good help to point away from COPD?
2. Do any of you with asthma hear the clicking/crackles?
3. Rather than intermittent asthma attacks, do any of you also have periods of days that you feel ongoing restricted breathing symptoms?
(My GERD and anxiety can be factors but I do have asthma because I clear lots of mucous from my throat/lungs and have cough sensation when taking in deep breaths or exhaling forcefully - like with nose-blowing. I had asthma as a child as well but it stopped manifesting for years and returned in my 40s.)
The only real way of telling if you have COPD is by doing a complete Pulmonary Function Test not just a spirometry that can be done in a doctors office.A peak flow meter is for someone who has been diagnosised with copd to be able to manage there copd. Certain readings can tell that person if there small airways are being affected and to treat them with whatever meds they have. Peak Flow meters are a preventive measure to keep copd in check.
When people hear COPD they think emphysema or worse. COPD is used for many different lung problems.(Asthma,Chronic Bronchitis,Emphysema) many doctors use this as a generic term for any obstructive lung disease process (Unable to blow 80% of your air volume out of your lungs in 1 second)
The clicking and crackles you hear are most likely due to your GERD and the fluid in the airways. So when you breath the air passing over the liquid causes the crackles. It's very important that you are on the correct medication for the gerd to prevent damage to your lungs,trachea and esophagus.and aspiration pneumonia The acidity of gerd can cause a form of copd.
The restrictive breathing you are feeling can also be a cause of the gerd and the inflammation of the airways.Have you had a PH study or upper G.I. to determine the severity of your gerd? Good luck and feel better rjbeck
Thank you...very good information and much appreciated.
I have autoimmune thyroid as well and saw some studies regarding patients with autoimmunity of any kind (thyroid was specifically mentioned) were at higher risk for developing COPD.
I really like what you said about COPD not being one specific breathing problem, in-fact some sources I've gone to to research a bit, also place typical asthma in the category.
I've mentioned this in past posts, although hopefully each time it doesn't come across too negatively judgmental toward some in the medical community but with each medical issue I researched, I find conflicting info by the truck loads.
Some sources seemingly lump all COPD into one category and imply that it always leads to an eventual dramatic progression and that it is always irreversible. I would think that this would actually depend on the type you have.
In regard to Peak Flow Meters (PFM), most sources also agree with the need for PFT to definitively diagnose COPD and that makes sense however some sources also say that both typical asthma and COPD are commonly misdiagnosed, even with the full-array of tests (including pulmonary specialists). These type issues are frustrating and a bit disturbing but all we can do is go through all of the available processes and follow any treatment plans recommended to us.
Also, some sources make statement but leave out important details in them. Not that articles can be perfect, by no means but some of the key info not mentioned is too important to not be given better detail.
Here for example, is what the U.S. National Institutes of Health page says about Peak Flow Meters:
"The peak expiratory flow rate measures how fast a person can breathe out (exhale) air. It is one of many tests that measures how well the lungs are working.
The test is commonly used to diagnose and monitor lung diseases such as:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Rejection after a lung transplant
Home monitoring can help determine whether treatments are working or detect when your condition is getting worse."
What is doesn't mention is that peak flow rate alone doesn't provide an initial diagnosis. Despite this, other med-research articles state that some doctors go no further with testing a patient if peak flow is normal or above normal. This-too is somewhat understandable because peak flow is affected with COPD, even without comorbid asthma, when it reaches moderate and severe levels.
The Mayo Clinic site says GERD may cause COPD in some people but they don't add any detail as to whether they mean those who also smoke or are elderly, etc... Other sites, that are just as reputable if not more so, state that GERD has been found to exacerbate flares of COPD but that there are no studies that directly attribute it as a "cause" (here again, conflicting info.).
Sorry, I didn't mean to go into so much detail. I've actually seen the same type confusion relating to hypothyroid diagnosis and treatments, as well as several other medical issues.
Sometimes the patient-forums bring more balance to these things, than do the medical information sites.
MedHelp sends me emails on occassion, asking me to select a best answer to my question but many times, there is no icon/prompt to click for doing so. May have to do with the type browser one has on their PC or other tech issues.
Anyway, I select yours as the best and I thank you once again for it.
Having had asthma for years, and having used different treatments, I've come a long way.
We that have severe asthma and successfully treating it have learned a few things about it. Bronhci tubes have felt like leather tubes. Having severe whizzing and very difficult breathing I have found that to get back on track I need the neb. 3 times a day.
COPD C is for chronic. O is for obstructive. P is for pulmonary (or lung).
D is for disease. And yes according to my doctors asthma comes under this heading.
Lots of sources out there agree with you on the fact of asthma also being a disease of COPD, while others state that the differences are distinct between asthma and COPD. This is yet another aspect of opposing views being expressed out there.
I think each of us has to let that perspective between these information sources balance in our own minds the best possible and to follow our prescribed treatments accordingly.
I have to admit that I can't imagine typical asthma not also being recognized as "obstructive" it may be the "chronic" aspect that makes some of these sources differentiate between them because some state that asthma is "reversible" while COPD is not.
The search and research continues for all of us, including the medical pros and thank goodness it is!
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