I was just diagnosed with COPD. I am 36 yr. old female, slight overweight, and smoker for 23 yrs. I am trying to quit (cut back from 2 packs to under a pack a day) with my official quit day on July 4. I get so short of breath just doing simple things and feel exhausted most all of the time. Is this normal with my level of function? Also, when I quit smoking and begin an exercise program will my symptoms go away and is there still time to reverse this? I am absolutely horrified. Is this considered mild COPD or moderate COPD? Is this fixable or rather curable? Should I be so short of breath from doing laundry, taking a shower, etc.?
The loss of "30% lung function" is to non-specific to make a judgment on the severity of your chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but it is probably mild to moderate. However, with mild-moderate COPD one should not "…get short of breath just doing simple things and feel exhausted, most of the time.” It is uncommon, but not rare, to have more severe COPD at your age. When it occurs, it is frequently associated with an inherited trait called, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. You should definitely ask your doctor to test you for this condition and, if you have it, test your family members as well.
If you have this condition and/or if your COPD is deemed to be severe, you must do everything in your power to stop smoking immediately. When you do quit, lose some weight and engage in an exercise program on a regular basis, it is highly likely that your symptoms will be relieved, but may not completely reverse.
You should not be short of breath from doing laundry, taking a shower, etc.
Your first step should be to seek consultation with a doctor who knows about COPD and its treatment. That doctor may well be able to help you with smoking cessation and provide medicine that will give you symptom relief. This person may or may not be your current doctor. You should not delay.
36 is quite young to have COPD. You say you have lost 30% of lung function. You should be tested for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Its an inherited form of emphysema. No, COPD is not reversible but can be managed. Quiting smoking is the most important thing you can do for yourself. I wish I had quit sooner as I only have 18% function left. I also do have Alpha-1.
wow, i don't see my response, so i will post again. Wow, you started smoking at a young age of 13. The thing with us exsmokers that is scary is the risk to get lung cancer for years after stopping smoking. That is scarier then copd...more reason to quit.
The best thing you can do is stop smoking and exercise, exercise, exercise. Once you quit smoking your lung will decline of that as a non smoker. You say you lost 30% do you mean your fev1 is in the 70's? That would be mild. Have you been checked for Alpha?
When I took my pulonary function test last week my results was one fev being 70 and one being 72 but don't ask me which one was which because I don't have this language figured out yet. : ) I keep hoping that since I am still young I have time to quit smoking and start exercising again and live a normal long, healthy life. But, I am so scared because many of the posts do not indicate such. One doctor friend told me that these numbers were reversible and I could be fine but then another doctor has told me that I can never get that back. So, I just don't know. I have not seen a specialist yet. THe doctor that diagnosed me was my primary physician and he said that at this point all a specialist would do was repeat the tests he has conducted and probably start me on meds which at this point my regular doctor does not want to do. I have had heart palpitations, PVC's/PAC's, and tachycardias for years and have had 2 ablations so far. I still have to take a beta blocker to keep my rhythm slowed down so taking respiratory meds could agitate that. I really appreciate the positive feedback from you and SkinnyGary. I don't guess I have been checked for Alpha. My doctor did a bunch of blood work but I don't have a clue for what. I will check when I go back in next week. I am down from 2 packs a day to around 11 cigarettes and plan to back down some more next week with being completely stopped on July 4 . I can celebrate our countries Independance and my independence from cigarettes at the same time. YEA!!!
Any continued positive feedback would be appreciate. I am really anxious to see what the Dr. has to say. Maybe he will respond soon. I wish all of you the best health and long time happiness.
Sweetie. the best thing you can do is go to a lung doctor...this is very important! COPD is not reversible! So it is important for you to go to the lung doctor the sooner you get a hold on this the better. The doctor can give you different medicines according to your COPD. I just found out I have it I think I have had it for many years. I thought I was having panic attacks because of the chronci pain I'm in. Come to find out my oxygen level was low and I was having a very severe attack. I just got out of the hospital for 8 days. So please don't take this lightly. I hope the doctor on this forum will answer your question soon. If you ever need to talk about it just send me a post. I hope you feel better. If you can't take respiratory meds there are other things they can do. Please go to the doctor!
Being in the 70's you are in the mild range. And if you quit smoking and exercise and take care of yourself you will live a long normal life. COPD is not reversible but you can slow the progression to that of a normal non smoker.
When they first told me mine was in the 70's I couldn't eat or sleep, I thought I was going to be gone in the next 5 years. It seems like I only found all the scary articles and post to read. Don't let it do that to you.
I went to the Cleveland Clinic then for a second opinion, and because my primary also told me that I didn't need a pulmonologist. They told me I would be fine. They looked at my xray and pft results.
I also get heart palpitations. I don't take med. for it though, like my husband does. My palps. were actually worse when I was so scared.
I'm glad your going to quit smoking. That will make a world of difference. I quit the day they told me my results, cold turkey, scared the nerves out of me. There are other websites out there that people can really help you on also, if you would like them, let me know. Oh, and keep us updated how your doing.
My lung function (common lung function measurement) was 65% when I was 23 after 7 years smoking. After I'd stopped for a few years it had gone up to 88%.
Needless to say i started smoking again for the past four years and its back down to 70%. I feel ok- although being aware of this caused me a lot of anxiety. I have stopped smoking- with extreme difficulty but I kept stopping again after each relapse. Its not as difficult as you are allowing yourself to think. try the Alan Carr clinic- it wored for me. My understanding is that even one cigarette a day will continue the process of emphysema (albeit more slowly than 20). You have to cut them all out. Nothing else matters.
The docs dont really understand this, this is why you're hearing contradictory things from them (for example my pulmonologist told me that my low function was irreversible- and told me it was asthma when it recovered). As far as I know smoking will trigger an abnormal inflammatory response in some people ((thus causing obstruction) and this then causes emphysema over time. the younger you stop, the higher the likelihood that the swelling will subside over time. give it 3 or four years, take up some excercise. This is what I am doing.
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