Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Expert Forum
Emphysema
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Emphysema

I was diagnosed with emphysema 1.5 years ago, due to a cough that has since cleared up. I am only 44. I have been researching emphysema online and it all seems so bleak and the prognosis seems so inevitable...if one was to exercise and get healthy and strong does the prognosis have to be so bleak? I know it varies from individual to individual but if you were to be under a drs care, eat well excercise how long would it take before you would need to be oxygen...20 years? 10 years...what are the averages?
Thanks
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With regular exercise and healthy living, the prognosis need not be bleak – such a prognosis is not inevitable, if you dedicate yourself to daily exercise, weight management, no smoking, the avoidance of lung irritants, annual flu immunization etc.  Your question about oxygen cannot be answered without knowledge of the current severity of your emphysema, severity as defined by pulmonary function tests (PFTs), arterial blood gas determinations and clinical impact on your activities of daily living.  The bottom line is that, you may never need oxygen.

I suggest that you discuss the above with your pulmonary specialist and not be unduly influenced by what you find online.

Further you should go to the following website http://www.goldcopd.com/ to read the Patient Section and the Primary Care Section – 6. Translating Guideline Recommendations to the Context of Primary Care.  In addition to this website:  http://www.thoracic.org/sections/copd/resources/copdpatient.pdf.

Do not despair.

Good luck.
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Deb, I was wondering the same thing! I watched my uncle(in law) die from emphysema. And I still kept on smoking. So stupid of me! As the years went by, he got worse and worse until he was bedridden with a potty chair on the side of him. One side of his heart had grown very large from lack of oxygen and he had a massive heart attack that killed him. He was on oxygen about 10 yrs. after the diagnosis. But, when he went to the doctor, his stage of the disease was pretty advanced. And he was still trying to huff and puff on a cigarette!! He quit when he was no longer able to drive to go buy them!! I know that I'm not at the stage he was when he saw the doctor for it, so I know I have many years left before oxygen comes into the picture. I'm praying anyway. Everyone is different though.
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