Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Expert Forum
Mom with COPD and 35% lung capacity
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Mom with COPD and 35% lung capacity

My 77 year old mom was recently diagnosed with Emphysema and was told she only had 35% lung capacity.  I am scared out of my mind as she won't tell me what her Drs. have told her. She lives in denial and thinks it'll go away if we don't talk about it.  She is on oxygen 24/7 now and seems to have a little more energy.  She smoked all her life, but quit 12 years ago.  My main question is can a person live a long life with only 35% of her lung capacity?  On the hand-held device she blows into to measure her oxygen level, she can NOW get up to 200.  She's suppose to get up to 300 or better.  Please inform me what to expect.  I need medical advice badly so I don't feel like I'm in the dark about this.  I need to be prepared if my Mom is doing to die soon.  Please respond to my email and help me with all these issues I desperatly need to know.  If you had rather not post to this site, please send to my email address ASAP.
Thank you greatly,
Leezy
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One can live a long time (years) with a lung capacity at or near 35%, especially when treated with continuous oxygen to fully correct low oxygen levels in the blood.  The hand-held device measures speed of air flow or volume of air.  It does not measure oxygen levels.

You should speak with your mother’s doctors about this.  Even at 35%, it is possible to improve her breathing and quality of life, by the use of a long-acting inhaled bronchodilator, such as Serevent® Diskus® (salmeterol xinafoate inhalation powder) or Spiriva® HandiHaler® (tiotropium bromide inhalation powder).  You should also ask about this.
3 Comments
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The main thing to know is that there are many folks who live full and active lives with even lower lung function than your mom.  The main thing she needs to do is avoid infection, exercise, and take good care of her general health.
You can learn more about COPD by visiting http://learnaboutcopd.org which is a website from our federal government.
NationalJewish.org also has lots of great information about COPD.

People can and do live very well with supplemental oxygen as well.  You might ask your mom and her physician about whether a pulmonary rehabilitation program has been considered.  The program can help her develop an appropriate exercise program and learn more about how to optimize her health with emphysema.  Many patients have found it to be invaluable.

Aloha,
Starion
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Hi Leezy,
Hope you are alright.

I'm not a medical expert or anything but I just wanted to reassure you that people can really do ok with reduced lung capacity.  My mum, who is 66 has copd and has a lung capacity a little less than your mum.  She does really well using an inhaler  3 times a day. She is also on a drug's trial at the moment which, if successful should see new and improved drugs being made available to suffers in the future.

I just and try and enjoy the moment now.  I really hope you get the answers you need.

God bless

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