Please help...32 (33soon) and afraid I may have COPD?
I am 32 (33 in April).
I smoked approx half a pack a day for approx 14 years. Although I think I was a "deeper inhaler" meaning I would smoke the entire cigarette, not just casually.
I can walk anywhere I want, and lightly run, although I am out of shape. When I do this I do get out of breath and my airways feel a bit "obstructed", not sure how to tell it.
I also have anxiety issues, I am very worried about this and it causes me to have shortness of breath symptoms.
FEV1/FVC%: Ref: 85: Pre: 73
LV: these are all around 105
The only number significantly affected by the albuterol is the FEF25-75- jumped 26%, the rest under 10%.
So my Pulm doc told me my numbers were ok, but there is airway obstruction with the fef25-75 and my DLCO was at the low end of normal, he generally thinks they are smoking related and "will get better" but "doesnt know if it is chronic"- my internist agreed previously thinking my numbers were fairly normal before seeing the final lab analysis, then after seeing the lab MD's report that says "there is a mild obstructive ventillatory defect" and "The decreased DLCO and DL/VA are consistent with obstructive airway disease", he referred me to the Pulm doc. He still doesn’t think I have COPD.
My big red flag is, my DLCO numbers are lower as is my fef25-75, both I have heard are the the beginning stages of emphysema. He "thinks" that my numbers would get better if I just quit smoking, as I did the brisk walk fine and (I assume) because I am fairly young and my FEV1 was normal...
So, if my body isn't diffusing CO properly isn't this an indicator and worriesome? How big of a deal are lower fef25-75 and DLCO? MyFEV1 is normal? Should I seek another opinion? Does it sound like I have COPD or emphysema? Should I be worried?
The thought of not having a family or seeing my children and grandchildren makes me sad.
These pulmonary function test results suggest that you have near normal pulmonary function for your age and gender, albeit with a mild degree of obstruction to airflow as evidenced by the FEV 25-75. The DLCO while at the lower end of predicted values, may still be normal or, perhaps with some degree of chronic bronchitis, slightly abnormal. I agree with your doctors that you do not have emphysema. You may have some airflow obstruction secondary to asthma and/or smoke induced chronic bronchitis.
You state, “He "thinks" that my numbers would get better if I just quit smoking,” and I am sure he is right. You must stop smoking and, if you do, it is a certainty that you will breathe better and feel better and almost a certainty that you will have normal lung function the rest of your life. Along with smoking cessation, you should also engage in regular exercise, beginning with rapid (as your breathing will allow) walking at least one mile a day.
This is a turning point for you. An opportunity to save your lungs. You should seize this opportunity.
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