I am 30 years old. I have been having shortness of breath and difficulty with mild/moderate activity, since I had the bird flu a couple of winters ago.
I am a smoker. I have smoked since I was 16 years old (14 yrs total). I started as a half a pack smoker, then a pack a day smoker and every 3-5 years or so I would jump up by half a pack. I had recently jumped to 2 packs a day.
I went to the doctor who performed a lung function test (70 or 80% or normal), X-rays (normal), and the ABG showed I had respiratory alkalosis (high levels of CO2 CO1 and bicarbonate)
The doctor summed it up by saying that I was essentially running at 70% oxygen.
I have since had 2 lung infections: So during my last appointment I asked my doctor flat out: “Do I have emphysema?” Her answer was I have COPD.
I accept this diagnosis and I am seeking treatment to quit smoking—I started taking wellbutrin to help me with it and now I am just waiting for the medication to get into my system, before I try and stop. I have my quit date set and a plan in place to facilitate my success.
My question has to do with how young I have been diagnosed. I am only 30 years old. I had a diagnosis of emphysema at 29—by 30 COPD. I am not a super heavy smoker and I did not start exceptionally young. One of the first things I noticed in my research to learn more about COPD, is that people who have a diagnosis of COPD at such an early age commonly have Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency--whether they are smokers or not. Is that something I should be considering? Should I ask about being tested for this? I know without this protein--my lungs are more likely to become more damaged, because the inflammation process is less effective at turning off, which makes my lungs more susceptible to damage from viruses and the development of COPD, which could also explain why my symptoms suddenly began to be debilitating after I had a respiratory flu.
I accept that I have COPD, but it is hard to swallow that I have this diagnosis at such a young age
See if there are improvements in your lung function tests after you quit smoking. COPD is said to be a combination of emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma. Emphysema damage is permanent, but you can possible get rid of the bronchitis. II presume you are using albuterol which is very helpful. Also, if you have a lot of phlegm Mucomyst is wonderful. At least it was for me. Presnisone and inhaled steroids did terrible damage for me so I won't go near them. (They cause osteoporosis, damage your immune system and cause adrenal fatigue. You can check this on the internet.) In any case your condition is still relatively mild so you can avoid them.
Actually you are a super heavy smoker and you did start young. But put that behind you now and concentrate on improving your lung function.
Yes, Atrovent is ipratropium bromide is used for COPD. I use Duoneb which is a combination of albuterol and ipratropium. You are making me wonder if I can manage with ipratropium alone. I have never tried it. I will ask my lung doctor. I use a portable nebulizer. With that I can take as little as I need (or as much).
In its early stages (like yours) a chest x-ray is not diagnostic. As for prednisone and inhaled steroids, be very careful. They cause osteoporosis, destroy your immune system and create adrenal problems. I have suffered two of these. Try natural anti-inflammatories. Of course you know you must stop smoking. I had better luck doing this gradually until I was off it altogether. It helps if you put your cigarettrs in a relatively inconvenient place - like in a drawer in the next room. Put the ashtray thee too. Then you will stop smoking automatically, but only when you want to. In this manner I cut my smoking by more than one third in the first week. The rest was slower, but painless and I did not gain any weight.
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