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Diagnosed Mild Emphysema - Non Smoker? - Scared!
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Diagnosed Mild Emphysema - Non Smoker? - Scared!

I am hoping to find some advice as I just found this board.  I recently went to my doctor for Pleurisy and they did a chest x-ray. It showed a possible abnormality, so they did a CT scan of my chest. The original "abnormality" turned out to be nothing, but it showed Mild Emphysema.

I am so confused and upset as I quit smoking 10 years ago, live a very healthy lifestyle. I walk 3 miles every day and with the exception of chronic Pleurisy, I have no symptoms of this disease.

I just went to a Pulmonologist and I am waiting to get Lung Function Tests done.  He looked at the scan and said it looked like the start of Emphysema. He also did a blood test for a possible genetic link and told me I am doing everything I should be as far as lifestyle. I am not overweight, I am actually thin and work out.

I googled this disease and now I am so scared. I am only 42, female and from what I have read it seems it is going to shorten my life. Some sites say 5 years, some say it can be weeks(!!), is that true?!

Also, I had pleurisy last summer and they did a CT scan of my lungs then and it was normal..so how did I get it that quick? Is that possible?

Any advice would so be appreciated..I am so scared.

Thank you.
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7 Comments Post a Comment
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518117_tn?1406585660
It has to be scary being 42 and hearing you have emphysema. You are in the mild stage. The start of emphysema. Others on here have posted like you. Younger and with mild emphysema. You have not smoked in 10 years, live a healthy lifestyle and do a lot of walking. From what others have posted in the early stages of emphysema and the advice given by others on this forum, you can expect to live a long life. All the things you are doing good for yourself, especially the quitting of smoking many years ago, is truly a big plus for you.

And don't pay attention to all the sites that you have Googled. There are wonderful sites out there about COPD. But some of them are just put on there to scare people I do believe. And those sites give much false information. I have come across them myself. And I promise you, you have many years and not just weeks. You can live to be old.

The blood test is normal part of being tested if emphysema is found. I also had it. It tests for a defiency that could have caused the emphysema. I personally did not have this defiency. I was 50 when I found out I was in the moderate stage of COPD. I also was a heavy smoker for 35 yrs. upon diagnosis. I am thin as well, but cigarettes was the culprit for my COPD. I am now 53 and doing okay with the COPD. I have shortness of breath at times etc. But, I am still up and active. My doctor told me that if I quit smoking, that I could live to be an old woman. And I am more advanced in my COPD then you and older than you.

Just take care of yourself, do what the doctor suggests and you will live a long life. I hope this has helped you and eased your mind some. God Bless. I promise you it will all be fine. I don't give false hope, just to ease your mind. Get out there and enjoy your life!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you very much for your words of advice and support...it means so much to me.

I am sorry you have Emphysema though, as I don't wish that on anyone.

Take Care and thank you again, I can't express how comforting your words are~
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1060231_tn?1338393735
if i were you i would stay away from smokers or until they are done leave the area and return when their not smoking.we all know that second hand smoke is bad if not worse than smoking it yourself.i'm not saying give up your friends,just walk away when they smoke.i have copd and emphysema and i have to avoid being around people and areas where there is smoking involved.i quit smoking feb 16 2010 after smoking for forty plus years and two and a half to three packs a day.i had no more chances,it was either now or die so i quit.for me a lung transplant is on the table but not written in stone that it will happen.good luck to you stay calm if you feel any abnormalities don't be afrai to call your doctor.as far as the time period is concerned you were probably reading  about advanced cases of emphysema
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree with gagootza about staying away from people when they are smoking or any smoke filled areas/rooms.  You need to stay is areas with good ventilation and where the air quality is good.  Another thing to avoid is using chemicals that give off fumes that can decrease the quality of air around and cause breathing problems for you.  I hope this helps you. :-)
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757137_tn?1347200053
If you have mild emphysema and it does not progress your life expectancy is not affected. I point out though, that chest x-rays and CT scans do not reliably diagnose emphysema. If you have no symptoms you should not take any medication. Be particularly wary of prednisone, or inhaled steroids, such as Advair. The side effects can be devastating. Certainly much more serious than mild emphysema, if, in fact, you have emphysema.

If you do, there are natural anti-inflammatories which experience has shown me work better than inhaled steroids. The latter, in fact, almost killed me. No joke.
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Avatar_m_tn
Did you get tested for Alpha One Antitrypsen Deficiency Disorder?  That causes early onset of emphysema and is more prevalent than people realize but rarely tested for.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am 50, have just been diagnosed with extensive emphysema, and have never smoked.  My father quit smoking when I was 7, and that was the longest regular exposure I had to second-hand smoke.  Yet, I know that the enzyme deficiency is a genetic thing, and my 60-year-old brother has been a heavy smoker since he was a teenager but is healthy, so it doesn't seem that he has the deficiency. Very confusing.
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