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EMPHYSEMA & COPD AT 39 YRS OLD
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EMPHYSEMA & COPD AT 39 YRS OLD

MY PULMONARY DR. SAID IT IS VERY RARE TO FIND THIS IN SOMEONE OF MY AGE.  I QUIT SMOKING ON CHANTIX FOR 1 1/2 WEEKS AND WENT BACK.  I AM MARRIED WITH 4 CHILDREN.  MY 22 YR OLD DAUGHTER AND HUSBAND BOTH SMOKE WHICH MADE IT HARD FOR ME TO STAY AWAY FROM THE CIGARETTES.

I WAS DIAGNOSED EXACTLY ONE YEAR AGO AND I KNOW IT HAS GOTTEN MUCH WORSE.  I HAVE SHORTNESS OF BREATH ALL THE TIME.  I KNOW I NEED TO QUIT SMOKING.  I AM TRYING TO MAKE IT A FAMILY EFFORT.

MY QUESTION IS CAN THIS DISEASE PROGRESS QUICKLY IF I AM SMOKING 1 1/2 PACKS A DAY?  I THINK I KNOW THE ANSWER, BUT I NEED TO HEAR IT.  MAYBE HEARING BAD NEWS WILL OPEN MY EYES SOME MORE AND I CAN ACCEPT THIS FOR WHAT IT IS.  I HAVE MY BLINDERS ON, BUT FEEL THE PROGRESSION ALMOST DAILY.

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

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16 Comments Post a Comment
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518117_tn?1406585660
First of all, I am not going to judge you for having COPD and smoking. I was diagnosed in Oct. 07 with moderate stage COPD and I am still a smoker. I am not saying this with pride, as I know I should not be smoking whatsoever. Yes, 39 is somewhat young to have COPD. I was diagnosed with COPD at the age of 50. But, is it very rare to have COPD at basically the age of 40? No, it is not as rare as your doctor is stating. I researched this before posting to you. And I quote, "COPD occurs later in adulthood, as early as age 40."  Looking back since my diagnosis, I can remember the shortness of breath, during my 40's. COPD takes a number of years to develop. The shortness of breath I was experiencing for those years was COPD developing. I just assumed I was slowing down some due to getting older and of course smoking having some effect on me. But, I never dreamed I would be diagnosed with a lung disease.

Are we progressing our lung disease by smoking? Yes, we very much are. Like you I have tried the Chantix. Infact, I tried Chantix twice. I am bipolar. I take meds for being bipolar and am stable. But, on the Chantix, it caused bad side effects, that made my bipolar symptoms worse. I have tried the nicotine patches a number of times. I will do great for a few days, then I am back to smoking again. I feel very ashamed and guilty for smoking. I truly do. Have I grown worse since my diagnosis in Oct. 07? Very much so. Do I feel sorry for myself? No, I do not. But like you, it is going to take something very serious for me to open up my eyes as well. Possibly a collapsed lung, respiratory failure, etc. That is the chances we are taking, as long as we continue to smoke.

I know the number one cause of COPD is smoking. But, there are other factors to my COPD. Lung disease runs strongly in my family. My mother passed away in Aug. 07 with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. A terminal lung disease with a life expectancy of maybe 5 to 6 yrs. Momma passed away 4 mths. after a lung transplant. My mother never smoked a day in her life. My only sibling a brother was diagnosed in 07 with COPD as well. He was and still is a smoker. He did quit smoking for 6 mths. after diagnosis. But, when Momma passed away, he started smoking again. I was a secretary for about 10 yrs. many years ago. Then, ended up working in warehouses in my later years. I worked around silicone, solder, huge vats of hot glue, fiberglass, etc. And warehouses are usually very dirty and dusty places. Heredity and my work environment played a role in my COPD.

Why I am still smoking, I cannot really say. I have my excuses I guess. Stress, still grieving for my Momma, plus I am a very anxious type person. But, bottom line I am a fool to continue smoking. Eventhough it has been 18 mths. since my diagnosis, I am still somewhat in denial myself, that I have a lung disease. I am afraid as well I will admit.

It honestly took a lot for me to post this, but I felt the need to reach out to you. It is hard to get on a medical forum with a disease and admit that I am further damaging my health. I am sure it was the same for you. Maybe positive can come from this. And that positive being that we have both taken a step towards realizing that we are slowly killing ourselves. My pulmonary doctor told me in Oct. 07, that I was killing myself, by continuing to smoke. That was his very words to me. And yet I am still smoking. All I can say for myself is that I am a fool.

If you would like to communicate further, I check this forum frequently. You can private message me. Maybe we can support one another and give up these killer cigarettes. In the meantime, please take care of yourself and I wish you the very best.
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467579_tn?1289406569
I've been just chatting with "dying2breath" when I noticed your 2 posts.  I too was diagnosed in 1999 after flunking my PFTs.  I also opted to continue smoking until 2006 when , with the help of valium, I ended up in the ICU in ARDS.  I stayed there for a week on a breathing machine for 4 days and every other thing you can think of.  THAT made me quit smoking.  Haven't had one in 3 years.  God just has to drop some of us on our heads.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello, just thought I would give you a little input, and maybe some hope.  I am 45 yrs old...I started out being diagnosed with asthma at around 18. It became more and more serious as each yr went by. In my early 20's my Dr. sent me to a pulmonologist, for years they termed it asthma, or reactive airway disease, and also through the term COPD around at the same time. They said that due to the severity, and frequency of my so called asthma, my condition was more COPD than asthma.  I was in the hospital about every 6-8 weeks, actually admitted and the stay would last 3-10days!...I was on every known med at that time (late 80's till late 90's).  They were even trying "new" things like nebulizing Dexamethasone (a steroid- usually an injection) several times a day, very time consuming, and costly!  I felt like I didn't even need to eat I was taking so many pills! And was inhaling everything they had to offer...During this time,I became so interested in all the Respiratory therapists that came in and out of my room, doing ABG's, (blood gases--needle stick to the artery in your wrist, or brachial artery (crook of arm)... over the years they did CPT (also known as beating the crud out of your lungs, lol)...long story short...I have never smoked a day in my life...though was exposed to 2nd hand smoke, (my mother, and sister) and was actually diagnosed with COPD (SEVERE) at around 23 or so... They said my lungs were as scared, and damaged as a 70 yr olds!  My doctors in Houston Tx, basically said there was nothing they could do for me. I had developed Cushings syndrome, was constantly gaining weight, (steroids), getting sick all the time (chronic bronchitis several times a yr, pneumonia several times a yr..even placed in isolation due to the kind of pneumonia I caught several times, and sometimes just plain ole "can't breathe" syndrome) My Dr. and I had a rule that if i had to start taking breathing treatments (nebulizer, or updrafts.. called different things in different areas, every 2 hrs, then it was time for me to go to the hospital. I was what they called a "frequent flyer".. I actually started CRTT school, and became a respiratory therapist during all this!  The education I received really helped me manage my condition as best as possible.  Anyway, my Pulmonologist, basically said, I had no quality of life, and suggested that I go to National Jewish Center in Denver Co. a Hospital well known for its research in Asthma, and Immunology problems... There I surrounded by mostly 65 yr olds and up!  I can remember part of my PT (physical therapy) to try to increase my endurance, was whacking a balloon with a ping pong paddle, back and forth with the "old folks" lol, and I was out of breath as they were. They did every known test available at the time, PFT's , a laryngoscopy (while on a treadmill!!! (they stick a tube with a camera down your nose, into your airway, and watch what exercise does to you!) well my lungs twitched like mad, and I lost about 60% of my lung function, just exercising! The Dr.s basically said I was allergic to everything I ate, and breathed, allergy testing, and what they called a "fast track" desensitizing program (with baby size doses) would cause my arm to swell so bad I couldn't even bend my elbow... and several attempts later they put me into anaphylaxis! not once but 3 times!  So at that point they said there really wasn't anything they could do for me, the meds they had me on had my resting heart rate in the 150's! So they said no exercise over 2-3 minutes... They sent me home with medical records that said that all this wsn't psychosematic (not all in my head---yeah finally someone said there was real reasons for me to be so sick all the time.... They sent me home, basically to try to live out my life the best I could...there was nothing else they could do...I would probably end up on a vent by the time i was in my 30's and the chance of coming off it would be very poor. Anyway, sounds crazy, but I cried out to GOD, told him it was time to either take me home, so my kids could live without the fear of their mom is going to die every time i went into the hospital, or to "heal me"..... well, I cried this prayer for over 12 yrs prior to this time, and well.... I was 30 yrs old when I went to Colorado... they did nothing but prove there wasn't anything else the Doctors could do for me... I left, went back to the Houston area... and I have never NEVER been admitted to a hospital again for asthma, COPD or illness! I am now 45 yrs old, Have become a nurse, (still a CRTT)... I worked with people like me for yrs, and just recently changed over to working with special needs children, specializing in children that have to live on a ventilator, or have trachs, and other special needs.... I guess God wasn't through with me, when the Doctors gave up on me... He was ultimately in control.... Just a note, I still have a slight barrel chest, and I wheeze on occassion, and every now and then have to "hit my inhaler" (albuterol)... and I am so not use to having breathing problems now that I get a little freaked when I do... where as before I was what they called "compensated" I was so use to functioning on so little Oxygen, that nothing bothered me.. now I am a whimp.  So my friends, you just never know whats around the next corner! Hang in there. I know its very difficult, and few people understand the feelings of suffication, the frustrations that go along with low oxygen levels, = low energy, and low endurance.... Not to mention steroids, and there wonderful way of giving you a moon face (forget that... I had a pumpkin head!!  So good luck, and God Bless, and know that anything is possible.  CJ
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh I am so sorry, in telling you my story I forgot to tell you... There has been many studies about the smoking issue, and YES you need to quit, as soon as possible (I know easier said than done... most nurses, and respiratory therapist still smoke, knowing the risks involved!.... But, for every yr you stop,the more "time" you add to your life.... I can't remember the actual facts, but its like 5 yrs for every 1 yrs.... or another words, it totally helps, and yes even if some damage has already been done. Good luck in your attempt to quit, and can change your life... By the way, I have even held a cigarette to several peoples throats when they had a tracheostomy to breathe through!!!! Back in the day when they allowed patients to smoke!  So I know it must be an uphill battle to stop smoking... my sister a nurse, says she can't stop, and at least she will die happy! stress free, (yeah right) and she is jsut turning 40 (tomorrow!) and I know she has emphysema, and is in denial.   God Bless
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937826_tn?1261337479
just wanted to tell you I have chronic asthma and was diagonsed with copd when I was 39 years old now I am 40. I am on oxygen 5 liters for the rest of my life I cannot breathe without it my lungs are shot with copd and other things copd caused most of it but knowing that oxygen has to breathe for me and knowing that I have to breathe oxygen either by a mask or tubes up my nose scares me. but if it helps me to breathe then I have to live with it I just hope you never have to go on oxygen.
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Avatar_n_tn
have your doctor test you for anti trypsin defiencey that may be the reason for your copd emyphsema iam 46years old and thats what i was diagnosed with.take care from smles989
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885099_tn?1243550605
First I have to tell you Lynnkay that I am interested in taking on a quitting partner.  I have been trying to get my husband to do this with me and even a couple of friends, so we will have to stay in touch.  I will send you my # in a priv. mess!!

Debbie58, thank you for sharing your experience..that has given me food for thought for sure.

And Andyjean, I am so sorry to hear of your experience.  I have an idea of what you are living with.  My mother is 70 and was diagnosed with emphazema about 5 yrs ago and they had given her 3 yrs. to live.  She is on oxygen 24 hours now and shockingly is STILL smoking!
I wish she would stop or would have stopped.  It saddens me to see her this way, it is heartbreaking.

And nurseatrest1963 you are an inspiration to us all!  I do believe that our mind and faith play a very big role in every aspect of life.  You have an amazing story, a story of strength, courage and the will to live.  I cannot imagine how devestated you were to loose your ability to breath at such a very young age.  It must have been terrifying for you.  God is certaintly looking after you.  You had me laughing hysterical about the pumkin head!!
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Avatar_m_tn
hello to all...im 47  in 3 monthes..iu was diagnosed  with copp...i have had asthma all my life have smoked 30 yrs..i havent had mu pft till nest week the 22nd..my brething is impaired i get winded ..but i push myself  i do a cardio everyday in my place...the bad thing is im bipolar 1..among otheres!!!  also another whammy  im sevre sleep apnea..on bi pap  18/10 settings  and 5 lpm  of o2..only at sleeping..my o2 drops below 88% it was 3 weeks ago 63% but they cant tell how long..the total time  below 88% was 55 min..the mean was 93%....im having hypopneas===  shallow  breathing =-== low o2....so my pulmonary doc is taking the pft...then then i will see from there...its weird this came out of no were..i always been a bit winded but not my chest burning......i worry about the heart enlarging..cuz i dont know how long i been low o2  before the sleepo study 2 yrs ago,,,could have been  much time before that even...im on blood p meds 3...its controlled with 2 meds...im on advair 250/50 was on it about a yr ago..they say ever 12 hrs it works bu like every 12 hrs is way to long i need it every 8 hrs but dont...im on albuterol  as well..i just took a little walk..was ok but still could tell...i worry alot about the hypopneas as well for 1 thing i cant sleep over 4-5 hrs..and im unmedicated  with the bipolar due to brething problems..mu doc told mer it be alright..i have the fear of the meds stopping me into respatory distress.....thanks
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Avatar_f_tn
i have copd asthma chronic bronchitis and on oxygen i thought my conditions would take away what i loved!!! wrong a 19 yr old with grandmal seizures did that ( my nursing job) she had a seizure on the interstate and put me my daughter and mu neice in the hospital i am on oxygen  lots of meds and nebulizer treatments i have no curve left in my neck  bones spurs up and down my spine one bulging disk and one herinated pain up and down my legs headaches and all the painj and suffering with my health conditions i quit for 5 years and just like all i make excuses i just need to get back into my mind i have with drawals even when i smokeeeeeeeeee we sometimes take our life for granted and abuse our bodies because we dont think of the consequences in the long haul i have 5 beautiful grand babys and im 53 i was in denial for 4 yrs when i was fighting for disability the day i got it with binder and binder i cryed one for the denial ill never do  my job again and then because a man ( my husband adultrist) brought me to florida it popped in my head i can go home!!! but on the amount i get even with 4 quarters paid in to ss i dont get enough to live on u talk about depresseddddddd wellllll i got it alllllllll and im still missing my mother who passed away the day i called her death at 2:50 april the 18th she was my best friend and my mother who i loved dearly from copd if i die tomorrow the only regret ill have is i didnt win my battle, its hard to be away from my children and to have one lung and not able to fly is really hard i have my daughter here and with her new son my grandbaby its hard to leave here if she wont come i sooo want to move home but along with  her comes her own problems which i have to let go cause i have enough of my own  i  worked 18 yrs as a nurse paid my four quarters in and dont get enough to live on alone ***** in florida and still have to be supported by a man who torn out my heart , sooooooooooo we have people worse off then we are so i try to think postive because im still aliveeeeee and trying to quit allergic to chantix ( crazy thoughts doctor took me off) patches and gum build up  i  live on hives and benedryl so mayb some day ill be free all we can do is ask for help from family and ask god to take it away and remmeber u have with drawals even when u smokeeeeeeeeee  may god bless us all  
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757137_tn?1347200053
Why don't you start by cutting back on smoking? One trick - don't leave your cigarettes out in the open. So often you can reach for a cigarette without knowing you are doing it. If you put the pack in a drawer in another room you will only go for a cigarette when you really want one. In this manner you will immediately cut your smoking by one-third. The next thing to do is delay going for a cigarette - say 10 minutes. Then up it to 15. And so on. I have been doing this and am now down to less than one-third of my previous habit, and still improving.

Going cold turkey usually is unsuccessful because your body has no time to adjust.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,
I just read the series of posts with regard to your diagnoses and your plight to quit smoking.  I am 44 and was just diagnosed with emphysema. As soon as my Dr. read the CT Scan, he called me and said quit smoking.  He advised me that if I continued to smoke my emphysema would progress 3 times faster than if I quit.
I have a twelve year old son, who I cherish and adore and I so I quit cold turkey. I'll tell you my secret.  This might sound morbid, but trust me it works!  I invision myself in a casket and them closing the lid for good.   That snaps me right out of thinking I even want a cigarrette.  Good Luck and Best Wishes-LD9565
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Avatar_f_tn
AT WHAT AGE DO PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC BRONCHITIS DIE? MY MOTHER DIED AT 64YRS OLD AND HAVE NEVER SMOKED, NEVER EXPOSED TO CIGARRETTE SMOKE. SHE ONLY SNIFFS TOBACCO SOMETIMES.
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1516811_tn?1290658743
Hi all, I have been reading all your stories. Seems theres alot of support here for copd people, Well my story is, Im 36. I started lighting my parents smokes for them at 8, Yea, I know, I would never do that to my kids. Anyway, started getting my own at 9, Smoked every since. I have no other eason but smoking as my cause. I know what I did to myself. It ***** tho cause I dont know yet how bad the damage is to my heart, as I just started my tests, ultrasound, stress test next week cholesterol test when I schedule it, Often since this, I have had all kinds of thoughts about this, many nights crying to myself, How flippin depressing. however, Since I came here and read your stories, I know there is hope. If I quit now. I have been hurting for five years, I knew better, at times didnt care and when I did, I didnt have insurance. Now I do thank God, I will have the results of heart tests Middle of next month, 12/14 or so. Early emphasema and copd is what i got told today, other than the coughing and the shortness of breath my lungs dont hurt, its my heart that hurt, So I am so scared of this being worse, Cause dont think its normal to feel your heart 24/7. I am going to join this community, so I can give updates and maybe get some positive energy flowing. I didnt have a good support group out here, So I guess I just adopted you guys.  lol  
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1518141_tn?1290822755
Your honesty touched me deeply.  You say just what I feel.  I am 46, I have been diagnosed with lung nodules...4 years ago there was 1, now there are 3.  So, for 4 years, I've known I had something in my lung.  I know smoking irritates everything and I have continued to smoke.  Just lost a dear friend at 41 to cancer...I'm a FOOL.  But, it goes to show it is an ADDICTION and a powerful addiction.  My Christmas present to myself is to try and quit.  I don't want to die...but and I am also a pack and 1/2 smoker...with COPD and lung nodules.  Foolish to keep smoking.  One of my reasons was vanity..didn't want to gain too much weight....Well, what do I want?  To be skinny for a casket?.....Gaining weight is starting to be a non issue to me as I read all of these stories....maybe we can all gain weight together.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had whooping cough and measles at 6 months old. My parents thought I was born healthy and "normal" but when I got sick I never recovered and asthma symptoms from that cough remained. The lung problems worsened and one day I stopped breathing. And of course in the 70's my parents were both smokers and didn't think twice about smoking around me, indoors, in the cars and all the time. Whooping cough did some serious damage to the point of where they thought I had other issues like Cystic Fibrosis which I did not. By age 2 my lungs and veins collapsed and I was in a coma for over a month. They gave my parents the news I wouldn't likely live till age 4, if I did, maybe till 10. The fight was continuous and I was in and out of hospitals for the first 7 years regularly. The climate we lived in was moist and sawmills were very active. Mold was growing everywhere naturally and it was highly recommended they we move to the valley or a much drier climate. They took the warning and by age 7 it helped greatly. Unfortunately by the mid 80's my parents didn't make any connection to the 2nd hand smoke exposure which led to a full 19 years of indoor 2nd hand daily exposure. I'm 35 now and I have severe obstructive airway disease, reactive airway disease, air trapping and basically COPD. I don't get blood flow to the upper lobes and have a lot of scarring from bouts of pneumonia and tons of bronchitis. I never had a choice when it came to smoking, I did not smoke cigarettes directly. So for you to even question smoking or to ponder stopping completely boggles my mind if you have COPD. Do you want to live or extend your live or not?? I also have bullous emphysema due to the damage. There has been question whether or not I was born with a healthy set of lungs or not and the insurance companies fought over that in my early years. My point is your making a killer choice with your life. It's a choice I didn't have. Put the cancer causing things down. I've watched someone die in front of me from respiratory failure, it's one of the hardest ways to go. Don't put yourself or your kids through it. I have FEV1 of just 31% expected and the lungs of a 84 yr old. I can't fly anymore because if my lung bullae pops in air I won't make it to the ground. Put the smokes down, it really can't be that hard of a choice, be glad you have one, I didn't. And please, don't smoke anywhere near your kids. You have a filter, they don't.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I had a spontaneous pneumothorax in 1993 and last year I was diagnosed with COPD. Can the spontaneous pneumothorax be a result of this? I will be 40 next month, and have smoked since 1995. Thank you.
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