My father is 54 and was just diagnosed with moderate emphysema. He has been a heavy smoker for 35 years or more. Upon his diagnosis he quit smoking. Hes tried before but went back. I am confident he can stay off the cigarettes, but I am curious as to how fast emphysema typically progresses. Looking back I can remeber him being out of breath a little bit after running up stairs are other vigorous activity. Any answers or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
If he stays off the smokes, his progression of this disease should slow down significantly. The other important thing he needs to do is keep fit, do exercise to keep the chest wall fit. Progression speeds up in inactive people. Prognosis is hard because no two people are alike. If he is healthy otherwise and does the above, he could live a long life.
Teko is very right in what she told you. I am 52 and was diagnosed with moderate COPD in Oct. 07. So, exactly 2 yrs. ago I received the diagnosis of COPD. And I am still going. Like your father I smoked 35 yrs. And I am going to be totally honest here. I still struggle with smoking. Tried the Chantix twice to help me quit smoking. Both times Chantix had a very bad effect on me. So, that did not work for me. Now, recently I am going outside to smoke. And I have now cut my smoking in half. But, to quit smoking is the absolute best thing a person with COPD can do for themselves. Plus, as Teko suggested, your father needs to stay active as possible. Helps to build up the lungs etc. I too noticed the shortness of breath quite awhile before the diagnosis of COPD. I am not who I once was I will admit. But, I am still up and functioning in many ways. Being told that you have a disease is frightening. I know as I have experienced that fright as well. But, in time somehow you learn to accept it. If your father is otherwise healthy, eats properly, gets exercise and quits the smokes, then he can live a long time. I do try to eat healthy, I am pretty fit for a 52 yr. old, but I got to throw away the cigarettes I well know. I have even developed high blood pressure since the diagnosis of COPD. Another health issue, but honestly I am doing pretty good considering. Frankly, I think attitude plays an important role in any disease. I did not always have a good attitude about having COPD. I admit that. But, I am learning that a good attitude helps in so many ways. I am a 20 yr. cancer survivor. Then, 2 yrs. ago I got handed another disease diagnosis of COPD. I was depressed, angry and in denial when told I had COPD. I just have learned to adapt to it is all I know. I have days I feel good. Other days not so good. I just have learned to pace myself. And enjoy the days that I feel good. I handled the cancer and I am still here. Just the way I intend to face and look at the COPD.
I know you are going through a hard and scary time over your father. My heart truly goes out to you and your father right now. Two months before my diagnosis of COPD, I lost my mother at the age of 69. She had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. There is no hope for that lung disease. Life expectancy is 5 yrs. Our only hope was a lung transplant. Which Momma did receive. But, the lung rejected and she passed away 4 months after the lung transplant. Then, about 6 months before I was diagnosed, my only sibling a brother, was also diagnosed with COPD. My sweet Momma was never a smoker. So, it is apparent to me, that lung disease is hereditary in our family. My brother was about 46 at the time of his COPD diagnosis. Things happen that sometimes we just cannot understand in life I know. I have been where you and your father currently are a number of times. I wish I had more answers for you, other than my own personal experiences. Many great people are on MedHelp. If and when you need any of us, we are always more than glad to listen, give advice or just let you vent. Having a good pulmonary doctor is also a great benefit for your father. At the first sign of a chest cold or upper respiratory infection, your father should see his doctor and get an antibiotic to treat these type things. That also is very important with COPD. I am just running through my mind, the things I can tell you, that will help your father.
I am truly wishing you and your father the very best outcome on this. It just takes time, to let a diagnosis such as COPD sink in. God Bless you and your father.
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