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Mother with COPD and 40% Lung capacity
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Mother with COPD and 40% Lung capacity

Hello all, last friday my mother (58) sat down with me and told me she had COPD with 40% lung capacity left. I wasn't really aware what COPD was so I obviously went and read everything I could on the subject. My mom smoked for a good number of years probably from when she was 20 to 48 however has been smoke free for the last 10 years. I guess my real question is how long could I expect my mother to live under ideal conditions? I realize that this is a very hard question to answer for each patient can be different but in generalities what could I expect. I'm really terrified about the whole ordeal and was planning on taking a job that potentially would remove me from her proximity and not sure if I should do that now. Also my wife and I were planning on waiting a few more years until we have children however now I am re-thinking that aspect also. If worse comes to worse can they just do a lung transplant? Or is this something difficult to obtain, or too risky? Any help or information is greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,

The best person to answer your question is the doctor evaluating your mom.
I’m not sure what you mean by the 40%, there are several volumes estimated in planning treatment for COPD.
As to the question of survival, you are correct that it would be difficult to answer as any severe infection may cause demise. In general if your mother is in the stable phase, studies in this group of patients show about a 1-2% mortality risk at one year.
Lung transplantation is generally reserved for patients that have failed medical treatment but are still likely to tolerate the surgery. It may be too early to discuss this.
Try to find out if she would require oxygen supplementation, because this has been shown to improve survival outcomes. Most of the other treatments would generally improve symptoms and quality of life.
I cannot answer if you should take the job you are thinking of, exacerbations of respiratory symptoms do occur, it would be very difficult to guess how often she would have such attacks, but in general within a 3 month period – one attack is not unusual. Each subsequent attack would not necessarily mean it would be more critical than the previous one (there would be mild attacks and severe attacks) – but there is a gradual decline in lung function expected over time – so in general there is a trend to poorer recovery over time.
Hope this helped.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello my name is marsha I also have copd (severe)I DONT NO HOW LONG YOUR MOM HAS HAD IT,ITS  REALLY HARD YOU FEEL TIRED DEPRESSED AFTER A WHILE ITS HARD FOR ME TO WALK FROM ONE ROOM TO ANOTHER,i HAVE A WALKER WITH A SEAT ON IT AND I ALSO HAVE A WHEEL CHAIR MY KIDS CAN TAKE ME TO THE DOLLAR STORES AND ANY OTHER PLACE THAT DONT HAVE THE SCOOTERS.THE HEAT IS REAL BAD TO GO OUT IN IF YOU GO OUTSIDE AND THE POLLEN IS HIGH SHE NEEDS TO TAKE A BATHE AND WASH HER HAIR OR SHE WILL HAVE BREATHING PROBLEMS,IF NOT ALREADY SHE WILL NEED HELP TAKING A SHOWER.THE HOT OR WARM WATER WILL MESS UP HER BREATHING.I HOPE I HAVE HELPED YOU SOME ON WHAT TO EXPECT.          
                                      MARSHA
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Avatar_n_tn
My husband is 47 years old and He was just diagnosed with COPD he only has 40% of lungs left. They have him on Spiriva and Symbicort. I have been reading up on this . But my question is has  either one of you started retaining fluid .Feet, well really the whole body is swelling up. The doctor seems like they are other problems some where else causing it like Heart, Liver, or Kidneys. We do not have money to see a pulmonary Doctor. Do you no if  swelling goes along with this disease.
Thanks  Darlene
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Avatar_m_tn
My husband has COPD as well.  However, doctors any prescribe drugs as an inhaler (short and long term). Howeve I do did research as to what cold help and continue so doing.   One product that I have come across is Pulmosmoothe- natural herbal supplement. This product has reducted the number of times my husband hits his inhalers.  I know our systems are different, but it has helped him breathe much easier.  You can research the item at http://www.pulmosoothe.com/   It is has a money back guarantee.  Check it out. I hope it works for your mom as well.  What has worked best for him was  (Advair, Albulterol, Atrovent, Lasik and Potassium to balance water loss in preventing leg cramps)  What we can't see is the build up of liquid in the lungs and tissues.  Since he has been taking the Pulmosmoothe, he says it has made a great difference.  And as a result he does not have to use his inhalers as often and has notice that he goes to the bathroom more frequent without the aide of the lasik.  But ask I tell everyone do the research and decide for yourself.   shytree
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Avatar_f_tn
My mum has had COPD for the last 13 years, she is 67 but recently the medical insurance insisted she be seen by a specialist and a report submitted to them if they where going to supply her new medication.  My sister arranged this for her and the specialists asked for a consult with my sister who is a nurse and told us that mum has pretty much no lung capacity left, that she has the beginings of renal problems, and we should prepare for the worst now.  My confusion is mum flew out to stay with me for the last 6 months (before the specialists diagnosis) and while she was not able to do much she seemed well enough.  She is on pumps and  was on ventilator 2 x a day and in fact seemed much better in the Canadian climate than in the SAfrican humidity.  She is anorexic and did not pick up weight with me and couldnt eat much but she was keeping her food down and by the end of the visit was able to go to the mall and get out and about, not with much energy but a vast improvment from when she arrived, she even cut back on some of her medications.  
Mums medicine has now been changed and increased.  We where asked to get things in order with the medical aid for pre approval for hospital admitance, which we have done.  It just seems so sudden and so extreme, she is not on oxygen yet.  My sister and the specialists feel that it would not be good for mum mentally to be told how severe she is as she is depressed and is on medication for anxiety attacks, and that telling her might cause her to give up.  I was wondering though if she went on a special diet and exercise physiotherapy whether it might help at all at this stage?  Surely she can't have so little time left if they havent got her on oxygen, she complains that even though she is on new and more pumps and ventilator that it is not helping, mum is totally inactive and cant do anything.
Should I be buying tickets to fly to SAfrica, mum returned home only 3 months ago?, mum has been ill for a long time, could she be in this stage for another few years? I am not really sure how to plan.  What does anytime mean?
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Avatar_f_tn
With good luck, and if she takes good care of herself, she could still live a long time.   The fact that she stopped smoking 10 years ago is very good, and it helps her chances.  I say that she could live "a long time," because no one knows how long anyone is going to live.  It is best to live each day, take it as it comes, and enjoy it as a priviledge.  

The personal decisions that you have to make are just that, personal decisions.  Maybe this diagnosis is making you realize that life is short and precious, but that was always the case.  As far as your career and having kids, you should do what you and your wife want to do, but it is hard to see how choosing to stay close to a loved one would be a mistake.  

If your mother feels strongly about having grandchildren, I wouldn't have kids just to please someone else, but then there are lots of reasons to consider having your kids while you and your wife are still young.  So if it does not make that much difference to you and your wife, then maybe go ahead and have your kids.  

But if you or your wife, either one, feel strongly about waiting, then maybe it is better to wait.  A whole lot depends on how your wife feels about things.  You don't want to put her in a situation where she feels that her mother-in-law (or you) forced her into giving up a career, for instance.  If your wife changes her mind about waiting to have kids, she needs to want to do it on her own, and she shouldn't feel coerced into it because her mother-in-law was dying.

God bless you, your mother, your wife, and all your family.
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Avatar_f_tn
My sister was diagnosed with copd several years ago & has 40% lung function. She has continued to smoke, is deeply depressed, is on oxygen 24/7, sleeps most of the time, has trouble breathing, bad swelling in her legs, & more. She has been hospitalized many times in the last 4 years with the most recent being the worst. Her Co2 level was very high & we almost  lost her. She only has a few of us to help her & I'm at the point I don't know what to do for her anymore. I know no one can tell me how long she will live but it would help us more if I understood this awful disease & life expectancy. I have wondered if she is near death & do I need to make sure all her affairs are in order. Such a confusing, frustrating thing. Would love input!
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