I recently had a chest xray. My symptoms were a few coughs in a row several times per hour, tight congestion on chest, foul tasting sputum from my chest when I cough, tiredness, soreness in chest and sometimes in lower right back. The results of the xray were COPD, emphysema. I was told by my doctor to stop smoking. I have never had a cigarette to my lips in my life. She then said there is nothing I can do about the COPD since I do not smoke. I have never been around second hand smoke except for the last year or two. My son stuffs things around his door so the smoke doesn't come through but it still escapes a little. I use air cleaners downstairs. He constantly sneaks smokes even though I forbid him to smoke in the house. My brother died 4 years ago at age 52 of sarcoidosis. At his death he was on oxygen 24/7 and could hardly breathe. I am 59, by the way. Could the results of my xrays be more sarcoidosis and not COPD or emphysema? Would sarcoid show as COPD? Please advise about minimal exposure to smoke and also, more importantly, the issue of sarcoidosis.
The chest x-ray findings of emphysema/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) would not be confused with those of sarcoidosis, although varying degrees of fibrosis are evident in the chest x-rays of people in the end stages of either disease.
Any amount of cigarette, or any other, smoke can cause significant harm to those with advanced COPD.
If your doctor truly said, "there is nothing I can do about the COPD since I do not smoke", you should consult with another doctor, preferably a lung specialist.
There are a number of good, effective, long-acting inhaled medicines capable of relieving the symptoms of COPD. You may be a candidate for continuous oxygen. And, you would almost certainly benefit from participation in a pulmonary rehabilitation program, at a large nearby hospital or clinic.
Since you have severe COPD at the age of 59, and never smoked, it raises the suspicion that you, and quite possibly your son, might have the inherited form of emphysema called, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. The diagnosis can be confirmed by a blood test and you should request that that test be done when you see a lung specialist.
Emphysema is not reversible, but it is definitely treatable.
Thank you for your reply. I think this site is wonderful and I am so appreciative to have found it. One thing though. I do not have severe COPD as you imagined. The xray showed early signs of COPD. Also what my doctor said was people who do not smoke cannot do anything about having early signs of COPD. Would your suggestions differ under the circumstances? Thanks again.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.