Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
My father is having trouble breathing
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My father is having trouble breathing

My father is 77 years old. He stopped smoking cigarettes about 20 years ago. However he smokes marijuana because he says it is the only thing that makes him feel better. He is now having trouble breathing. Even talking leaves him out of breath. It has been progressively getting worse over the last year or so. He is also having trouble sleeping through the night and he frequently loses his balance. He will not go to the doctor to get diagnosed. From what I have read it sounds like emphysema. Can you give me a guess on how long he might have without treatment if he continues on the way he is now?
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What you are describing may be emphysema, but it also could be some other respiratory problem.  It is impossible to give you any accurate advice without having more information, such as lung function tests, possibly a chest x-ray.  It is not uncommon for seniors to want to avoid seeing a physician when they are ill.  They are generally afraid of being told they have something serious.  However, without seeing a physician, there is little opportunity to make this condition better. I would recommend trying to gently convince your father to see a doctor.
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Your father is refusing to seek medical help. Gently help him to do the this breathing exercise and it will make him comfortable and help him sleep.  
- Deep Breath-in through left nostril keeping right nostril closed
then  - Breath-out through right nostril keeping left nostril closed
then   -Deep Breath-in through right nostril keeping left nostril closed
then   - Breath-out through left nostril keeping right nostril closed
and repeat this cycle for upto 15 minutes. Maximum 3 times day.
--
Start slowly for a few minutes and then increase to 15 minutes over 2 weeks.
Please come back to say how he is getting on.
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