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COPD at 32

I am a 32-year-old female.  i have never considered myself a full-fledged smoker as I only smoke socially and never regularly, so I have never consistently disclosed my cigarette smoking history to my treating physicians.  I have recently (within the past couple of weeks) decided to quit for good after getting a good scare about the reality that I've been smoking for about fifteen years.  

I went to my pcp today due to a second bought with shortness of breath in a month.  I relayed my fears about COPD /emphysema and he ordered a pulmonary function test.  I am still in shock and so upset because the testing showed a "very slight obstruction."  my FEV1% is 76.  My pcp explained that normal, or no obstruction, is 79 or greater.  He told me not to worry, that as long as I quit smoking, it won't progress and may even improve.  He didn't order any therapy other than smoking cessation.  I'm terrified that my life is over and at such a young age.  I've been doing some research and a diagnosis of this at my age seems rare.  Perhaps I should be tested for the genetic variant?  Any and all advice or words of wisdom would be much appreciated.  Also, does anyone know whether a PFT conducted without the administration of bronchodialators are even valid diagnostic tools for COPD?  I wasn't given bronchodialotrs.

Thank you,
3 Responses
Avatar universal

Im 28. My PFT readings are similar to yours. My fev1 was 76% without bonchodilator and 79% after. I too was told by my pulmonologist that I have mild obstruction. No medication required but should quit smoking. My doctor also told that this obstruction will reverse partially. Have you stopped smoking yet? Dont worry about the diagnosis too much. Most people's fev1 improve after quitting cigarettes, but the degree of improvement I believe is unpredictable. So its technically still possible for us to reach the 80% fev1 mark ( or even more) and live like you never had COPD.

Hope that was helpful.
Avatar universal
Hi.  Thanks very much for your response.  I have stopped smoking - I haven't smoked a cigarette in about two weeks.  That's the thing that's puzzling to me, though - I've never been a regular smoker and very often would go weeks, sometimes months, without smoking.  May I ask you, just to gain some perspective, how much you smoked and for how many years?  What made your doctor order a PFT?  I suppose all my years of "social smoking" have finally caught up with me, but I'm also aware that some individuals in their 40s and beyond who smoke at least a half a pack a day or more never get this diagnosis.  What is your treatment plan?  Did your physician just tell you to stop smoking and then order a repeat test in four to six months?  How are you dealing with the news of your diagnosis?  Have you told anyone?  I have been very fortunate up until this point that I have been completely healthy, and now, of course, I am kicking myself for ever having smoked at all and am ashamed at this self-imposed condition...Thanks in advance
Avatar universal
I've messaged you.
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