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Life-limiting illness

Doctor thinks I may have copd

21 replies

Tillylils · 23/01/2016 19:11

Hello, I know that this probably won't help but I'm really hoping someone might be able to put my mind at rest.
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 20 which until 2 years ago was well controlled. 2 years ago I developed a cough after I'd had a cold. I've had the cough ever since. It is a productive cough. I have been to my gp about it, I was sent for a chest xray which came back clear so it was put down to asthma.
I saw the doctor on Thursday and mentioned my cough and she thinks it may be an overlap of asthma and copd. I had a chest xray yesterday and am waiting for a spirometry test which I think will confirm one way or another.
I'm so worried, I know it doesn't mean I'm going to die for a while, but it is going to shorten my life. I'm 38 now so I'm guessing I'll die in my 50s or 60s. I just hope that it's just the asthma.
Thanks for reading this, I don't have anyone to talk to as I don't want to worry my family.

OP posts:
LadyLuck81 · 23/01/2016 19:22

I'm sorry you've had the diagnosis. It's not pleasant. My dad had COPD. He survived to 64 despite continuing to smoke. If he'd listened to the doctors earlier and sorted out his exercise and quit they reckon he'd have done much better.

If you live a pretty healthy lifestyle, follow the guidance etc etc then in my (limited) experience you should have many many good years ahead of you.

Before he passed away dad and I spent a lot of time looking at possible new treatments. If you are young and otherwise healthy could you look at what is new and maybe volunteer to trial? There were articles about early development of stem cell treatment etc which were looking promising.

It was the British lung foundation that supported dad most. If you need to get in touch with others in a similar position could you try there to start.


Tillylils · 23/01/2016 20:13

Thank you so much for replying and I'm so sorry about your dad.
I haven't actually had a diagnosis yet so there's still hope. I have thought about trials actually. A friends dad died of prostate cancer but he had been on a trial which they think may have given him an extra few years.
If you don't mind me asking how old was your dad when he was diagnosed?

OP posts:
Memom · 23/01/2016 20:41

Please don't think your days are numbered, my mom has copd has done for many years. She is 72 and still going strong, she has medication and sees the consultant regularly. She does have bad spells and has been taken to hospital a few times but each time that has been due to GP prescribing wrong medication. She drives, takes care of all the housework etc etc. I know she is a fortunate copd patient but it isn't all gloom. Keep well xx

NotJanine · 23/01/2016 20:41

Not sure how relevant this is, but I have a relative with COPD who is in their mid 70s. Was mis-diagnosed as asthma a long time ago.

LadyLuck81 · 23/01/2016 20:53

Tilly I think he was first diagnosed in his late forties. He didn't let anyone know for a while hence the uncertainty. His foolishness with the continued smoking didn't help, otherwise the healthcare professionals were fairly optimistic he could have managed quite well for a long time.

Fingers crossed for you it's not diagnosed though.

eightytwenty · 23/01/2016 21:34

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Annarose2014 · 23/01/2016 21:39

I have plenty of patients very old with COPD. 70s...80s....

Every case is different but the one thing thats important is excercise. Its the first thing people stop doing as they're breathless and coughing, but its the main thing that helps.

Home nebulisers are fantastic too.

IamTheWhoreofBabylon · 23/01/2016 21:41

I have the same symptoms as you and went for spirometry and was given the all clear for COPD
In fact my lung function tests were better than expected for my age
I just cough and produce a lot of mucus, grim
I use a netI pot twice daily to clear my sinuses and find I improve with exercise

Tillylils · 23/01/2016 22:14

Thanks for your replies everyone, I am starting to feel a bit better.
I know there are older people with copd but then I'm assuming they were diagnosed later in life. I'm guessing I would have 20-30 years if I looked after myself.
Eightytwenty, that was the reason I had gone to the doctors, I thought that might be what I have, but she didn't think so. But what you're describing sounds just like me. I sneeze all of the time and although I feel well, people are always saying I sound like I have a cold.

OP posts:
eightytwenty · 24/01/2016 23:33

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SnowBodyforrrrm · 24/01/2016 23:44

tilly I'm really sorry you're going through an anxious wait.

I know how it feels as I was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year at 28. I went on bloody Dr Google despite all the advise not to, and found the median survival rate for people with my tumour was about 10-15 years. I was devastated. I got so down. But what the facts and figures online didn't tell me, was that most people diagnosed with my type of tumour were much older, so therefore those survival rates weren't really relevant to me. I didn't see it that way until someone from a brain tumour charity told me after I contacted them in utter despair.

Though our cases are completely different, I'm sure the same could be said of COPD. My mum was diagnosed in 2007 aged 50, and she's doing well.

I really hope it turns out you don't have COPD, but if it does, please try and remember you are a good bit younger and therefore stronger then most who are diagnosed with it, so those stats probably aren't relevant to you either Flowers

SnowBodyforrrrm · 24/01/2016 23:45

And for what it's worth, my mums symptoms don't sound like yours. She felt dreadful for a longtime before her diagnosis.

DancingDinosaur · 24/01/2016 23:45

I think you can still have a good life expectancy if its caught early enough.

KramerVSKramer · 17/02/2016 13:44

My father has chronic COPD caused by years of tobacco abuse which he had no option but to stop. He's also a heavy drinker and this seems to cause more breathlessness.

He has a chest infection frequently and takes steroids and antibiotics daily when infected. He drinks throughout, and when off work will also drink at lunch as well as the evening.

His intake is circa 3 pints lager at lunch, 4/5 evening and then a bottle of red wine at home.

He is 63. Does little exercise but isn't overweight. He drinks his calories I suppose but does have high cholesterol and unhealthy liver function as you'd imagine. What would you say his life expectancy is.


whenwillisleepagain · 20/02/2016 11:50

tilly sorry you are going through this - if you look further down this part of the website, I posted around New Year, as some of my medical history is similar to yours, and all autumn it was thought that my asthma was less well controlled than before. It now seems I may have COPD, but I am at the stage of tests, referrals etc. I have ended up feeling more positive, particularly I have to say as one of the GPs at my practice, and the practice nurse who does the lung stuff, have been great and so caring. Over the last few weeks I've had an alarming few days (getting a phone call a few hours after a chest x ray, to say could I go back for a CT scan), then told I may have COPD, then that I didn't following spirometry, and now that I might again. I have also, I feel, taken several steps to try and get control - resuming running with good results; investigating swimming tuition as I'm told front crawl is the best lung workout. So I really endorse what's said about exercise, even based on less than two months of restarting it. Next I have a repeat chest x ray, more spirometry, and referral to a hospital team. I did google myself silly at first, but I think the progression of this condition can be slowed greatly, and being told you have it at a younger than average age, is on the one hand anxiety-provoking, but on the other, I think better to know and to get onto it. But I quite accept that I've had a couple of months now to mull this over and that you are in a different place. Wishing you well.

SummerRain · 17/05/2016 12:19

Tilly I'm going through the same atm. Waiting on test results to confirm but my gp is convinced it's COPD.

No asthma in my case... I'm a smoker though so I suppose I've brought it on myself. COPD at 32 seems a bit of an extreme punishment for light smoking though Hmm

matina9112 · 02/08/2021 15:20

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purplesequins · 02/08/2021 15:26

my fil had copd diagnosed in his 40s.
he died of cancer (unrelated) in his late 70s.

treatment is more or less the same as for asthma.

I agree with pp, exercise for the lungs is vital. singing or a brass instrument help with strengthening the diaphragm.
and cardio exercise.

good luck!

purplesequins · 02/08/2021 15:27

argh - spammer bumping zombie thread...

Idontbelieveit14 · 08/08/2021 23:18

My grandma had COPD, she wasn’t told until she was 79 but was on her records from years before, she had thought it was just asthma! Anyway, she died at 79 from something completely unrelated

matina69 · 26/09/2021 19:41

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