Emphysema : Sorry my anxiety has beaten... - Lung Conditions C...

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bryan45735 profile image

Sorry my anxiety has beaten me, I read alot where people have given up smoking then 20, 30 years later they have emphysema so how is this I was told by a number of doctors and most blf nurses that I shouldn't worry what hasn't happened yes I understand that but when you get told that, that won't be me you may never need an inhaler my chest xrays are normal, my fev1 was 93% 3 years ago I quit smoking there and then at 44 years old, my nan and dad had emphysema and died but they both carried smoking so you can understand how I feel I'm told I will not get much worse I smoked heavy for 31 years, I was a paint sprayer for 8 years, a welder for 7 years I worked with fiberglass for 5 years and various chemical and professionals say im lucky I was told I would probably never get emphysema with the spirometry like that

Sorry for all my recent posts just confused 😕

17 Replies
Damon1864 profile image

No need to apologize but please keep posting, we all would like to know how you are doing. Have a good night and take care 😊 Bernadette and Jack 🐕 xxxxxx 🌻🌻

Hi Bryan. We all know that some days are worse than others so hopefully tomorrow will feel better. Take care of yourself as the confusion settles and keep in touch.


At the risk of making the situation worse rather than better, no one can tell you based off spirometry that you’ll never get COPD. To the best of my knowledge and understanding, it just doesn’t work like that, not unless they’re psychic. But, it is very true to say that not all smokers get COPD, even very heavy smokers with family history: it may play a part in someone’s likelihood of developing it, but it’s not currently considered an inherited condition, only that having a relative who develops it may potentially elevate your own risk. Maybe. Equally, there are a good number of people that develop it that have never smoked or been around smokers. My mum stopped smoking 32 years ago, age 34, having started as a young teen, and only began having symptoms of a lung problem about 4 years ago. Her mum smoked 40 a day from age 15 to age 65 and was romping around Newcastle into her 80s without a hint of breathlessness. My friend was a purely social smoker down the pub on a Friday and Saturday and developed copd age 40. I have a friend aged 75 who has smoked her whole life, and who is absolutely fine. No hint of a lung problem, pretty impressively physically fit, but her dad died from emphysema in his 50s. There is simply no accurate way to predict who will get it and who won’t, family history or no. If there was, there would be people making money off it. That’s the way the modern world works.

Your previous spirometry was pretty good. Your peak flow is good now, and from what I personally understand about lung disease, not typical of someone breathless the way you describe due to having COPD. If repeat spirometry would properly solve this, either by reassuring you that your lungs remain ok, or in fact proving that the doctors you’ve seen so far are wrong, perhaps you really need to consider a private appointment. I realise not everyone is in the position to afford one (I’m still trying to save enough to see and get tests with a cardiologist privately), but unless something changes, or your GP changes their mind and decides to do one, I just can’t see any other way that you’re going to be able to move on in this situation. And one way or another, Bryan, you need to be able to move on and make the most of life without the constant worry of is it or isn’t it hanging over you. If it turns out it isn’t, though, albeit with the caveat that I’m not medically qualified, my own experiences and understanding would say that dysfunctional breathing, anxiety, and reflux/hernia related issues would explain your current symptoms.

Clanger profile image
Clanger in reply to Charlie_G

If I were you Charlie_G I would keep fit and exercise a lot because that’s the first thing that will keep emphysema away for longer if you get it at all. I do wish I had started exercising when I was diagnosed. I wouldn’t be like I am now. Nearly dead I feel. I also got anxiety and that totally ruined my life. I’ve spent years indoors too scared to go out my own door. It’s horrible.

Sorry to hear u r struggling.Just think - the drs cant lie to u,the xrays and spirometry are normal.

You have a diagnosis - dysfunctional breathing

Yr anxiety is the problem and the thoughts it triggers ,not the drs or the test results.

It is very hard 4u.just keep on with the help u r receiving x

Hi Bryan, 👋😊

I have read many of your posts in the past and have not replied to many because I do not really know how to help. I think you have a serious case of health anxiety which is very closely linked with obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. I understand that this condition is very crippling and can be disabling causing serious disruption in the lives of those who suffer from it. It really is a silent epidemic and frustrating for those who don't understand it like family and friends. In the old days people with health anxiety were put down as hypochondriacs, but not now. It has gained recognition in recent years as a mental health issue. I am no expert but I will tell you , you are not alone. I would definitely seek therapy for your condition and perhaps contact the organisations below. They have ideas and suggestions to help.



You definitely need specific help and the right people who know what you are going through.

Very best wishes,

Cas 🌼

garshe profile image
garshe in reply to Caspiana

I totally agre with your reply Cas. I suffered health anxiety but have now overcome it. I learned to control it and now my life is so much better and I dont get the attacks and thoughts. Hope you and Chom are well . Take care Sheila xx 🐕🎎⚘💕

Caspiana profile image
Caspiana in reply to garshe

We are very we thank you Sheila. Just had a four mile walk since it is cool and not humid. Thank you for asking. I hope you are well too. Much love. xx ♥️

garshe profile image
garshe in reply to Caspiana

Going to hospital today for oxygen assessment. It's on top of my vision board that I wont need to be put back on oxygen.. getting in the right frame of mind and thinking Positive thoughts. Have to remember not to rush the long walk down the corridor to the exam room. The consultation room is the furthest room from the entrance. I swear they intentionally use this room to get us to walk before the test.

Also must not talk too much to Katrina the oxygen nurse whilst walking. .🙊 save it for when I am. sitting down , that won't be easy as I love talking to people l.ol

Great you have been out walking with Chom

We are still looking for a puppy for my Granddaughter, she wants a Maltipoo very hard to find right one. We will find him when we are meant to. Lots of love xxSheila 🐕🎎💕⚘

Caspiana profile image
Caspiana in reply to garshe

Sheila you must not talk or use any unnecessary energy before your test. 🙂 And no full tummy. Makes it harder as you probably know. I really hope it goes well. Do let us know. xx ♥️

garshe profile image
garshe in reply to Caspiana

We are going for lunch after appointment. Only had Banana to eat. Going early to sit in waiting room by entrance so I can meditate and be calm. I will be well rested before I do the walk. Thanks. Will let you know xxSheila 🤞🙏💕⚘

Caspiana profile image
Caspiana in reply to garshe


I agree with Cas. as well. Very sound thoughts/suggestions. I wish you the best!


I can understand your concerns , worrying how your past employment history may have affected your lungs .I was brought up in the days of coal fires , a permanently pipe smoking father , then I smoked for a while …..and breathed in asbestos fibres at home . Nothing I can do about that.

All I can do is try and accept it ……

Claire Weekes said try and ‘ float ‘ through an anxious patch …..don’t feed anxiety with more fear hormones ……just float . The fear reaction will start to fade if you don’t feed it with more fear.

Easier said than done , I know .

When I climb the stairs and get breathless , I try not to get too scared of the breathlessness ….then I don’t feed the fear.

Remember gentle gentle nose breathing to warm and filter the air and help prevent hyperventilation .

Can you ask your GP for advice or a referral to help reset your breathing pattern and for your anxiety ?

Keep posting , it helps to write about your worries , and realise you are not alone .

Best wishes .

Good morning Bryan 45735 No need to apologise we all support each other here. Yes lung disease is a worrying situation and I was the same as you at the beginning nearly 3 years ago. I also had contact with chemicals on odd occasions in my job for 20 years. And also when my company was closing down I got the job of burning old invoices for a week in a chemical factory which had to be controlled and was very smoky at times but I never thought it would affect me doing it for a week. But reading people's posts on here with copd you soon learn that you can live with the condition and keep it at bay. I am presently doing a Pulmonary rehabilitation course which the majority of people says helps them. So perhaps think about doing that. And give you some belief and self confidence. Take care Brian

Fear can cripple you!! I am not going to tell you what to do ..

Hello Bryan,

I am one of those people who were diagnosed with Emphysema 30 years after giving up smoking. I went down hill really quickly after a nasty chest infection when I was at a very low ebb - up to then I had no symptoms, although I must have had it for some years.

6 years on, I am still living a normal life, albeit with breathlessness, with no obvious progression. My mum had COPD having smoked into her fifties and lived until she was 94, swimming regularly in the sea until into her mid eighties.

I believe it is important to keep as fit as possible to fight this nasty condition - I swim 50 lengths generally twice a week , I walk a lot, eat well etc. I love life and intend to do all I can for as long as I can and not let my condition rule my life. I am not my condition.

So my advice would be, even if you do have it, you can maybe slow down the progression by doing all you can do to keep fit and healthy - both mentally and physically. Anxiety is our enemy, positivity is the way to go.

I hope you remain fine, but many of us who have COPD are still living good lives.

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