British Lung Foundation
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Hi everyone ive been suffering now for 3 years and im left confused and dont no what to do or think Ive been admitted 3 times in hospital

For severe chest infections ...had chest infections every so often ..been to docs countless times 2 docs are convinced i have copd ..but cant complete spiro test makes me cough seen a consultant he said off a scan i have stage 1 emphasema so its mild im on sabutamol seretide a flutter device and had rehabilitation at chest clinic ..i have a constant cough i have flem all day on my chest im breathless and ive had the flu 4 times so far in which two times they turned into chest infections had them march got over it with antibiotics and steroids got over that had another one the next month which was april seen my doc and still have no diagnosis for copd ???? Im very frustrated as they all say sounds like copd as well as emhasema ... But wont diagnose it as i cant complete spiro ..have i got copd i think i have as ive got all these problems and symptoms can anyone help ??

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12 Replies

Hi Zoe, copd is either chronic bronchitis or emphysema, or a combination of both. As the doc has said you have stage 1 emphysema, then you do have copd! The rest of your symptoms sound like chronic bronchitis. When you have a lot of phlegm I think you are more likely to get chest infections. Libby

PS You can call the BLF helpline between 10 and 6 mon to fri on 03000 030 555, where you will be able to talk to someone about your concerns.

Hi libby thank u for answering this is why im confused the consultant said i have emyphasema but not copd ...i asked the doc and she said u can have copd plus emyphasema ...the copd is also used as a umberalla term just so confused they have a copd nurse at docs and since been diagnosed with emph ive not seen her once ive just been left to get on with it .....

Hi Zoe, no wonder you're confused. It's unbelievable that a consultant would say that! I'd make an appointment to see the copd nurse at your gp's and speak to her about it.

Below is an extract taken from a blog a few months ago, written by Mark of the BLF which may clarify things a bit for you.

"COPD is the occurrence of chronic bronchitis or emphysema - a pair of commonly co-existing diseases of the lungs which causes the airways to narrow over time. This causes shortness of breath.

COPD is defined by it's characteristically low air flow - spirometry used to measure the airflow - the low air flow is not reversible and gets worse over time. Whereas with asthma the restriction/low air flow is reversible.

Asthma and COPD are two different conditions - some people with COPD also have some asthmatic compenent - but people with asthma do not have COPD. Someone with asthma for many years can find that the reversible aspect of their asthma becomes less and less, and the damage to the airways more permanent - and this permanent damage is very similar to that found in COPD - which is why some people with asthma are told they have progressed to COPD, when perhaps the more accurate term is fixed airways disease"

Hi ther that was really good to read ....i just keep thinking well surley if i cant complete spuro cause it makes me caugh then that shud tell them something surley they now if i keep having chest infections and breathlessness ..... I had to change my daughter skool as the walk killled me id be gasping for breath ... And they wouldnt of given me these inhalers snd flutter device and rehabilition .......i think i may have to change docs because u dont always get in with ur doc theres ten there and some say one thing and others say another ........ I lost my appeal too because consultant and doc are saying i have empasema but not copd ..... Im lost !!!!!!!!!

Hi, I was diagnosed 3 years ago with asthma and sinusitis and as I result I've had numerous chest and bronchial infections - who has the closest violin please? I am so happy to at understand via this forum that the cramps are a side affect of the medication!

I have found acupuncture (and natropathy) "extremely" beneficial 0 supported by my GP. Not all acupunture specialists are good and I have seen a few. As a result my immune system progressively is getting stronger, I am less reliant on GP visits, less reliant on antibioitics and steroids. Overall I'm spending less money and feeling stronger.

Some tests are evil.

When I had whooping cough they gave me a sort of asthma trigger test and being asthmatic plus having whooping cough I honestly don't want to even try and describe what the test did. Whooping cough left me with a psychological phobia of coughs, but I admit that wasn't the fault of the test.

best wishes


Hi zoe118

As Libby has so rightly said COPD is emphysema/chronic bronchitis - COPD is the umbreall a term. Stage 1 mild COPD can be generally very well controlled through your GP and COPD nurse. We would suggest giving your nurse a call and booking an appointment to see her - write a list of questions before you go so you can ask her. We are also here to help answer any questions and offer support - 03000 030 555.

We also have a very good COPD pack we can send out to you which has lots of very useful information in when you have been diagnosed with COPD, to get this either give us a call on the number above or e mail us at



Hi Zoe like you I was confused , as well just felt neglected by my Dr as i was diagnosed under the umbrella of COPD AND EMPHYSEMA. I also have a shadow on my right upper lung and loads of holes in both lungs. diagnosed in November last years and just started treatment in April this year. I was just left 5 months , with visits to hospital and chest infections and persistent cough that actually drove me nuts along with weak and constantly tired. In the end i blew up at my Dr , as he scared the life out of me , and on what he was telling me so said WHY ARE YOU NOT DOING ANYTHING. I now have monthly visits to the hospital along with a COPD nurse and treatment. Visit your Dr again and say , now look i am scared and more that nothing is being done , he should then act as mine did , but i had to blow up at him to get results. When you go into hospital the notes get placed on his computer through the National health system , it can take up to a month to show., Its only until you make a NOISE , that they then look at your notes and build up a picture of your time in hospital. BUT i am surprised that the Hospital hasn't referred you for more tests. So make a noise .......

Hi there jo thank u ive spoke to blf today brill advice and a copd pack on its way many thanx

Hi there blessing thank you so much i think im gonna take your advice and speak my mind im so fed up of been told one thing one minute then something else another ....they do ur head in ....... But i really do agree with u and my situation sounds some what like your ...... Got consultant next week so i cant wait ....

Hi I have had asthma for many years and was diagnosed with very mild COPD about 4 years ago. I have a six monthly check with the COPD nurse with a yearly spirometry test and blood tests. That what you should be getting at the very least. Also ask about PR (Pulmunary Rehab).

Bev x

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