British Lung Foundation
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Feeling very low today, have my 9th chest infection of the year. I have a 2 year old beautiful boy and I just want to be the Mum I used to be with him. I have zero energy and my house is a tip I'm so ashamed of the state of it, I am usually very house proud but just haven't the energy to do anything. Any tips to increase my energy levels would be greatly appreciated. Actually crying typing this. I so want to be well again. Doctors don't seem to know whats wrong with me. The first doctor said my chest xray showed I have emphysema, then I saw a nurse for a lung function test and she said I had very mild emphysema and chronic asthma (never been diagnosed with asthma before in my life) and that it was the asthma causing my breathlessness NOT the emphysema. Then a third (locum) doctor who gave me more antibiotics this week said I have chronic asthma and copd but not emphysema? I'm so confused. No-one has sat down and explained anything to me and its so frustrating. How can I help myself if I don't know whats wrong with me. I just want answers but no-one seems to have any. Has anyone else experienced these problems?

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19 Replies

Your medical advice has been so confusing its no wonder your down.

First thing try and get a referral to your local respiratory clinic. They can arrange examinations and a reliable diagnosis given which the most suitable course of treatment can be prescribed. It sounds to me that you need to make it clear to your doctor that you are not happy with the way you are being treated. Be calm but firm, this is your life and that of your son you're talking about - the doctors need to get this right.

Good luck,

in reply to Hidden

Thank you for your advice, they haven't even mentioned a respiratory clinic but I will certainly ask for a referral. You're right I do need to stand up for myself a bit more, for my son's sake if not mine! Thank you so much for replying.


Hi lilh, so sorry for your situation, I am wondering if you are of a young age say under 37 or there abouts, if you should request an alpha1 antytripsin test, phone the BLF helpline and ask their advice about this and they will be able to give you some more pointers on what tests to request from your GP.

The tiredness is something that happened with me before I was diagnosed properly and for a long time afterward too, you will need to rest more until you can get the right meds and have the energy to do a little exercise.

To help boost your immune system and give the body some good nutrients you need to try and eats a good diet, fresh fruit and vegetables, drink plenty of water good protein, salmon, chicken etc. Do you have a blender I wonder, I have found mine invaluable for getting quick fix nutrients into the diet.

Something I do when I am off my food or just don't want to eat a proper meal I would fix myself a blended meal, something along the lines of the following: (keep an open mind about this, it really is delicious and nutritious, you don't taste the raw spinach)

To blender add, milk (dairy,vegetable or grain milk), 2 dollops of live natural yoghurt, a banana, some blueberries, apple or fresh pineapple, a leaf or two of spinach, some ground wheatgerm and flaxseed. Some unprocess pre cooked chickpeas or lentils (I cook a load and freeze these in small packets) Blend for a smoothie drink, its a meal in itself and packed with nutrients to help the immune system cope.

I hope you can get to the botton of the cause of your illness and soon will have the meds that are going to help you recover some level of fitness so that you can once again enjoy some wonderful time with your little boy.

Sending you loads of love and hugs.

BC x

in reply to Hidden

helpline number is 03000 030 555 - their opening times are Mon to Friday 10 am to 6pm.

in reply to Hidden

thank you will store this number in my phone and give them a ring x

in reply to Hidden

Thank you so much for replying, I am 33 and my doctor did test for the alpha-1 but results came back negative, thank goodness as I was concerned my little man would inherit it. Rest is a big problem as I am sadly a single Mummy. I am vegetarian so do eat lots of fruit and veg however my appetite has decreased an awful lot. I haven't got a blender but I think that's a great idea as it would be easier to digest and i would still get lots of nutrients and I will certainly try that recipe, it sounds delicious! There really are some lovely people on this site, thank you for all the tips, stay healthy xxx

Get a proper diagnosis and be put on the right medication and I'm sure your energy levels will increase. I have very severe emphysema and now I'm on the correct medication I feel a lot better.

hello Puffthemagicdragon '

can you please let me know the medication you are using for your emphysema.



I can't add to the good advice given by others, but I wanted to say hello and you are not facing this alone on this site.

Lynne xx

try asking on freecycle for a blender - people often give up on them and will give them away. I used to be a single mum so I sympathise about the difficulty in resting. But resting is essential if you are to get better energy. Get that doc of yours in order and get a proper referral so you have a clear diagnosis and treatment and advice. Enlist your surgery nurse on your side.

Best of luck

Mary xx

thank you all so much, you really are so lovely, so glad I found this site. Have made appointment with my nurse so hopefully she can help me get some answers. It is ever so frustrating and my doctors just don't seem interested in a word I have to say, just stare at their computers and grunt at me which leaves me deflated. I'm going to stand my ground though and keep pestering them until I have my answers, thank you all once again, it's nice to know I have somwhere to turn to for great advice xxx

in reply to lilh

Can you get any help - eg have someone else look after your litte one while you get a nap a few times a week ?


Hi lilh,

Sorry to hear you are tatt(tired all the time) - after 9 chest infections, i am not surprised!!

Your son and you are and should remain your priorities! You want to be well, ask your nurse, gp what you can do to help yourself and your son.. Keep asking and if you are not satisfied with their answers ask to be referred to a specialist..

The blf nurses are excellent!

Stay strong


Hi, nice to see you again and I'm so sorry that you're still suffering. I'd thought of you and hoped all turned out well.

I'm in a similar situation but a bit further on. GP finally put me on an antibiotic that worked -Azithromycin.

Time after time at every infection they'd prescribe Amoxicillin, didn't work, then another and another but infections kept coming back. Last time I refused Amoxicillin & GP said "oooo, I don't know, we're supposed to presc it as the first line of defence". I begged her for the Azith & it worked. Such a relief not to be sofa ridden for months.

Have they tested your sputum? They can test it for correct antib and there's also some bug called pseudenomas (wrongly spelt) that's hard to get rid of.

I've learnt you have to be proactive, ring them for results, only go to the best doctor in practice or the respiratory nurse may be more knowledgeable.

Do call the blf nurse for advice, ask her/him for a list of questions to ask GP, nurse or consultant.

Like me you need a CT scan for a diagnosis, I really hope you get one for your son's sake too.

I don't know how you manage! Have you got inhalers? There are some breathing techniques on YouTube to help and also ways of getting mucus up if you have it.

Good luck, take care, get as much sleep as you can. Peeg

in reply to peege

Hello, lovely to hear from you again, thank you for replying, I managed to get in to see the doctor again tonight and he has referred me to the respiratory clinic at last for more tests and should finally get some answers. I am on amoxycillin again. But thank you I will ask for those other ones next time as these certainly are not helping and I'll be sure to take a sample too! It's pure madness that we are having to do their work for them! I have been given two inhalers (a brown and a blue one) but in all honesty I haven't noticed any improvement at all. I have been coughing up a lot of brown stuff (sorry to be a little disgusting!) but I assumed it was brown because I finally quit smoking 6 weeks ago and it was my lungs clearing?! My main priority is obviously looking after my little man and I need to be on top form to do that so I will keep pushing for answers and will let you all know the results when i finally have them. Honestly thank you all so much, I know I keep saying it but I really do appreciate all the advice and as always you have cheered me up a bit today, thank you for giving me the confidence to be pushy lol! I was made to feel like I was wasting the doctors time, but I will no longer feel guilty for wanting to find answers! God Bless xxx

Well done and good for you. You deserve to be taken seriously for the sake of your son. The sooner you have a proper diagnosis the sooner you'll be supported to manage your condition - what ever it turns out to be!

Keep taking the brown inhaler, it's the 'preventive' which you must take regularly if you have asthma. It probably won't be showing its working much if you're unwell with the infection. It's likely you'll need the blue one more often while you're unwell to open the bronchial tubes (& get the yuk up,better out than in)! When you get well you'll hardly need the blue one but have to carry it with you all the time.

If it does turn out to be chronic asthma they may change the preventer to another that suits you better.there are different strengths and different brands.

Blooming well done for giving up the smoking, the single best thing you could have done :D

Do call the helpline though, they are so knowledgeable and can advise on whether you're taking inhalers properly.

Ask us any questions, we're mostly over 50 here and don't want others to suffer if we can help it. G'night, sleep well. Peeg

Sorry to hear you're having such a rough time. I asked GP for referral to respiratory clinic and was prescribed new medication which made a huge difference. I hope you'll soon be feeling better and good luck

Hi, I can only reiterate all the advice given above.COPD is an umbrella term for all chest problems and only through thorough medical investigation can they give you a correct diagnosis. I sincerely hope it isn't emphysema as although it can be controlled you seem very young to be diagnosed with it and yet after 9 infections in a short space of time your doctor should have referred you earlier. Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you swith some good news. Susie

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