British Lung Foundation
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Stress and COPD

Stress and COPD

I was reading the blog of a new member, Twinks1954'

Up until Friday, 6 July, I would have said to him/her that I didn't think that stress could affect breathing. I now believe the opposite!

On Friday I went for my check-up (complete with the good wishes of so many of you) at the hospital to find out if I was still in remission as regards the lung cancer I had an operation for four years ago. Being a really positive person I didn't doubt that I would be told I was fine.

The result, as lots of you know, was that everything was fine but what happened before I saw Mr Awan, the Surgeon, for the results really stressed me and I had a big shortness of breath episode!!!

I went for an X-ray when I arrived at hospital. In the past, I have had one X-ray. On Friday, I had three (one after the other) and, when I left the department, the radiographer put his hand on my shoulder and said 'Take care of yourself'.

After going up two floors (by lift) to see the Surgeon, the male nurse on reception called me by my first name, and said 'Take a seat sweetheart' which I did.

It was then time to be weighed. The nurse (female this time) said 'This way lovey'. By this time I was really quite anxious and stressed! I was wondering why everyone was being so kind (everyone at the hospital has always been kind to me but this was really different).

After being weighed I was walking back to the reception area and I got really breathless and had to sit down and use my inhaler a couple of times. I was sitting there thinking OMG - I'm not going to get the all clear this time and that is why people are being extra sweet to me.

By the time I went into see Mr Awan I was in a bit of a state (I was trying to pretend I was fine).

If I had had enought breath when he said that everything was fine I would have had hysterics.

So, yes, I do believe that stress affects physical wellbeing and well as mental wellbeing.

Love and hugs



11 Replies

hi Annec i am sure stess makes ones symptoms worse and like you at one time i would have said no it doesnt but the older i get i am sure it does

take care

love Dorothy xx


Hi Annec, if I get out of breath (and I do, frequently!) I find trying to hide it just makes me more stressed and more breathless than ever. Great to hear you are still in remission. Sadie


I have to agree, its not nice when it happens. Xx


There have been occasions in my life when stress or upset affects my breathing. I find it going out of control. I have to pull myself together, concentrate on my breathing and NOT the cause. This should slow things down. All the best annec xx


Oh Annec so sorry you have experienced all this. For sure stress can make us more breathless. Anxiety too.

Oh how nice to be called a sweetheart and lovey :)

So glad they looked after you well and treated you kindly Annec and with such good results. Well done you.

BC x


Sorry you had a traumatic time I went through something similar many years ago. My daughter had been born 8 weeks prem when she was close to her 1st birthday we received an app for a check up, she was behind with her mile stones but her consultant had always said it was because she was born prem then suffered serious pneumonia we spent 2 days there having tests as we left all the nurses came to say goodbye and were extra nice and informed

me some one would come to the house to discuss the results, they all said "Try not to worry"

Off course if some one says that to you then you automatically do. We had a very long weekend of stress when we were finally told the result it transpired that the severity of the pneumonia had left her brain damaged with cerbal palsy and we later learned autistic I know lthey were only trying to be helpful at the time though

love julie xx

1 like

Glad to hear that you got the all clear again, especially with lung cancer which I believe is still one of the most difficult of the cancers to treat.

The stress bit and breathlessness is so true. Even 'good' stress ie excitement I've noticed, can have a bearing on breathing. I don't have a clue why this should be, though I suspect adrenaline must have something to do with it. Maybe we just notice it more because we are so aware of our breathing compared to before diagnosis?


Breathless=stressed or stressed =breathless?



This is wonderful news Pepsi, hope your now relaxing and beginning to unwind, I know stress effects me breathing, there's been times when I've needed to say something, and if it's so difficult for me to say, it's like I get winded, throat will close, panic sets in, can't breath, that's what happens to me when I need to get something off my chest, but back to you, hooray your ok ! X x x x x


Hi Annec. I used to get very stressed at work. Because of this I became short of breath and my asthma (wasn't diagnosed with COPD then) really started playing up. I would cough uncontrollably. This was very embarrassing!

Glad you are ok love.

Bev x


When I am stressed I find I breathe more quickly and often through my mouth and that makes me more breathless...I try to breathe more gently and slowly, but easier said than done.

I have a Resperate machine that lowers blood pressure by monitoring and helping to slow the breath rate..and I find even a stressful thought will increase the number of breaths I take.


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