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British Lung Foundation
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Breathless with no cough

I have copd and am a bit breathless at the moment but don't have much of a cough.

Everything I read about copd seems to say that you will have a mucas cough. Unless I have a chest infection the cough is not a problem.

I am on my 2nd bout of being quite short of breath in a about 8 weeks and am very tired.

Does anyone else get this. By the way when I was first diagnosed the consultant implied I was more on the emphysema side than the bronchitis side.

By the way my medication was changed about 3 months ago from Spiriva to

Seebri Breezhaler,

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27 Replies

Hi Dolly 12, I think it might be a good idea to ring the BLF Helpline for advice and also book an appointment to see your gp or nurse...if you say you are short of breath you should be seen quickly. Remind them your medication had been changed, that may have something to do with it.

Good luck

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Thanks Knitter,

I think maybe I should.

It is a bit of a coincidence that this all happened when medication changed. I'm not sure what they will change me to as apparently Spiriva will not be available anymore.

Hi Dolly12, I also have emphysema without the mucous or cough. I have been breathless over the last few days due to the drop in temperature, which may be the case for you.

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Hi Dolly, Like Toci I have been particularly breathless over the last wee while. Also, when I have a cough I very seldom have any mucous, only if I have a bad infection. It wouldn't do any harm to get checked out though.

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Hi Dolly12, My husband suffer with severe COPD and he does cough though much more when he has an infection. He has become quite breathless over the last few days with the drop in temperature and it will take him a while to adjust. This might be the case for you. Or not. I would suggest, as others have, to go back to the doctor and explain how breathless you are. It is so tiring when you are breathless. Also ring the BLF helpline for some advise.

My husband is still on Spiriva and has not been told that it wont be available. Just got his repeat prescription last week.

Please don't ignore the breathlessness - it seems an odd coincidence with the change of meds?. Take care and good luck TAD xx

Thank you all for your replies.

Maybe it is the change in the weather. It's all a bit of a pain, breathless in the hot or cold...although I am much luckier than some, although I have been diagnosed with severe copd it is no way as bad as some others of you have.

Keep well

Hi Stitch,

It is reassuring to know that others have similar symptoms, I was starting to think I had been misdiagnosed.

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Like others have commented, I have no cough or mucous either. I have moderate emphysema. I am still being prescribed spiriva, but I think some GPs are stopping it due to cost as there is a cheaper alternative, I ave read on here somewhere.

Lynne xx

I am hoping it is just coincidence, I must say I feel a bit better today

Hi Dolly, I have severe emphysema but no cough, and no mucus except when I have an infection (cough up loads of mucus from my throat but that's to do with reflux). I think you get more mucus day to day with chronic bronchitis. But good suggestion to give BLF a call.

I haven't heard that mucus is the product of a hiatus hernia, more like acid stuff but not mucus in my state. But I could be wrong. x

Oh, just replied to you aniseed, but it seems to have gone AWOL in cyberspace! So here's another try.

No, mucus is not direct consequence of HH. I was diagnosed with this when i was 40, and only two years ago (at 65) did i have any discernable acid reflux. And along with that came the very sticky mucus in the throat, which Ive read, and GP says, has a protective function for the throat which in a few cases can become cancerous from the acid damage. Whether this is true or not i dont know but its nice to think there might be a benefit, as otherwise its horrid ;)

My sister-in-law has bronchietasis and says the sticky mucus she gets in her lungs sounds very similar, and harder to cough up than the mucus i get with a copd infection.

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I was diagnosed in 2000 with moderate stage but cant remember exactly when i slipped into stage 3, about 3 years ago i think. Currently my FEV1 is 37%. I understand that deterioration slows down in the later stages which sounds good to me :)

thank you o2 trees,breathe well,bernice,x

Forgot to say, re Spiriva, the mist form which is called Spiriva Respimat, as opposed to the powder form, has been the focus of research in the US which linked its use to a higher risk of mortality. So maybe this is what is being withdrawn, rather than the powder version.

This is so, but the increased mortality was only seen in patients with pre-existing heart problems and in any case was probably due to chance in light of this recent report . . .


[Quote] Data from the landmark TIOSPIR trial has been presented at the European Respiratory Society conference in Barcelona comparing Spiriva (tiotropium) delivered through the Respimat soft mist inhaler (5mcg) and by the HandiHaler device (18mcg). The three-year, plus-17,000 patient trial, one of the largest COPD studies ever conducted, included patients with the full range of severities, showed no difference between Respimat and HandiHaler in risk of death or of first exacerbation, on-treatment all-cause mortality and incidents of cardiovascular adverse events.

Specifically, the median time to the first COPD exacerbation was more than two years for Respimat (756 days) and HandiHaler (719 days). The results clearly put to bed safety fears raised from a meta-analysis in more than 6,500 patients published in 2011 which claimed that taking Spiriva via Respimat device was linked to a 52% increase in the risk of death compared to placebo. . . .[/Quote]

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Glad you posted this stilltruckin. Good to warn people but not to alarm them unnecessarily.

As some have been told Spiriva (Respimat?) is being withdrawn I wonder whether this is the reason. I had read about that research, or other similar a few months back then forgot about it; so not sure how long its been around or what action might have been taken in consequence.

At least they have published it - there's been publicity recently about drug companies burying poor research outcomes presumably so their business is not affected.

Hi O2Trees

I was on Spiriva Respimat, after reading your post I am glad they have taken me off it

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Check out stilltruckin's response to my post above Dolly. Seems the research results only apply to those with heart problems.

I have very severe emphysema but no bronchitis, so I don't get much mucus unless I have an infection. This maybe the reason I can do more than some on here whose emphysema is not as bad as mine.

No heart problems as far as I know

Hi Puffthemagicdragon,

I'm guessing this is the same for me.

Now all I need to sort out is when to take my steroids as this breathlessness out of the blue is fairly new to me. I have had 2 or 3 days or really being tired and short of breath & today I feel better, not brilliant but definitely better.

Hello to one and all.I am new around here so here goes.I get breathless when i have to exert. Climbing stairs -walking quickly etc.does this sound like emphysema i have just stopped smoking after years.There is no cough or mucous just puffing and panting.Best Regards to all

Hi Dolly

I have emph with no coughing and no mucus.

My breathlessness seems to vary from only when (as recently) walking a bit too fast or too far, to feeling breathless when just sitting.

The breathlessness seems to go (sometimes over a few hours and sometimes after a few days, or even weeks) Despite this my lung function overall has been quite stable, with some ups and downs over the last three years.

I don't get so worried these days if I suddenly seem to be more breathless for no apparent reason ... its just one of those things for me .... and seems to pass

Hope you continue to feel better

Beth xx

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That sounds like me, exactly the same pattern.😊

Hi Dolly12,

Good advice from every one.

I think it is better for you to get checked out with the doc to be on the safe side.

Coughing and mucus for some are always present but for others are not always present with COPD or lung infections as has been said. I believe less or no coughing and mucus with emphysema, but coughing and mucus always present (generally) when chronic bronchitis is present, so someone may have COPD and only have chronic bronchitis or have both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, or have some other lung disorder that may cause the coughing and mucus.

Ask your doctor about being referred for a pulmonary rehabilitation course, you will learn lots about your condition and how to manage it, how to avoid further lung damage, it just gives people a greater understanding of things.

BLF's pages are also very informative , hover over the "Lung Health" tab and select one of the options from the drop down list that you would like to read, here is the link:


Best wishes BC

I'm glad you asked this question as that is exactly what I am like - no mucus or cough unless I have a cold or flu

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