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British Lung Foundation
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hi is there anyway I can tell if its my copd or anxiety as I suffer with both

hi ever since I had lung test last wensday I keep feeling as if I cant breathe properly and I suffer with anxiety which some times makes me this way and I am worried because ive had this feeling since last week and im not sure if its the anxiety or my copd as i been told i have stage 1 of copd

9 Replies

Anxiety can indeed cause dyspnea (the sensation of being short of breath), and stage 1 COPD shouldn't cause you any problem with normal activities - unless you're in the habit of running up hills or suchlike.

The advice in this link might be useful . . .. calmclinic.com/anxiety/symp...


Hi my husband has severe Copd - his breathlessness can cause him to have panic attacks and the fear of being breathless can cause him to be anxious. He uses rescue remedy spray which seems to calm him. Having said that I suspect that the diagnosis has made you very anxious. I would advise that you go back to the gp and explain perhaps you need some medication uuntil you are able to cope a little batter.

Also I would suggest you ring the blf helpline they have a very useful information pack. Also I posted a post yesterday - the fear of diagnosis which may help.

Take good care you are not on your own. With love and best wishes TAD x


Hello Pat, the way I knew that it was a panic attack, was when I arrived at gp I started to feel better gradually, then time I went for my consultation I was ok. lol I can laugh about it now, I never did tell anyone at docs about it,(I told my daughter a few days later) I will tell you how it all happened. I was laying on bed, then got breathless, so I called docs told them I am coming to surgery, then phoned my daughter to let her know where I was, and she says dont call a cab I will come and get you and take you, so this we did, anyhow soon as I got in her car, within seconds I started to breath more freely, then you know the rest, so dont worry about the cause of your breathlessness, the moral of my story is go to see docs anyway and you cant go wrong. cos I only realised it was a panic attack as it went away so quickly, unlike copd flare-up Joan x


hello Pat how worrying for you its never easy eh?Hopefully you are early stages copd and your lung function not too bad but anyone receiving this news gets a little anxious and if you are already prone you have reacted accordingly.as everyone has suggested go see the doc,mine gave me citalopram which works for me im pleased to say, coz i was getting my knicks in a right 2&8 let me tell you.THe next thing that has helped me is joining here.there is a special bunch of people here,with a wealth of experience and knowledge and buckets of kindness and understanding. So always slow that breathing down slowly breathe through your nose and blow as slowly as you can through pursed lips all the while telling your brain youve got this under control.Keepwell Pat your among friends here see you very soon i hope.Janexx


Hi Pat3003

I've just been through that and it was definately anxiety for me because, apart from getting breathless going up hills or rushing around, I didn't have the feeling I couldn't breath until AFTER my diagnosis. I agree with Longlungs about seeing the Dr if it continues to get some help to nip it in the bud. Take care.

Angie. x


Hi, have you tried pursed lip breathing to get you over the SOB? I learnt this at pulmonary rehab and also here when a member suggested I look up the method on YouTube. Look up 'pursed lip breathing' and ' diaphragm breathing'. It totally helps.

You do the diaphragm breathing in yoga so it's a proven method of relaxation too.

I used to be the worlds calmest person but now easily become stressed & breathing goes so I do both all the time. Please try, you won't regret it. peeg


Good question Pat I have the same problem is it Emphysema or anxiety, and my Gps can't seem to differentiate between the two .


Hi rick...on thinking about emphysema and/or anxiety and being S.O.B the way I think I can tell is this; It's mainly due to copd cos when at home and relaxed the breathlessness can strike by e.g, walking to the bathroom/kitchen or fetching an interesting book from the bookshelf or especially trying to grapple with the housework :(

For me it worsens when I'm... getting ready to leave home; trying to meet a deadline , i.e going to catch the bus and shopping - those situations can bring on anxiety cos I'm breathless in the first place and have nothing left. All the best, Lovelight x


Hi Lovelight, your 1st paragraph is word for word how I am, resting an relaxing o.k as soon as I get up to go to the loo or fetch anything it starts, the 2nd paragraph hit the nail on the head as they say, getting ready to go out leave home absolutely terrible, and lately has been so bad I am worn out, just want it to go away, am having assessment for PR on Friday so am going to discuss it with the Respiratory nurse, I guess by the time I get there I will be in a state!! I am sorry you suffer with this anxiety also, but does make one feel easier knowing that your not on your own, I think that's one of the advantages (one of many) of hearing other people suffering the same feelings etc., the Dr prescribed Sertraline AD but it doesn't seem to help much, are you on oxygen Lovelight? take care, Gilliann x


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