Have I really got COPD?

Diagnosed about 5 years ago with lots of phlegm and coughing being primary symptoms.

Found that avoiding dairy got rid of 98% of these symptoms about a year ago

Went through the summer with no medication with no apparent ill effect

At recent check up FEV1/FVC of 62%...I was told that this confirmed COPD diagnoses and to take my inhalers...so I have. Recent cold has left me with chesty cough..(if it does not go soon I will go to doc) however none of the discomfort is in my lungs or chest it is in my throat...(this is the case always not just in this instance) when I have a coughing fit the irritation seems around my trachea not around my lungs...is this usual for COPD?

21 Replies

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  • Hi Bin ...A fev reading of 62 would suggest you have copd have u been to a respiratory specialist or was that just a GP who made this diagnosis ?...I have emypshema an mild bronchietasis my fev reading is 106 which would suggest I don't have copd but I do which was confirmed by ct scan I also have minor probs with clearing throat..clearing of the throat is a symptom copd ...do u smoke or have just recently quit ? It can be caused from cleaning of tar from throat lining if you quit smoking recently...I suggest u see respiratory specialist to give a more detailed view of your condition ...regards Wes

  • Hi Wes- I gave up smoking about 15 years ago...I left it a couple of years before going to the doctor about the cough and breathlessness which prompted me to give up...then started a round of : "its asthma", "nothing wrong", "asthma", "hmmm", "COPD" it was a nurse practitioner who diagnosed me and another nurse practitioner who confirmed the diagnoses when I queried it as my symptoms had practically disappeared since giving up dairy.. Also my FEV reading is 1.66 its my FEV1/FVC ratio which is 62%

  • hi bin my fev/fvc ratiois 62% same has yours but my fev is 2.67 what ever that means mind you that was a year ago my age now is 57

  • Im 51..I have to thank everyone for the replies..I have more confidence in the diagnosis, so I will take my inhalers without feeling that I am over medicating

  • hi i was diagnosed with mild copd in jan as was bit breathless,,was put on symbicort 1 puff twice a day,,since ive been on it im coughing up mucos and have had 2 sore throats but it seem as cough is coming from my throat not my chest,,i eat lots of dairy and drink a glass off milk every night so mabe i will cut them out,,,

  • Coming off dairy improved my quality of life tremendously.....I only tried it out of desperation...nothing seemed to be working and I was coughing so violently I would often vomit...sleeping at night could only happen in short spells between the coughing. I also thought I had IBS due to the bloating and diarrhea. When a work colleague said to me "I cough like that if I have dairy" I thought I would test it and see.....not only did the coughing stop, the elephant of phlegm on my chest every morning disappear, so did my IBS symptoms.I checked for coincidental affects by having a gooseberry fool (yum yum) and sure enough...pains, off to the loo and much chestier the following morning. I have even been told something did not have dairy in it, and after eating it the pains started so I asked the chef if he was really sure and it transpired he had poached the fish in milk. I am not happy about cutting out a food group however so I have taken advice from a dietitian as to other sources of calcium..spinach, oranges etc, I also take a calcium and vitamin D

  • For your violent cough, which I used to have too, the thing is to try ACBT (Active Cycle of Breathing Technique)

    Here is one YouTube video with a lovely Northern lass who gives good advice too (Be patient with this, it's a fairly long video, but with really good pieces of advice):

  • Another exercise that the physio showed me at the hospital is this.

    Sit quietly. Put your hands just above your navel. Breathe in your belly about ten times.

    Put your hands on the top part of your chest. Breathe deeply and leave a "space" at the top of your breathing to sniff. do this ten times as well.

    This will have moved mucus. Relax a bit and then, breathe deeply and huff. This will bring the mucus out.

    You have to build yourself to do this, not ten at once, as you might hurt the coughing muscles which are already irritated from coughing.

    I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis in 1994. I couldn't end a sentence without coughing plenty and tiring myself. I was shown these exercise, as well as clapping of the chest. these have worked wonders, hepled me sleep and given me back my self confidence. i can now speak and finish the sentence!

    Hope all this helps you

  • With a fev that low Bin you have definitely got a lung problem. I have copd and am moderate with a fev1 of 66.3. You can be prescribed mycodyne tablets which help you cough it up. Are you coughing yellow or green gunk up? That is a definite sign of a chest infection and you need antibiotics now - don't wait. . Even if it is clear and you are wheezy and finding it hard to breathe you might still have an infection. If so go to doctors tomorrow as every infection you get can cause further damage to your lungs. Ask you doctor about a rescue pack to take immediately you need it next time you are like this. I have one and have just started it because I have chest infection. You might need a course of steroids as well.

    Dairy products are bad for mucus so stopping them for a very short time or cutting them back is fine. But you should never cut out a whole food group completely for long periods or your general health will suffer.

    Finally if you haven't already ring up the BLF nurses for advice and information. For number click on the red balloon near the top of the screen on the right. Copd is a progressive disease but you can do a lot to hold it back by not smoking, eating healthily and exercising regularly. Also ask about PR (Pulmunory Rehabilation) groups.

  • Taking my antibiotics now…thanks for support

  • Yes go to the doctors a chest infection can cause further damage to your lungs.

  • Some good advice from coughalot

  • hi bin1 I have copd moderate 62% but not many symptoms but am always clearing my throat and at the moment am on seretide 250..i go to aq gym 2-3 times a week exercise is better then some drugs

  • Hi music...I know what you mean regarding the gym...I particularly like spinning...if I have a proper warm up and control my breathing I can have a really good workout...I hate when people talk to me though 'cos if I lose my rhythm then the coughing starts

  • Morning Bin1, I care for my husband who has severe COPD and lung function of 25% having said that he still works full time, we still have a great life just a bit slower than most! He was diagnosed about ten years ago with about 60% lung function and at that point there was little evidence other than he breathless on strenuous exercise.

    Firstly I would ring the BLF helpline (click on the red balloon) and ask their advise. They have some very useful leaflets etc. and should be able to give you some practical advise.

    I found the most worrying thing about COPD is the chronic element. Usually we go to the Doctor and get a tablet which makes a vast improvement or cure (simplified but you get the gist!) - COPD is a different beast altogether.

    Each patient is different, each patient has to become an expert patient by listening to their bodies, learning what triggers an exacerbation or makes you more breathless or starts the coughing and to keep asking the doctors. If you don't feel right go back to the GP - our lovely doctor agrees that my husband and I know more about his illness than she does.

    Ask questions of your gp and nurses and healthcare team. . If you think the medicines aren't helping go back and ask them to be changed. If you don't feel well ask for advise. These would be my top tips:-

    1) Stop smoking

    2) Keep fit - ask for a referral to pulmonary rehab. from your doctor/nurse and keep asking!

    3) Get a flu jab

    4) Get a pneumonia jab

    5) If you think you are starting with an infection - go to the doctors don't wait

    6) Take your meds. If you are having side effects go back to the doctors, if they aren't working how you hoped - go back and ask. There are lots of meds available.

    7) Listen to your own body and learn - you will know best

    Hope some of this information helps.

    Take good care, TAD xxx

  • superb advice ........

    But I would add to ask your GP for a couple of those plastic sample jar thingys to keep at home for when you think you may have an infection you can cough a bit of sputum into it & then drop if off at the GP's for analysis immediately, rather than waiting for a Dr appointment,

    TADAW is absolutley correct, you will soon start to recognise what's going on inside & know something untoward is brewing .... I usually get a salty-ish taste in my throat days, sometimes weeks, before anything a doctor would recognise as an infection.

    Good luck

  • Hi out-for lunch,I agree I always get a salty taste in mouth a week or so before a infection,x

  • hi tad, may i ask if your husband stopped smoking when he was diagnosed thats if he did smoke

  • Thanks you all for your replies...I'm not sure I am using this correctly...some of my responses seem to have disappeared, and I promise there was no offensive language in any if them ;-)

  • I had many chest infections prior to copd diagnosis last year. (55%). I did not seek medical advice .Media advice seemed to be that coughs and colds would get better on there own and not to bother gp. Also did not want the lectures on smoking! (Foolish I know) . Anyway most of these had started off in the upper respiratory tract but then moved down. For the previous year cough had become more or less permanent with throat clearing as you described your." dairy"cough".I was prescribed spiriva inhaler and quit smoking. My cough disappeared within 3/4 days. I had never suffered from sob . (Still eat dairy. )

    I am 63 yrs but fairly fit .The doctor says that as I am now symptom free to stop taking spiriva in May and see how it goes! Did you stop taking inhalers on medical advice..?

    He says that with fev/fvc of 55 ,% the lung damage can't be repaired but if I remain well throughout the summer I will no longer be classed as having copd ,,

    I have a head cold and sore throat at moment .Will see which way it goes. Has anyone else been tld to stop taking meds.

    Cheers

  • Yes you have got copd regardless of if you have any symptoms I bet. Your copd is being good that's why your doubting it I do that sometimes with my asthma

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