newbie: Hi everyone, i have been a... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation
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Hi everyone, i have been a member on here for a few months and found comments very interesting , i wondered if anyone can relate to my symptoms because as yet have not read anything similar. i am 53 and have coughed all my life but only recently been diagnosed with COPD . at least twice a day during coughing fits i get to the point where i just cant breath in for what seems like minutes at a time, this leaves me very tired , aswell as frightening me to death because i cant take my inhaler when i cant breath (any suggestions)?

15 Replies

Good Morning - My husband was your age (is now 66) when he was diagnosed and I can totally relate to him coughing all his life particularly when he is stressed - thats how I knew he was stressed! He has similar coughing fits and it really frightens him and me! One thing that has helped is using a spacer with his ventolin - the spacer can be presribed by your doctor (actually you can buy a dinky version that fits in a handbag on ebay) - but you attach the blue inhaler to the spacer and press it twice or three times, then just breath as normally as you can through the other end. The spacer delivers the medicine much more effectively and I always carry one now. Hope that helps, with love TAD xx

helingmic in reply to Hidden

I was told by a respiratory nurse that you can inhale Ventolin about 19 times to help in this way.

Another idea is to breathe in a paper bag (not plastic, this is too dangerous) this is to increase the Carbon Dioxide level. Because what you do when you cough is to swallow too much oxygen while gasping. so breathing into a paper bag will relive you. I have tried it when I was in a panic like you.

Has anyone considered you might have asthma? Sometimes it affects people with coughing but not much wheezing.

What meds have you been given? Do you have a consultant referral or has it just been your GP?

Hi susanc1961, Give the nurses a ring, click on the little red balloon at the top of the pg. There are breathing techniques and I believe leaflets about breathing through exacerbations, you should also ask your GP about a referral for a Lung Rehabilitation Course, they teach breathing techniques as well as gentle exercise

thankyou everyone, the spacer looks like it would be quite beneficial, i am on ipratroplum bromide inhaler 4 times a day or when needed and a once a day ipratroplum 18mg , i do feel better a little but the coughing does not let up. the GP diagnosed me going on my history , mum has COPD and my dad died of emphasema so the tendancy for me to develope it is pretty certain although x ray was clear with no signs of enlargment or problems although spirometry test was pretty grim , lungs of a 71 year old

O2Trees in reply to susanc1961

Mine are reckoned to be around 120 years old! Try not to take too much notice of this Susan, and more of how you feel day to day.

As suggested by monkey, this could be asthma connected - one possibility could be silent reflux. This is when you don't tend to get heartburn but the acid reaches the vocal folds and sometimes a little gets as far as the top of the lungs and causes irritation. I have it and it causes awful coughing and bronchospasm during exacerbations (not so bad rest of the time).

Ive read that approximately 1 in 10 asthma diagnoses result from reflux, rather than being primary asthma diagnoses. Do call the BLF helpline as Peter suggests.

susanc1961 in reply to O2Trees

thankyou 02 trees , i will definately look into this, asthma could be more managable . is what i experience called a bronchospasm ? i didnt know that. and yes i will call BFL

Offcut in reply to susanc1961

Try a peptic liquid worked well for me with a silly cough problem.

No not necessarily. Bronchospasm is literally a spasm, in other words you just can't control it, it kind of controls you - it feels to me like I'm being coughed, rather than coughing, if that makes sense. Others might describe it differently though.

Let us know how you get on. :)


Hi I can really relate to this as I cough a lot and can't breathe. Hence my name... x

RibvanRey in reply to Hidden

I thought your name was just advice. LOL

Hi susanc1961, I can relate to how you feel my worse uncontrollable symptom is the cough. I was advised to not rush and there are physio exercises to help way lay the cough if you are aware of it beginning or getting worse. Exercises to expand the airways sometimes help too as do the inhalers but as yet there is no magic cure just some things that help relieve the symptom. Coughing spasms can be very frightening as well as draining energy wise. They are also a symptom in Asthma. Hope this is of help to you.


Maybe a nebuliser would help to open airways with little effort.

thankyou so much everyone, just hearing from you all with various ideas is great, i no longer feel that i am on my own .

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