Can anyone help please?

I was diagnosed COPD 10 years ago and I am 67 years old. I have run the gambit of viruses and exacerbations using a variety of steroid and antibiotic remedy in thoe year. Slowly my condition has deteriorated. I completed one Pulminory Rehab 4 years ago and begin another next week. During the last three weeks I have suffered a particularly nasty Bronchitis and I have been experiencing something to me very frightening. Twice in a shower and couple of times out and about in the high street I become aware that I cannot breath other than in short gasps. Regardless of what I am telling myslef about keeping calm I go into panic mode. Or at least I freeze and I am unable to move except to stand holding on to anything nearby and shake violently. The other night my wife called 111 for help and advice. I turn into a terrified little child convinced I am being suffocated. I have experienced such attacks in the past but not sofrequently nor so violent.

Does anyone else suffer like this and has anyone any ideas ho to handle them better than I do.

19 Replies

  • Hi first I would use my inhaler as like you I have copd then I would consider oxygen I. Have a better quality of life. With this then get a mobilty scooter I am on Zithromax 3 times a week not had a infection for a year plus and mucodyn capsules to break up the mucus i was like you and now I feel much better hope this helps

  • It sounds like your COPD could be getting worse. My advice is to go and see your doctor and tell them what has has been happening. Do you have an oximetre? This will measure your sats. It might be that your oxygen levels drop very low which could be an indication that oxygen would be appropriate for you. I bought mine on Amazan for less than £20. Seek medical advice. x

  • I have suffered a scare from lack of breath - in fact, I was in the middle of an infection but hadn't realised it till too late......well, not too late, but almost too late if you know what I mean. This was when I was taught how to megadose with my salbutamol - 10 or even more if need be. OK, my heart raced, but that was nothing if I was breathing, and my heart calmed down very quickly. I had been warned about the heart racing so I didn't get scared. The megadosing really really helped me and because I know about it I tend not to get so uptight when I start to get very breathless....perhaps you know abut this, but if not, have a word with your doctor/nurse. This blasted disease is scary and nasty......I so hope you are feeling better today. All the best :)

  • Morning.

    It does sound like you might benefit from a little oxygen as Lulu says. Have you already had your assessment for your PR, they would have noticed then if you needed oxygen on exertion. It is very scary when you cant breathe so I would ring the respiratory team or doctor in case you have an infection.

    Kim xxxx

  • Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments. I feel better just knowing you lot are out there. Hopefully I will have more info after I start the Pulminory Rehab tomorrow (Monday). I have more questions I can ask thanks to you all.

  • that does occur to most of us with COPD the way out is to relax (I know it is not easy) then try and slowly breathe in through your nose hold it then out through pursed lips this shifts your breathing to upper abdominal breathing thankfully and thanks to the physio who taught me this I am now able to breathe easier and not as ragged as before.

  • That is such a scary feeling isint it? Have you thought about the reason could be that you're having a panic attack? Maybe bought on,as your breathing changed.

    Obivously you would have tried to purse lip breathe,but when you do,you must relax your shoulders,as we are inclined to scrunch them up,at times like that,& it's the worse thing you can do.

    If you think it's possible it is panic attacks,talk to your Doctor about taking a mild antidepressant & see if that helps.

    Glad you are returning to rehab,the 6 minute walk etc.will tell if you need oxygen or not,

    Anyway,good luck with it all, xx

  • Thank you wendells for that advice. My wife insists they are panic attacks added to the geniune diffiuclty experienced as a result of the Bronchitis. Very scary! Thanks again.

  • That sounds very much what I experience when having an asthma attack. I would deffinatley see the doctor as soon aspossible.

    When this happens it is difficult not to panic all I can say is get your self into as comfortable position as possible. I tend to lean against a wall with my backside and put my hands on my knees then just concentrate on my breathing. If I am at home I sit in a chair and put my arms out across the table in front of me this helps to open up the airway. Take your spray using a spacer if you have one. It can be difficult to get the spray in if you are like that. 10 puffs of Ventolin/salbutamol would not be unreasonable as half of them wont get where they are needed. any way hope you are feeling better soon best wishes Irene

  • Thank you so much for that! I will try.

  • If You're not on oxygen 24/7 maybe You should be. If You are maybe You should turn up the liters. Use the rescue inhaler more often. Nebulize with albuterol sulfate at 4 times a day if not more. I'm on all that I've mentioned & I've had COPD for over 10 years but only diagnosed 5 years.

    I have bouts where My focus is disturbed. My hearing is smothered. My heart beat increased. I stop doing whatever it is & pray everything goes back to normal before I pass out. So Far So Good. :D

  • Thank you.

  • When they happen, my 'panic attacks' are so bad, I'm seriously thinking of asking The Speakmans for help. It's the body going into overdrive not us consciously panicking.

    Last time it happened to me I was on the loo and I'm sure I only survived because there was no way I was going to die in that situation!!! :D :D

    I couldn't do anything at all - no chance of inhaler or even using my oximeter - all I could do was keep telling myself I was NOT going to die, whilst trying every breathing technique I knew.

    Try not to worry about it and don't overstretch yourself - much better to take it easy than get into a state. Hope you find a way to prevent future attacks.

    Take care


  • Good Morning, My husband also suffers with severe COPD and has similar episodes. The first thing to ask is - have you changed any medication. The reason I ask is my husband was given a blood pressure med. and slowly over about 8 months these "panic" attacks got much worse. So he gave up the meds. and is much better.

    When he gets into that panic mode - we have found the best thing to use is a "spacer" with the blue inhaler, it delivers the med. more directly and is much more effective. He finds it almost impossible to use the blue inhaler when he is in a state. The spacer can be prescribed by a GP - is just a plastic tube as far as I can tell!

    The last thing is - two years ago he was diagnosed at pulmonary rehab as needing oxygen for moving around etc. He doesnt use it all the time but finds it very useful if he gets into a state - and I wonder if your oxygen levels are dropping low which in turn causes a panic response. It might be worth getting a oximeter to monitor your oxygen levels - our nurses told us anything under 88 is considered low.

    We were also told that anxiety levels can naturally be much higher with COPD - so I would recommend you talk to your GP - it maybe they can prescribe something to lower your anxiety levels. Take good care, TAD xx

  • I have suffered from the shower panic, I think it is the mixture of humidity and vapour from the gel or liquid that we use, I find that if I turn it off and open the shower door for a couple of minutes breathing becomes easier again and you can continue to shower. I also always have two shots of the 'Blue Inhaler' before getting in the cubicle. Works for me, hope that it helps you.

  • So glad I read this post today. Been suffering really bad with sob last couple of weeks and the daily shower was a real challenge. Tried 'overdosing' (as suggested by hopetorun) on Ventolin before the shower today and got through it just fine. Even managed to stay long enough to use conditioner on my hair!! Thanks for the tip, dukes.

  • Thanks dukes, that was very helpful and will try the blue inhalor method.

  • Hindi payoff aconite

  • For anxiety try homeopathic aconite 30c

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