asthma/ chronic bronchitis/ copd

Hello everybody, nice to meet you all, you seem a very helpful and friendly group, and best of all, given this scary disease, very positive. Am in the middle of ongoing tussle between professionals of whether I have asthma with copd, or just asthma (have had stable asthma for a long time so that is not in dispute) i.e. am very symptomatic, and awaiting further tests. After a bad asthma flare eighteen months ago, which was not treated fast enough, I developed more persistent symptoms of breathlessness, tight chest, cough and phlegm (am a former smoker), and yet spirometry was relatively 'indeterminate' at that time (borderline fev/fvc, BUT reduced dclo). One year later, I remain highly symptomatic (of chronic bronchitis), and much worse after a cold in early September, and much more symptomatic than what I might imagine with [probably] a diagnosis or early/ mild copd/ fixed airway disease (progression of asthma worsening and/ or previous smoking history catching up with me). I see that everybody is very different, and that many here seem to be less symptomatic even with a more severe diagnosis.

Assuming that I am progressing into more clinically definable numbers (which I will know in a few weeks), I am still assuming and hopeful that the numbers this early on will be in mild stage, and yet I am somehow breathless, laboured, sighing, even in repose, and feel my symptoms much worse than to be expected given the numbers to date. And so I am just trying to get my head round that anomaly. And was hoping others here might help me with that. I've read that FEV decline is faster in the early stages, and plateaus out. But that is 'just' a number, is there a similar rate of decline on the symptom front? (i.e. this set of persistent symptoms seems too long and too persistent to be the same or another asthma flare, and is anyway not behaving like asthma, in my view). How were others' symptoms early after diagnosis?

It may seem that I am over-anxiously jumping the gun here (am trying very hard not to), but am simply trying to account for current symptoms, which are very uncomfortable: my breathing feels like hard work much of the time and therefore it is hard to distract myself from it (which I was previously good at doing, being an asthmatic).

oh dear, this is getting long. Sorry!

5 Replies

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  • Hello! yes, this group is sooooo helpful and friendly and I keep learning things.....sounds to me like you need to REALLY question your GP. Tell him/her how confused and worried you get. Don't be ashamed to tell anyone....but hang in there, you will get far better advice from others, so keep watching! Good luck :)

  • Hi MollMoll and welcome to the group. I'm not very knowledgable, so won't really be able to answer your question but, more will be along soon that may be able to.

    I'm only moderate at the moment and only really notice it on exertion but, I know the 'sighing' well, I'd been doing that for years before being diagnosed and still do. My family always ask me 'What's up?' Lol.

  • Hiya mollmoll and a big welcome - please ring the British Lung Foundation and speak to them, I am sure they will be able to guide you tel 03000 030 555

  • Thanks for the replies. Having been tested last year for a range of lung conditions, I have been beginning to hope symptoms were 'just' asthma, even if of a more serious nature than before, but everything is taking such a turn for the worse, I am finding myself returning to last year's emotions. Perhaps i should be thankful I had a year feeling a little more hopeful.

    I did speak to a BLF helpline Nurse who concurred with my suspicions of a developing fixed airway disease. She said a day will come that 'it' is not the first thing I wake up thinking about nor the last thing I think about before going to sleep. That would be nice. Is this true?

  • Hi Mollmoll, welcome to the site, sometimes when we have asthma ect chest flares tend to linger. But there comes a time when you sort of sense, as you have done that what is happening is not the usual asthma. Hope you soon get the problem diagnosed and under control. Its the waiting for outcomes that gets you down. These things take time, think a lot of us on this site have been through what is happening to you right now so understand what it is like. Best Wishes for a speedy decision.

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