so confused anxiety /copd as feeling ... - British Lung Foun...

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so confused anxiety /copd as feeling as if I cant breathe properly


hi sorry to bother any one , but to cut along storie short ive sufferd with anxeirty for 9 yrs and 4 yrs ago I was diagnosed with early copd , last saterday my throat started to feel abit sore then on sunday I started to cough and had the flem which is a clear colour and had abit of a runny nose and since then ive been feeling as if I cant breathe properly, then yesterday morning because i woke up feeling quite anxuiose and feeling I couldn't breathe properly I ended up foneing paramedics out because I was panicking incase it was my lungs and I was going to die , they checked me over and said that is not my copd as my chest and lungs are clear and im not whezzy and that its a cold I have and as for the feeling as if I cant breathe propery was down to the anxiety, as if it was my copd then i would be whezzy yet I went to see the nurse at surgery on thurday because of the way I was feeling and she told me that it was my copd that was causing the way I feel so now im so confused and don't know who I should believe the nurse or the paramedic as I don't want to keep foning paramedics out and wasteing their time because i don't seem to be able to tell if its my copd or the anxiety that is causeing me to feel as if i cant breathe properly, maybe some one on here can advise me how to tell the difference, sorry for long post I just want to talk to some one who understands the copd thk you

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10 Replies

I do sympathise as often I find it difficult to know if I am breathless because of a problem with my lungs or because I am anxious....and it's easy to get into a vicious circle.

Have you rung the BLF helpline ...they are open during the working week, they have information about anxiety.

Do you take a puff of Ventolin when you get short of breath to see if that helps. Try pursed lip breathing too, in gently through the nose and out gently through pursed lips...repeat a few times, and try to relax which is easier said than done I know.

I have a small hand held battery fan too and you can blow it onto your face.

But if you really can't catch your breath you should ring for help.

Take care and best wishes


That is very difficult - my usband has the same problem. Anxiety causes breathing problems and vice versa! I would tend to agree with your respiratory nurse who deals with Copd. The cold will worsen your condition - it always does with my husband. As knitter says try the BLF helpline on Monday I am sure they can help. In the meantime if you get so anxious call the paramedics. Take good care and go back to your doctor next week and explain. Take good care lots of love TAD xxx

Hi pat3003,

I read TADAWs reply to your post and I agree that you should go back to your gp or nurse and explain exactly how you feel, and ring for help if you feel really anxious and breathless before.

Best wishes

I think any one here that tries to diagnose would be rather fool hardy so to help, try and I mean try controlling your breathing. At this stage, the worse thing you can do, is take to your bed no matter how ill you feel. Get sat up in a comfy chair, wrap a blanket around you if it helps. The reasons bed is out is as follows.

Even if you prop yourself up, you are restricting you lung capacity and the ability to bring flem up.

Drinking is awkward when in bed so you don't take in enough fluids. Increase your fluid levels so that the flem doesn't go sticky and hard to bring up.

Being in bed causes you to become lazy. You need to move around a bit to get your lungs working and keep your circulation going.

You become, dare I say it, slovenly. You end up surrounded by used tissues which can cause you to keep on re-infecting yourself. Rescue a pedal bin from the kitchen or bathroom and put used tissues in there making sure you close the lid every time. Bed is not the best place for infection control. Sneezes and coughs cover you bedding in bugs and so another source of re-infection.

Ok, that's over with, now your anxiety about breathing.

Try not to use your ventolin too often. You can become ventolin dependant. Get in a comfy chair, arms relaxed on the arms or hanging down by your side. Breathing in normal length through your nose, and blow out at the same rate through purse lips as though you are whistling. Do that four or five times. Carry on then, same procedure, but as you exhale make a noise, any noise, at the back of your throat. Different folk make different sounds. Get a nice, easy rhythm going and then gradually increase the time you blow out making the noise every time. Your breathing will come back under control. When you are feeling calmer, slowly increase the length of the inward breath. It works like kind of replaces the old idea of breathing into a brown paper bag for panic and anxiety attacks. Important to remain calm and just try and are going to control things. If you have an oxymeter, before you start, put it on your finger and watch the readings as you do the breathing control. I can get my SATS up from 82/83 to 92/93 within three or four minutes.

The noise you make isn't important as long as you make a noise. It makes you more aware of your breathing and is a sort of distraction therapy. Please sit down and try it. Have a practice run before you need to do it in action. It's a bit like Guiness, It looks good, it tastes good and by golly, it does you good.

Good advice, I always make my bed on the setee,covers and warmth,never resort to bed ,I'd get so depressed in bed,I've got to love tv and things to enjoy,make some nice food ,every day,

hi thk you all for your kind advice and support because i don't seem to get much advice or support off my doctors surgery because i have anxiety for the past 9yrs and always up there they don't seem to take me very seriousely , but i went to see the nurse on thurday to ask her if she could tell me how bad my copd is because the results were back from my chest xray as because i suffer with anxiety and one of the symtoms is the feeling i cant breathe properly or if its anything to do with my copd as i dont know the diffrence and that's when i panic and all she replied was it copd and that there isn't any stages and because im too afraid to take any kind of medication because im afraid of side effects she said that wats the point in coming to see her or the doc if i don't take the medication i am given to help my breathing, so i don't know how bad the copd is she checked my oxygen levils which was 98 which its always like that when they check it . so i don't know weather to go back and chat to my gp or not , don't know what to do for the best , sorry for the long post and rant x


next time phone the national health help line on 111 they will ask you lots of questions fair enough all they want is a general picture of how you are at the time and if an ambulance is needed they will call one for you, it is hard living with COPD but even harder having anxiety nervosa on top as well the two just do not mix.

I'm still trying to find out why I am always sob.........ct scan will show up different things ,sno I hope I get the correct medicine to help, I also have anxiety so who knows without proper care,they don't have time to listen to people anymore,it's just anti b and steroids,which gets dished out at surgerys,no questions asked??? follow up......I don't take either of them,that's probably why ,cause I'm not tripping out on steroids,masking for a short term solution ,phew ,hope I'm wrong ,but it's my experience of surgerys ,I make do with neb.and inhalors, if I had a infection I would take them ,only a few.but I am isolated as much as possible so I don't get germs from people.

Iam really blocked ear nose feel like i carnt breath scares me so much ad it for months doctors doing nothing

in reply to Toni38

Hi Toni,

Welcome to the forum. You have replied to a very old thread here and are therefore unlikely to get any response. If you would like some advice or support I suggest you Write a Post with a question or comment on our Home page - here:


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