COPD exacerbation?

As well as Hypothyroidism and Oesophagitis, my mum has COPD, but in April of this year, she was happily paddle boarding, travelling and leading a pretty active life. Then in May, she got ill with a fever/cold, etc... and by the end of May, she was unable to walk across the room because of severe breathlessness. After multiple trips to her GP where she was given different puffers and steroids, she ended up in hospital which was very scary. She had a CT scan and an x-ray showed emphysenatous changes and right sided apical scarring but her lungs were clear and she was sent home after 2 nights with Ventoline.

It is now late November and she is still struggling with her breathing. Odd days are good, but more often than not, it is a battle for her to use the stairs and do everyday tasks such as going into town to the shops. Nothing she has been given has made much of a difference. She finally got referred to a specialist but has to wait until December 3rd to see him/her which means that she has been unwell for 7 months now.

My recent research into thyroid disorders and Levothyroxine in particular makes me wonder if it is this that is exacerbating the problem... I know it's a long shot, but symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness, brittle nails, cold extremities, depression and dry skin.

I just wondered if anyone would care to weigh in as no one from the medical profession has been able to help and I can't bear to see her struggling like this.

7 Replies

  • How awful to watch your mum so Ill. I am sorry I can't help but would advise you ring the BLF helpline on Monday - the nurses maybe able to help,you. The very best of luck, wishing your mum a speedy recovery to good health , with lots of love TAD xx

  • I don't know much about hyperthyroidism but I do know that I was very active in spite of having bronchiectasis until I got a virus in 2011. I then started getting symptoms like your Mum's and palpitations. It took me two years to persuade the docs to test my heart. It turns out that I had developed AF and dilated cardiomyopathy. My consultant said it could have been caused by the virus. The medication helps a lot with the breathlessness and tiredness but I will never be back to how I was. Maybe she should have her heart checked out. Good luck.

  • I too have been wondering about possible links between hypothyroidism and worsening asthma/COPD. My TSH went bananas (scientific measurement) in May 12 and with each increase in Levothyroxine dosage my breathing seemed worse. Both respiratory and endocrinology consultants denied any link. But both are autoimmune issues and both have systemic impacts.

  • Phew ,,exactly the same as me ,but it has been 2yrs for me ,I've just had the ct scan,results in January . He said he would be looking for small blood clots in lungs?, my oxy levels are ok resting ,that's what I do a so im to out of breath to go anywhere but the chemist and docs,I live on my own so I am quiet isolated and get depressed from no help from docs ,not here ,they won't listen to me.

  • it is so sad to watch a person you love so much go down hill fast like your mom has I hope it will not be long for the specialist Wednesday is it not things then should be changing it might be a good idea from now till then to write down any questions you may want to ask the consultant it never fails to surprise me how a diagnosis from a consultant strikes a person dumb and it is only the second consultation with him or his nurse that questions are asked and answers are given.

  • Hi jerryuk and sorry to hear about your Mom. I was diagnosed 10 years ago with COPD and have managed the condition since following everything I have been told to do including stopping smoking. Then Pulmonary Rehab 5 years ago and changed diet and started exercise regularly. Despite exacerbation's along the way I slowly built myself up to get fit enough to take a retirement Cruise of a life time this year in February. I contracted something from the Air Conditioning and at the end of the Cruise came off the ship in a Wheel Chair. I have been very ill ever since. I have seen specialists and various Doctors and tried lots of different antibiotics and stayed on steroids almost all the time since March but I remain rather as you described your Mom. All I can say is I hope we both find something to help us get better soon. So my thought go out to you and your Mom with best wishes.

  • Good idea to write down all the questions you can think of while at home and more relaxed.Just a point,I too have very brittle finger nails,this is caused by all the steroids I,ve had to take because of infections this year.I have very severe emphysema for two years.Hope mum feels better soon and the best of luck with consultation on Wednesday.Regards D.

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