I was told that COPD is an inflammation of the lining of the lung which obviously reduces your capacity to breathe as well as you could. Even in a normal healthy person their lung capacity will start to reduce at around 35 years of age. I keep hearing talk of emphysema and bronchitis and I have neither, the only thing that has developed since being diagnosed is a bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms which are putting pressure on my right valve! It's hard to know exactly where you stand when no-one is giving you any explanation! It does depress me not being able to be as active as I was. I'm 53.

7 Replies

  • As always I'd caveat any comments I make by emphasising I aren't medically qualified so just rambling on about my own experiences.

    I think COPD seems to be a bit of a generic term rather than a specific disease. My personal experience is that I haven't ever been given a very specific diagnosis although I've drawn my own conclusions what the problems are. However to be fair to the doctors they have generally described a range of problems rather than saying you have thisorthat-itis & have emphasised getting the right treatment over labelling it.

    You might find it helpful to book some time with a senior nurse practitioner if your surgery has one & talk through what your symptoms & anxieties are, & then if necessary follow that up with a GP appointment. I think (again just my personal opinion) that there are so many permutations of problems that you can end up with that it's more important just to get the right advice on lifestyle, breathing techniques, etc., plus naturally the correct medication which hopefully should become apparent from any sputum samples, CT scans, blood tests, etc. that your surgery or consultant organise.

    Good luck.

  • As Minushabens has said, it is a general term for lung conditions from asthma onwards. The diagnosis nowadays seem to be on treating the symptoms rather than pin pointing the type of condition. The reason is everyone is effected in different ways but the medication required is fairly common. Your activity levels will drop with age as well as any medical conditions and it's too easy to slip into the trap of ending up totally dependant on others. Push yourself a little further each week, replace things that you used to do with things that you've always wanted to do but never had the time. I was always into classic bikes but when they got a tad too heavy for me to push around and get started, I sold up but then went and got a position on the committee for several shows and support groups. Think your self luck...COPD can be limiting but is not so disasterous as a stroke or severe heart condition...we can live with it. It just means you have to nurture and feed your body well, keep a reasonable level of fitness and stay away from folk with coughs and colds.....not a lot different to what we should be doing in our 50's and 60's anyway.

  • Very valid points made re stroke and severe heart attack, I have never thought of COPD in this way.

  • Hello Soothsayer,

    I too was told that COPD is chronic inflammation of the airways. Many people gave emphysema, but not COPD. As of right now, my CT scans do not show emphysema or bronchitis either, so I'm confused as well.

  • Oh, and I'm only sucks

  • I was diagnosed when I was 38. I am now 66 and going fairly strong. The diagnosis to me was a relief. I had been struggling to get my breath for a time before that, so being told what it was and given medication put my mind at rest. I wasn't too happy with the term COPD because to mean that meant I had inflicted it on myself and so for a long time, I never told anyone what was wrong with me. I had been given a way out really because I had been told that I had Non triggered asthma and COPD so I just said Asthma. I am now classed as severe but although smoking has no doubt contributed to it, dust and chemicals was the main cause for me. Luckily the dust contained asbestos but not blue asbestos, so there again I think myself very lucky.

  • I was diagnosed at 51, I'm 54 and I have lost around 35% lung function, I have had bi-pulmonary embolism or a saddle across both lungs, so big it was squashing my heart and have been told it has contributed to the damage to my lungs, hiatus hernia from coughing, my stomach contents come up into my mouth while I'm asleep, it's horrible esp if you aspirated any of the vomit, and losing bowel function, I just read these responses and I don't understand why I'm so ill and others seem to be able to live with it. I've been told I will never go back to work. I used to have an old wooden sail boat I refurbished and lost it. Long story. Living on your own 120 miles away from family is hard work, I'm sorry just moaning.

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