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British Lung Foundation
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Diagnosed as moderate COPD

After a chest infection GP said my spirometry reading was low and I said it was always like that he said I shoul book an asthma review when well.

I went as I struggle to run or climb very steep inclines without getting out of breath but I can cycle for miles and walk 5 miles a day. So I went as thought I would get exercises etc so that I could do some running.

After tests diagnosed with moderate COPD !

I am 57 and have not smoked since I was 25 and rarely get a cold and never cough. I did have asthma as a child and use Fostair which is great and really helps when I do get breathless on strenuous exercising.

I am going to ask for a second opinion as Find this unbelievable

13 Replies

Hi why is it unbelievable? I know you packed in smoking many years ago but you can still get copd later which it is very common. Even a few people get it without ever having smoked as well. Walking on the flat is much less problematic for us copders than walking uphill and we all struggle with hills and stairs.

You say you have been diagnosed as moderate? Do you know your lung function? I had asthma before being diagnosed with copd and a low peak flow reading is a dead giveaway.

I hope it is a mistake as it can be very hard to distinguish between asthma and copd and if you were diagnosed as mild it could well be, but as moderate I doubt it.

The damage done is irreversible and it is a chronic condition, but you sound very fit and as you don't smoke and if you eat a healthy diet there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to hold it steady for a long time. You need to take any meds you have been prescribed.

Stay with us here because between us we are a font of knowledge and you will get all the advice and support you need. x


I agree. COPD seems unlikely with your history. But I am not a doctor. There are other conditions that would fit your symptoms and test results. Was this diagnosis from your GP or a consultant? Where are you going for your second opinion?

And welcome to this forum.

It is brilliant, friendly, funny and supportive.

K xx


P.S. GPs can be too quick to diagnose COPD as it is cheaper for them not to refer and it is very common.


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Hi Annyalla and welcome.

There are quite a lot of people on here, who like you, had stopped smoking years before diagnosis.

Leonard Nimoy, aka, Spock, had stopped smoking in his 50's and was diagnosed in his 80's.

It's a puzzle but, it seems likely that it is already present at the time of stopping smoking and the stopping halts or slows it right down.

Your bound to be shocked and disbelieving given you stopped so young, crikey, I was in shock, and I still smoked!!! I'm moderate too.

You can ask for more tests or just wait until your next scheduled Spiro.

Your obviously very fit and that's brilliant. The meds will help you continue to keep on top of it.

Stick around, it's a great forum for information, support and a laugh. xx


Having asthma as a child may have something to do with it..........by the time i found out what was really going on with me i have very sever COPD and i was asked all the time if i had suffered from anything as a child..........i wish my gp had taken the effort to tell me what was going on a long time ago x


It's a theory of mine as to why some people can smoke all their lives ( some over 90 years old ) and do not get COPD. It seems a lot of us on here had some sort of lung problem when we were young.

I myself had a hacking cough which I only seemed to get for 2 or 3 weeks every November. I never new what it was though.

It would be interesting to know how many other members had childhood lung related deseases.


Puff, I think you're right and there is a link....I had a very severe case of whooping cough when I was a child. All these years later I can still remember the panic as I fought to breathe. .laying on the floor in front of a smoking coal fire to get warm probably didn't help much either, so by the time I started smoking I'd given myself a head start!


Hi Maxi,I think you have hit on a very interesting point.I come from the cold North East of Scotland and remember sitting almost IN the raging coal fire.It may well be that coal affected us.I stupidly started smoking when I was nine years old so did all the damage very early but coal might have affected a lot of people.Take care!D.


Interesting theory. As far back as I can remember I had the cough which caused comment. Strangely, I don't cough too much these days. My consultant said it was likely something I'd suffered from as a child. Breathing problems are very common in both sides of my family too. My own (previous) disregard for my lungs doubtless didn't help either! 😀


I never had any lung related illnesses as a child but both my parents smoked . I smoked for over 40 years stopped 6 years ago only had one chest infection but I cough a lot and so much mucous (I could hang wallpaper with it ) Diagnosed by GP with moderate copd .I'm still active but its very hilly where I live . peak flow never above 180 .I have just finished PR and I was surprised out of about 12 of us only 2 had a cough a lot said they never coughed or had any mucous we are all so very different



I was diagnosed with moderate COPD this February. I had had few symptoms apart from finding it harder to sing well. What got me to the GP was taking the cable car to the top of Mount Teide in Tenerife and being in severe difficulties gasping for breath at 3500 metres, but fine again when I got back down a thousand metres.

I gave up smoking at the age of 30 but lived with a smoker for many years, and heated my house with coal fires and solid fuel stoves. I also lived in London as a child and experienced the smog. All of these factors may have helped cause it.

I've taken my COPD diagnosis as a wake up call to start looking after my health more and not taking it for granted. The suggestions of lots of people on this site have really helped me make those little changes that will mean so much to slowing the disease in its tracks. It's also helped me identify that the repeated one sided headaches I'd been getting recently are to do with having lower O2 sats when I sit badly.

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I believe a second opinion is in order with a specialist a pulmonologist. As I've read some of the other replies GP's are far to quick to diagnose COPD. Best of luck...remember you know your body better than anyone.

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Hi Ann

When I was diagnosed I was told it made little difference as to the diagnosis as the treatment would be the same. I take symbicort and it has made a huge difference to my quality of life and what I am now able to do. So it works for me.

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