Recently diagnosed with emphysema at age 67. Never smoked.. Lived healthy active life. They say emphysema caused from bacterial pneumonia

Recently diagnosed with emphysema at age 67.  Never smoked.. Lived healthy active life. They say emphysema caused from bacterial pneumonia

I am in a total panicked state after learning I have emphasema and never smoked.  I had pneumonia in February caused by pseudomonas .   Spent three weeks in hospital. Am told no cure, and loss of lung function is permanent. I have very hard time breathing, cough in spasms, and am exhausted.  I was perfectly healthy until pneumonia. 

12 Replies

  • judithelaine it's very scary to be told you have an illness that will not improve especially as you've never smoked and lived a healthy life,but you have to stay positive and fight best wishes x

  • Welcome, Judith. Emphysema is not always caused by smoking as many of our members will tell you. There are other factors.

    Yes, it is a nasty shock to suddenly find you have a chronic condition. You will find a lot of help and advice here.

    We have people here with all sorts of lung conditions. They come under the umbrella title COPD. There is a lot that can be done to alleviate symptoms.

  • Morning.

    I remember the state of shock I was in, You have already been given great advice, can I just add a call to the BLF helpline is a good idea they can give you professional advice. And one last thing please don't Google you'll just frighten yourself and its mostly rubbish, Emphysema is different for everyone.

    Kim xx

  • Good Morning - Don't panic and don't google!   I care for my husband who was diagnosed about 12 years ago and is still going strong at 68 and working full time.  My advise would be to ring the BLF helpline - 03000 030 555 and ask their advise with regards to what sort of care you should expect and they have some really good literature.  I have found that recovery can be slower so be patient and if you have any questions just ask on here.  So many people that care and with so much knowledge.  With much love TAD xx   PS what a fab picture 

  • Welcome to the site, Judith.                 So sorry to hear of your diagnosis. Did they give you inhalers? Have you had spirometry test done?  It always amazes me, how little drs. tell people about their condition. When I talk to my dr., I ask so many questions. Seems they don't volunteer any information, unless you specifically ask them. Do you think you're still not feeling well, from your infection? Hopefully we can help you out.😊 Rubyxx 😊

  • Hi, easy to say but don't panic. A bad pneumonia can take months to recover from and to get back to your normal.

    If you do have COPD then the right medication (preventive daily inhalers, rapid relief inhalers IE ventolin, a mucylotic IE carbocysteine) can really help to manage it. Extra doses of organic veg, vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system (check with GP).

    Most people with it say they manage it and the COPD doesn't manage them.

    Keep using this forum, ask many questions, put anything in the search bar top right and lots of recent & older posts will drop down to help you learn. Knowledge is the key.

    Psuedanomas (put it in the search bar) can be extremely stubborn, I've read here recently that it is often present in sputum samples even when they're reported clear because of the way the tests are performed so perhaps you still have it. 

    I'm not suggesting this is correct in your case but sometimes the medics do get it wrong. A CT scan helps for the correct diagnosis. A GP wrote COPD in my medical notes but tests show I don't have it. 

    Wishing you all the very best - you've found the best forum available to help you. Good luck. Peege 

    PS do ring that number if you're in the UK, office hours. 

  • Good morning judithelaine,

    What a horrible thing to happen to you and to be told that you will not improve is  a double badness.  I have read the responses to your letter, and cannot add anything. Keep positive and follow the advice of people who know first hand.  If that is your husband with you, then you are a very handsome couple. Any worries, just come back here. You have landed in just the right place:-)


  • Hi, it is very shocking to be told you have this condition for which there is no cure. But what we do have is management & people have already given advice about this. My late mum many years ago had 2 episodes of TB. This is a bacteria and it left her with copd. She never smoked and it was irritating to hear Dr's & nurses ask her about her smoking history.. take care. Love Margaret x

  • Possibly but I would check whether you have a genetic disorder called alpha1 antitrysin. It only takes a simple blood test. I was diagnosed with copd when i was 56 but was told if i hadnt have smoked i would have developed copd later on in life. Too long winded to explain here but there are plenty of good articles on the internet.

  • have just read your post Judith ,

    it is normal to feel scared , I know I certainly was after being diagnosed with copd !

    I was frightening my self googling for facts n stuff ( cos nothing was explained to me )  ! !

    then I found this wonderful place , right here , with wonderful people , .............

    so don't you go a " googling "  there is always someone here who understands , and cares .   you are not alone  .

    I hope that you will begin to feel calmer soon , take care ,

    warmest regards , carol x

  • Welcome to the group Judith - nothing much I can add to the good advice above.  There is lots that you can do to help with emphysema - diet and exercise - ask to be referred to pulmonary rehab - it's a great help & you'll meet others with same condition - stay positive xx

  • Judithelaine, having had pneumonia six times since 2006 i`d like to reassure you. A severe pneumonia can take a few months to recover. So take it easy , get plenty of sleep, eat well and above all be gentle with yourself, Sheila xx

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