Just Told I have COPD at 39 I am freaking out

I am hoping some of you wonderful people here can tell me some stories of how you have lived a long time with COPD. I have two young children that I want to see grow up. I quit smoking as soon as I was told and never plan to smoke again. I just want some positive post that I can look at when I feel down because I made the mistake of heading straight for the internet when I got home from doctors and and looked at some bad stuff. I want to be as positive as I can but I haven't come to terms with it yet. I am so scared. I am hoping some of you can put my crazy mind at ease and help me get into positive thinking.

27 Replies

  • Hi there! I'm 62, diagnosed at 57 (ex-smoker of 40 a day for 40 years), still working full time, not planning to retire any time soon, expecting to die (of old age) sometime in the next 20 - 30 years ... but I might delay it a bit if I'm still busy enjoying myself!

    Internet's a great place if you want doom and gloom, the odd (sometimes VERY odd, doctor who claims we'll be dead in five years ... always wrong!) and plenty of misdiagnosis .

    Did your GP give you the spirometry results or any other information? Some on here are pretty good at reading and explaining the results if you have them?

    Just accept that you've got it and can life with it without too much of an issue - oh, and well done on giving up the fags ... best thing you can do!

    Stay happy!

  • Hello NGU 🌷

    Get off Dr Google for starters.... Secondly don't panic.

    COPD progresses slowly, and if you take care of yourself, old age will probably get you first 😂

    You have quit smoking, well done, eat healthily, keep exercising, get the right Meds off your GP, keep up with all you flu and pneumonia jabs, stay positive, and ask away on here.....

    The members will offer you brilliant advice, support and even throw in a few laughs.

    There's a helpline, and lots of booklets the BLF will send you.

    Velvet xx 😂

  • Exercise and good diet is the key, you might also want to look into cannabis oil, which has taken me from stage 2 to stage 1 and no medication since December 2015. Search for some of my previous posts about CO.

    One year ago i would be out of breath walking 100 yards, i now regularly cycle 7-10kms ( could do more but the heat gets to me), walk the beach for 30-45 minutes and swim. I have also just started doing some yoga exercises.

    My diet is very healthy as i have cut out all processed food and eat/drink loads of fruit and veg.

    Look after your body and you will be around for a long time yet.

    Do you know what your FEV% is?

  • Try not to worry . Just ask your questions on here and you will get plenty of good advice , Im 56 and planning to be around for a long time and so will you . Allen

  • Welcome to you. You can and will live a long life with good medical care, eating well and doing exercise within your means. Lovely to have children to keep you going.

    Good luck to you and pleased you are on HU. X

  • Very happy to some positive replies to your enquiry,normally like your first reply said it's all doom and gloom,I've been this site for a short time and will admit it can be depressing,I'm 64 retired with 3 mad grandkids and I find taking a bit of care most things are not beyond me.As another reply said stay off Mr Google,he's your worst enemy.I hope you realise it's not the end if the world,as I did eventually,it's just a slightly different one.

    Take care and I hope to read your posts in future.☺

  • I am 47 years and was diagnosed 5'years ago. Probably had COPD 4-5 years before that.

    As others have said take your meds and look after yourself and you probably will be well into your old age before something else gets you!

    One thing I do to try and avoid nasty bugs is to use hand gel before I eat. Especially if I am using my fingers to eat. That is how most colds etc are caught!

    Welcome to the family. We are a friendly bunch here so feel free to ask any questions.

  • Welcome to the site.😊 Amazing people on here! Look no farther for inspiration. You don't say what stage you are. I have moderate copd. Still working. Cleaning a Drs. office 4 hrs. a night. Lots of hard work. Just the exercise I need for my lungs. Up and down stairs, mopping, vacuuming and trash. Glad I can still do it. I've had copd for around 7 years. My advice is to keep doing what you can. Exercise those lungs. My Dr. says that's better than any inhaler. If you need inhalers, then follow your drs. advice. We do have other members around your age, with young children. Hopefully you'll hear from them. 😊 Rubyxx

  • Exesize eat good like veg and fruit any meat not cooked with oil just put in oven foil overtop no oil or water as it will cook of its own juises steam veg not boil and take your meds all you got to do and you should see your kids grow up as you can live a long time with it

    So take care and have a good life

  • As you are so young it may be worth asking for an Alpha1 antitrypsin genetic test as that's mainly the cause in someone so young and if you do have it also then your children can be tested whenever the time is appropriate.

    I completely agree with the above posts. Healthy eating and excercise in fresh air if possible are the best things in the world to fight it off. Get your pneumonia jab and yearly flu jab but don't cut yourself off altogether from people with colds otherwise your immune system will forget how to fight them.

    Well done on the quitting smoking straight away...that in itself is pretty amazing!

    Carry on leading a normal but paced life and you shouldn't find many changes.

    Good luck,


  • Excellent advice from everyone here. An outstanding bunch of people. Can't add any more to what others have said. I do not have COPD. But I now know a heck of a lot about it from this group!!

    Hope it all helps, all the best

    K xxxx

  • H nice to meet you but am sad too that you are on a lungie site with the rest of us. I was going to say exactly what Lorraine said - get tested for a genetic link. It is only a simple blood test so ask your doctor/nurse. It's especially important if you have/had any close relations with copd.

    Apart from that many people have a chronic illness like arthritis etc. and it's just a question of learning to manage it and you can still lead a normal life depending on how severe you are. I would guess you are at the mild stage so you have many good years ahead of you yet.

    One thing to remember is look after your lungs and deal with any problems promptly as they can cause further damage. See your doctor if you think you have an exacerbation as it's much better to be safe than sorry. x

  • Yes, you're in the right place and it's nice to meet you, even though you probably don't want to be here!

    You're young, you have small children and it's a shock. I have COPD and looking back I had it at your age in a mild form. If a doctor had told me, I would have taken lots of the advice you've been given, and would have been better for it. I'm still here and when you're my age you will be too, only I'll bet you'll be better than I am. If you see what I mean. . . . .

    Take care. Sue xxx

  • Greetings

    I suspect that I was born with emphysema - I have the Alpha-1 deficiency, grew up in the industrial north, coal fires, a dad who smoked in the house... My first diagnosis was in 1988, when I was 41. I'm 69 now. Of course, I've deteriorated, but I'm still here.

    Please don't consult Dr Google: you will go from having a mild headache to being dead, in three clicks. Good for you, stopping smoking. That's the really hard bit. Walk as much as you can, to keep up your strength, and come here for a chat, help and to vent off. That is why we're here.



  • Thank you everyone for these lovely posts. I seem to be having a hard time time coming to terms with it. Some days I almost feel like I am having a panic attack. I think the thing that makes this so bad for everyone is that the doctors dont tell you anything and send you on your way. Thank you for all your kind words and I have to say boy am I ever glad I found this site.

  • think many of us find ourselves in same situation with medical fraternity.Think panicy feeling part and parcel of the condition....you begin to realise are things to do to take control of the disease.No smoking,good diet paramount.

    Cheers Piping

  • Don't have anything to add to good advice given above. Would just like to say welcome.

  • Hi notgivingup that is a great name! I was diagnosed with COPD in my early 40's I was a single parent bringing up 4 children. After I was diagnosed I went on to run my own successful business and ran a dance group at my local youth centre. I am now 69 and retired enjoying my 7 grandchildren. Yes I have bad days and infections but I still have a great life even though I am now at the severe stage. Enjoy your life, look after yourself and don't let your disease define you. If you want to ask me anything please feel free to do so lv Barbs x

  • Nothing different to add. Eat well, avoid smokers, bonfires, anything that bothers your lungs. I no longer use aerosol sprays at all as they hurt my lungs and keep a scarf over my mouth in cold weather. Keep moving, get them lungs working hard. I am a born worrier and every infection sends me hysterical so try and learn relaxation techniques or meditation to keep your mind calm. DONT LOOK AT GOOGLE LOL X

  • Big shock for you indeed when you found out as no doubt the reaction we all had although you are somewhat younger. You have received excellent advice and you will continue without getting any b******t. You do what you can do and pause. You do what you can do and pause. You do what you can do and pause. You will be fine for many years to come.

  • Hi Notgivingup101,

    I was the same as you about 3 weeks ago, Iam 39 too and after some xrays was told I had emphysema. I was freaking out that day but this site and its people have helped me so much dealing with it, especially as I had no one to share this news with, I have no kids or partner and dont want to tell my family and worry them more than needed.

    Just like you, I find the lack of information from my GP frustrating: on the one hand you read very scary things on the internet and on the other the doctor tells you you'll be fine, just give up smoking so you do get the feeling they're just sending you away.

    I think it's important to stick to serious sites like these to get informed and supported.

    I really like the way some members are light hearted enough that they make you smile or laugh, that makes a big difference when you come here all worried and stressed.

    I've only done the FEV measurement so far, apparently I got 96% but still have to do some scans on July 7th to quantify the emphysema level.

    I hope you feel a lot calmer, theres some great advice above. I reduced my smoking for the first 2 weeks and have now stopped which is the best thing you and I can do so congrats on doing this extremely hard thing to do.

    Take care.

  • Hi there 101,

    Great place this, isn't it?

    I am 68 and cannot remember exactly what age I was when diagnosed with COPD, (which covers a range of disorders), although, I think it was in my thirties. My father had emphysema too. I also stopped smoking, thank God. As everyone else says just stay fit and healthy by eating good food and exercising....and keep laughing and smiling. It is not a death sentence. One thing I would say is, if you want to know all about it...ask your doctor. I have been on a lot of medical forums over the years and it always amazes me how much Americans know about their own health. They seem to have all the statistics possible. We Brits simply do not ask...so if you want to know, you know what to do! Think hard about this: Worrying about anything is absolutely pointless. It only achieves exhaustion. If you worried 24 hours it would not change anything. If you can master "Not worrying", about anything at all, then you will a much better life!

    Lots of Love

    Urpal xxx

  • Thank you for you reply I like to hear all the positive stories.

  • I've just been diagnosed with moderate copd after smoking for over 40 years it's my own fault I know. I've not stopped yet but over the last few weeks I've managed to get from over 30 per day to 10 or less I know it should be easy to give up totally but I'm finding it a struggle, stupid isn't it? I've been told if I really wanted to I would and I guess they are right! God save me from myself because I am weak

  • I think most smokers can identify with you. :) It isn't easy but it can be done. There is a quit site on here if you want more support with it. You can belong to both communities. healthunlocked.com/quitsupport

    I would also recommend that you see your GP for some help, maybe patches or some other stop smoking aid. Good luck with it all.

    You will find more up to date posts here.


    Welcome to the forum.

  • I joined a quit program and they gave me patches which is how I got down to 10 but they started making me come out in a rash so I stopped putting them on and used an ecig to maintain staying at only 10 as I was afraid I'd go backwards, until I could go see my quit team, they kicked me off for using the ecig I said I figured it was the lesser of the two evils. They said I could try again if I was ready to stop completely and there is the biggest problem. My way of thinking was instead of feeling 30+ was normal I'd aim for 10 is normal until I could do that no problem then reduce again and do same. Yes I'm using an ecig in between but not even close to as often as I would have a CIG. This method is working for me, I've tried quitting many times before this time I'm feeling more positive about being able to achieve it. I know my diagnosis should give me a hard slap but this is the only way that I've stayed at 10 a day and with the help of the ecig I'll hopefully reduce it more, yes I'm still keeping nicotine intake up but its now less per day than 30 plus cigs. I hope you and the others understand why I'm doing it this way. I'm not overweight I'm still out working and I walk my gsd regularly.

  • 10 is better than 30 but none is better than 10. Keep at it. :)

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