Scary diagnosis

Last month, me and my sister cleared my fathers house out, due to the fact he had to go into a care home. He hadn't been upstairs for 2 years and the amount of dust and other stuff was unbelievable. We both developed chest infections. I seemed to be the worst affected. I went to my doctors last week and he sent me for a spirometry test. When I saw him the next day he said I had the lungs of an 85 year old and that I had moderate COPD, I'm 55. When I took the test I was coughing and producing copious amounts of mucus and my chest was really tight,wouldnt this have made a difference and shouldn't he have waited until I,d cleared the infection. I have never smoked, and I spend a lot of time outdoors,i suffer from an anxiety disorder and this has scared me a lot.

14 Replies

  • I agree it should have been done when your infection was clear. our doctors make you wait about 6 weeks after an infection before they do one so i would query this when your feeling better

  • Thank you, I must admit I do get out of breath walking up hills and stuff but there again I'm very overweight, I'm working on this though.

  • You post has put me back on one of my favourite hobby horses: doctors who are too quick to diagnose COPD. If you have never smoked or lived or worked in a place with a toxic atmosphere then it is not likely to be COPD. Not unheard of but unlikely. You say that you get a bit puffed walking up hill. How long has this been going on? Is it gradual or did it happen suddenly? Could this be asthma? Was the Spirometry one with reversibility? Did you do it twice, the second time after a dose of ventolin? That is a very good test for asthma. Did he give you any medication or inhalers? If it really is COPD then you need to be tested for Alpha-1-anti-tripsin-defeiciency. This is vey uncommon but easily eliminated by a blood test.


    Wait until you are sure the infection has cleared and go back.

    Sorry about the interrogation. As you can see it is something I feel strongly about.

    All the best and tell us how things go

    K xxx

  • I did have some sort of inhalant just before the lft but it didn't seem to make any difference, ive read on other posts that a spirometry should not be performed whilst the person is suffering from any respiratory illness.I had been ripping up dusty carpets and stuff and I was also under a lot of stress with my father being ill and the fact that the house had to be emptied in a week. Regarding the breathlessness,i am very overweight,in the past when ive slimmed down ive had no problems with my breathing even when doing very strenuous activities.

  • If I haven't got CODP,i will be relieved but will take this as a wake up call to start taking my health seriously.This forum is excellent and so are the people.

  • It seems like you are going through a stressful time; this together with an infection could affect your FEV1. When you feel better ask for another test & if you still don't agree a second opinion. My lung age has been 114 for years; funnily enough as I age & I have had a lobectomy, my lungs have not aged further. Strange that! X

  • I went for a walk today, about 4 miles, at a fast pace.I was out of breath after the first few steps, then I seemed to get a second wind, once I got going I didn't want to stop. My weight is falling off and I feel so much better, still bringing up the muck but it seems to be clearing. I had a go on a peak flow meter and scored a best of 450, mostly 350 to 400 though. My mate reckons I don't have COPD and that my infection would have skewed the results but I'm a fatalist so ill just have to see what happens. I am still very unfit but I feel better already. I,ve cut out bread, salt and dairy products, apart from milk in tea and coffee. I don't think I'm doing too badly considering I still have the tail end of a severe chest infection. Im so glad I found this site and all the wonderful people on here.

  • Well done for trying to help yourself and getting to the bottom of the lung problems. You have really good readings and some of your SOB might be due to asthma and/or anxiety.

    However I want to offer advice on losing weight. Now I'm diabetic I regularly see a wonderful nurse who advises me on diet.

    I've lost over a stone by cutting out sugar from my diet and cutting back on carbs (bread, potatoes, pasta etc). The nurse told me to continue eating dairy, including butter, cream and cheese because of the vitamins they contain. Also, she advised not to eat many tropical fruits because of their high sugar content

    From the recent news stories it seems that sugar (and carbs) is the demon, rather than fat

  • Your advice is duly noted and appreciated, thank you.

  • Oh you're taking such positive steps to help yourself. Good for you! I do have COPD (wish I had your readings!) but it does seem like an easy diagnosis for the doctors and then they don't need to think about you any more. I have been using medication for about 15 months and my reading has stayed absolutely fixed at about 37%. Recently it was suggested to me that I may have hay fever as well and I was prescribed anti-histamine. Hey presto - my reading went up to about 46%! Sounds small, but it makes an enormous difference to how I feel. And I've struggled with it every summer for years. I can't believe it! Sorry - I've been on a mission to tell people about this all week but I just can't get over it!

    Enjoy your walking - it will help ease your stress - and sounds like it will get easier the more you do too. Very best wishes xpiggix

  • Thankyou x

  • I took myself to A+E on Wednesday evening, I had been short of breath all afternoon and it had got to the stage where I was getting worried. I had an ECG, blood samples were taken, and I had an X ray. The Dr said I had an infection and prescribed me antibiotics, my ECG showed a discrepancy and he was going to keep me in but when he compared it to one I had last year he saw there was no difference, he said it was where my heart had been working hard to compensate for physical effort,( I do enjoy my camping and hiking, although I am overweight, also clambering over slippery rocks whilst fishing. The muscle round the left ventricle had thickened to compensate for the extra force needed to pump blood round various organs during exertion. He did say I needed to keep an eye on myself and get myself in hospital pronto if I experienced chest pains. I never have and don't expect to as I fully intend to lose the extra weight. He wasn't impressed with my GP, said he didn't give me enough information. Since i,ve been on the antibiotics my chest is loosening up and I'm not trying to cough up my spine. I am booking myself in for another spirometry test in August because I'm not happy with the results of the last one, or the diagnosis. I don't think its a good idea to have the test when it feels like your chest is in a vice and you can barely breathe.

  • My father has since died,its been a horrible time in my life,i had to watch my father struggling for breath,day after day,he passed eventually with community acquired pneumonia.I bought a peak flow meter shortly after I was diagnosed(I know they aren't a good indicator of COPD)and the trend seems to be upward,470 is my best reading so far,sob seems to have almost gone as well.I still have a cough and am still producing some mucus but this is the worst chest infection I have ever had,compounded by the dust in my fathers house and extreme stress.when I saw my Gp he gave me some stuff he,d printed off,told me I had the lungs of an 85 year old and that I had moderate COPD, i asked him about medication and inhalers and he said I didn't need them because I was asymptomatic,im going back for another spirometry in august,if I have it then I have to deal with that,however I feel like ive been just left to get on with it.

  • Just had another spirometry,blew so hard I nearly passed out.The results were Fev1 3.96 103% of predicted,Fvc 5.96 123% of predicted.The Fev Fvc ratio was 66% indicating borderline obstruction.Lung age 51,im 56.The nurse said the obstruction could be asthma but I don't fit the criteria.However my chest does tighten up quite often and its not nice.Im back at the surgery for an asthma assessment on the 12th.The COPD diagnosis has been taken off my notes and I officially don't have it.

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