British Lung Foundation

Confused about COPD/Asthma

Hi everyone,

I'm new here and so glad I found this forum. I'm looking for a little insight into a world I've just entered.

Back in October of last year I started to cough at night an annoying tiggly cough which ended up in me gagging then it stopped. It gradually got worse over time so I finally 5 months later went to the doctor. He started me off with lanzaprazole, (for gurd). Then nasal spray for post nasal drip non of which worked. Then he gave me a blue inhaler pump which helped a bit, then a brown pump which has helped a bit more. However I'm still coughing most nights and when walking uphill I get so breathless it's horrible. I've bought a Fitbit and am doing around 20,000 steps a day which on the flat is fine but uphill kills me. I'm overweight being 5ft 6in and 15st 8lbs. So my final question is should I still be breathless on these inhalers. I've been told that I shouldn't really need the blue one now. Thanks so much karen

6 Replies

Hi Karenthegreat first of all welcome to our forum. You are in the right place for any information or support regarding anything to do with lung problems. I'm sure you will also make lots of new friends here as well.

Unfortunately breathlessness cane be caused by a number of things and until you are checked out properly you won't know for certain what is causing it.

Suffering from gurd can also cause many problems with coughing and can also do damage to lungs if the stomach acid is allowed to reach that far. I suffer from gurd myself, have IPF and it was thought that was the cause of the damage to my lungs. Decent medication can control the gurd with good effect.

Not sure what to suggest about the inhalers except that if they aren't working for you, talk to your Doctor again with a view of trying something else.

Like yourself I was a bit overweight which wasn't helping with my breathing. Since being diagnosed with IPF I have lost weight and my breathing is much better.

From what you have said it could be a combination of things causing your breathlessness. A visit to your Doctors is definitely in order. So you don't forget anything, write down your concerns and if your Doctor can't answer them ask if you could be referred to a Pulmonary Consultant. You'll get various tests and better looked after.

I'm sure if I haven't answered all your questions there are load of good folk on here that will do their best to sort you out.

Regards. John


Karenthegreat welcome to the site I think you need someone like stone whose very knowledgeable to help with your questions best wishes x

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Hi have you done the asthma test? Are you a smoker? I'm in a similar position to you at moment - however asthma has been eliminated (I think?!) they want me to do spirometer testing to thoroughly check out my lungs. I'm not a smoker, never touched one! Just feel shattered everyday but I think that is down to fact that I don't get enough sleep and do way touch during the day! Eg bed at 1-1:30am and awake most mornings at 6-7am!! I'm a bad sleeper too. Anyway keep in touch and update when you can? I'm sure you'll be fine:)

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Hi Karen nice to meet you. Are you or have you even been a smoker? If you have then it is possible you have copd. It is fairly rare to have copd if you haven't been.

Have you had the relevant tests? A spirometry test can determine whether you have just asthma or copd or both. The acid test is if your meds return your breathing to normal then it is probably just asthma, if not then it is much more likely to be copd.

The brown inhaler is a preventer ie it opens your airways, the blue one is a reliever to be used as and when you are breathless. You shouldn't need the blue one more than 3/4 times a week and if you do then the preventer usually needs to be increased.

If you haven't had these tests then I would go back to the doctor and ask for them. They are usually carried out by a respiratory trained nurse. If you have had them then you should have a firm diagnosis.

However if you are having breathing difficulty you need to go back anyway and ask for a review of your meds. I had asthma for many years and my inhalers were no longer so efficient, then I was diagnosed with copd so they were changed. As a result my asthma was much more controlled as well. You have to be proactive with doctors and insist on help. x

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Welcome to the group Karen


Hi Karen...just on reading that your hight is 5ft 6in. .we all have difference in our build so our height doesn't determine what we should weigh ..but as you have said you are over weight...I would say by about 20 kilos.....about the same as me....that alone can play a big part in your breathlessness. And it will allso put your body through unnecessary stress.

I am 5ft 6in now..and 66 years old...I was 6 weeks ago a massive 88 kilos and could not see my feet when standing have drop to 78 kilos...I intend to to lose another 10 kilos in the next 3 months. ...

if I can do it you anyone can do it.

Andy ☺


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