Mortgage Life insurance: Segmental Bullous Emphysema

Hi All,

New to this- will gIve basic lowdown on my condition and then the specific Life insurance problem i have:

I'm age 34, about 5ft 11, 12.5st male.

Smoker of 15- 25 rollies a day for 20 years (Quit last month/ July 10th 2016)

Smoker of cannabis / marijuana back in the day for about 15 years and quit about 5 years ago (quite heavy at approx 50 joints a week/ tobacco and cannabis on top of cigarettes)


In Sept 2015 I went for a CT scan for lumps on my neck- Turned out it was nothing, but they picked up on 'bubbles' in my lungs.

In Jan 2016 I went to an NHS thoracic specialist.

He talked me through the scan / talked a great amount of 'tech-talk' / pointed at things etc I didn't really know what he was saying / meaning as the lungs CT scan looked like a baby / ultrasound scan he was pointing at; but as long as cancer was not mentioned there were no alarm bells.

He mentioned the word bulla / bullae, again, I didn't now what this meant (nor indeed how serious it was)

He said about checking me for the Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency for Empyhsema and told me to quit smoking, it wasn't doing me any favours.

Said that they would get in touch if blood test showed up anything

So I went for blood test straight after this meeting.

I didn't hear anything from my GP so after 2 weeks I phoned them, still nothing- GP said that they would get in touch if there was anything untoward.


In April - May 2016 myself and my partner applied for a mortgage.

I let the insurance company (Legal and General) know about the CT scan and that there was no further implications/ matter closed.

In July 2016 I was at GP's with a hand injury.

I noticed on the GP's computer screen, showing my record it said "Segmental Bullous Emphysema" and freaked out- I said what is that all about?

She said she noticed it an was going to ask me because i was so young.

She brought up a letter from the thoracic specialist that mentioned the cannabis use in the past.

I told her that it was not made clear to me that I actually had emphysema. I was so angry at the 'production-line attitude' of the specialist for not spelling it out to me- either by handing me a summary of the discussion we had or at least scheduling some sort of follow up coaching / counselling.

Such a sh**ty way of finding out you have emphysema.

As soon as I left the surgery I bought and read the Allen Carr book and, although difficult, I am smoke and nicotine free since a week after reading that computer screen.

GP said that my tests show 103% and 106% performing better than expected (though i don't know if that means they thought my lungs were mangled and that they predicted they should have been worse?? meeting a respiratory nurser next week to go through scan again, i requested the specialist but got the nurse)

My problem now is- with the insurance company.

The GP said that its best to let insurance company know as "they can be b***ers"

She said that they will be able to provide the insurance company with tests that show i have better than normal lungs, function wise.

Will our current life cover be obsolete now?

Or will it go way way up?

We have 'critical illness' cover too.

Please can someone advise the best thing to do as the whole situation was borne out of miscommunication.

PS- Sorry for the long text, just giving background to an awkward, confusing, stressful and frustrating situation.

Many Thanks,


16 Replies

  • Can't advise on the legal side but I have bullous emphysema also, my GP had asked me how much canabas I smoke lol never touched the stuff, only menthol cigs for 20+ years.

    Ask for a lung function test and ask to see a lung specialist they will talk you through things.

    Keep off the cigs and educate yourself, east exercise and educate yourself on emphysema.

    Ask away as I'm sure the great people of this site will be along shortly.


  • Thanks @David1968

    I'm glad you chipped in- your posts came up when I searched "bullous emphysema" and I've read the most of them and they've been really helpful, thanks.

    I'll be honest- The lack of smoking is making me a little crazy.

    Part of me wishes I hadn't seen the screen in the GP's office- like "ignorance is bliss"

    I am just really, I don't know, like not depressed?.. just I'm finding nothing enjoyable and have no motivation to do things.

    Apparently this feeling should have passed at the 1-2 week mark so i'm a bit worried i might just say to hell with quitting full time but change my diet/ exercise etc-

    I feel like cardboard to be around and couldn't be ar**d putting on / faking that it's all ok.

    Bought a vape pen there- probably not the best thing - but it's one of those refillables and i'm only using CE marked liquid with Zero nicotine...

    It's all so silly- Wee tickle to the throat and seeing a gas come out of your mouth... can make you feel ok for 2minutes... I know it's silly but it is some kind of comfort.

  • Note to self: Some nice up to date info to help gaining freedom from lung paint.

  • 'A good way to look at nicotine addiction is as a demon that is dying. Smoking urges are the demon struggling to get you to feed him. The longer he goes without being fed, the dimmer his voice gets. He will eventually starve to death. As he gets weaker, the strength he is losing is being transferred to you. You are gaining strength each time you are successful at not smoking.'

    You WILL do it - it is only a matter of time. Envisage the black cloud of death around a smoker's head and turn around and breathe the good, sweet air of the non-smoker. It's hard but it's not impossible. Many of us started out where you are.

  • I have been off cigs for over four years now and I absolutely love cigarettes. I also love to eat food and now have Diabetes. I have a double whammy. I did not quit cigs because I have COPD. I had to stop smoking them because they were making me gravely I'll. I tried to smoke a cig 2 years ago and I got sick for almost 24 hours. Sick enough to have to lay on the couch all day and rest. I only recently found out that my lungs are only functioning at 46 percent. I feel like my life is cardboard as well. I have to inject mega amounts of insulin (enough to kill a horse) just to be able to eat a few slices of pizza without damaging my body. I hate it. But what can you do? It is what it is. We either stay off the cigs or get too sick to be able to smoke them. Or we can continue to smoke and smoke ourselves to death (in my case I'm eating myself to death). Any how, at least you discovered this problem before it started to affect your breathing and activity levels. You are in a really good place to turn this all around and keep your lungs functioning at an optimal level. In some cases, they can even remove the bad part of your lung and you will be in good shape for many years to come. Hang in there! You're not alone!

  • Hey blizzard2014

    That's really sucky about the diabetes. Sugar addiction is something I had a wrestle with too!

    Steven Fry had some humourous ways with words on his addictions

    The annoying thing is where you constantly think about your health- like a month ago I just didn't really care too much - it's only when you get bad news you sit up and listen.

    As you say - it is what it is -

    I've found that after spending 3 weeks in front of a computer to convince / affirm to myself that smoking is ridiculous (looking at diseases lungs, wasted bodies etc) that yes, it's kept me off the smokes,

    but if I keep on looking at these pics, reading about the bad stuff etc you'll just wind up constantly unrelaxed and on edge, unable to get on with life.

    Last night I literally wrote a letter to my old friend 'Smoking'

    Cheesy as it sounds it was very therapeutic .

    My friend turned their back on me and started hurting me, irreparably

    I was quitting smoking.

    Now I have quit and I am glad to be, I always can go back, but that's a bad friend I'd be visiting.

    That's the issue people have- no option- when you HAVE to quit when you don't really want to (ah nicotine, the perfect drug, a role model for all other drugs!).

    I realised I don't HAVE to- I have a CHOICE, but it would be a bloody stupid choice.

  • I have a blood clotting disorder, so I am always on high alert. I also feel guilty for allowing my diabetes to run out of control for three extra years after my diagnosis. I keep on focusing on all of the damage I have done to my body. You have to strike a balance between monitoring your illnesses and living your life. I know it is easier said than done. But at least those bad pictures you've looked at on the internet got you to change your ways. I had a friend of a friend who was dying from emphysema and smoked until his last breath. He would hide in the bathroom with his oxygen tank on and smoke cigs through an open window. He was never going to change. He was a true smoker through and through. You're on the right path now. That's all that matters.

  • Also, you can't change other people. Don't try and go on an anti-smoking crusade lol. That is what my mother did after quitting until I kept through it up in her face that she smoked in the house when I was a baby, child, and young adult. She backed off. I tried to help one of my other diabetic buddies who eats whatever he wants. He just argues with me and keeps his blood sugars high. I have given up most sugary foods, all sugary drinks (I used Splenda), and I use insulin to keep my blood sugar in check. I however could not give up pizza, bread, and some other carbs, I can't eat just meat, so I use large amounts of insulin to correct my blood sugar. You can't make other people change. All you can do is change yourself and work on yourself.


  • Hi djdj....thought I'd chip in too...but only as far as the smoking is concerned. long of a story on the medical side.....

    I did read your post soon after you posted....but as i was not fully awake and i could see by the one reply you had. ..and had already taken the frist and the most important step to get control on your health by stoping smoking. ..I thought I'd wait untill I had more time to write to you.....

    For sure I was going to respond to your post as could feel you was struggling. .

    I was a chain smoker for the best part of 50 years ....I was diagnosed with asthma +copd and that has brought on other problems. ....

    Diagnosed 14..11..2014 but did not know until May 2015....I stop the same day and have not gone near them since..

    I had always found it had to describe the fear that I was now living in....still am..that will never go....the urge to smoke never really leaves either.

    How did I stop... 50% is how Mrs mummy describes it ...that's exactly how it was for me...

    The other 50% come from looking and holding on to my two little boys...for who i had sold everything i had so i had the money to look after them as a single parent... and to add to that having another on the way with my new girlfriend ....she 10 months now😆so so beautiful 😇😇😇

    Hope my response will help you get things into perspective.

    Regards Andy.

  • Hi, David, what an awful way to discover your diagnosis. Are you able to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau? They may be able to clarify how you approach the life insurance issue and help you with contacting the companies involved.

  • Hello David , can't advise on the illness but many on here can. Understand you being upset at how you received the diagnosis, but that is often how it happens in the NHS, unless it is cancer. You are young to have this but with care you probably will reach a ripe old age especially as your lung function sounds good. The insurance is a different matter, the one you have could remain as you only just got a diagnosis, however underwriters will no doubt want you to take a new one so they can charge you more. Not sure if this illness comes into your crtitical illness cover either, if it does you could make a claim. Travel insurance will be dearer from here on in too. I would not tell the insurers if your policy was in force before the diagnosis, however if it is not valid you would be paying premiums for nothing. What about seeking advice from Citizens Advice, but beware all insurance underwriters vary in their approach. It is usual for nurses to deal with lung conditions once diagnosis is reached. Hope all goes well for you and communication improves from here for you.

  • Unfortunately he still needs to tell his existing insurance people of the change in health otherwise he will not get anything at all, should David need to claim, because somewhere in the small print it will mention about notifying them of any changes. I would, however ask the citizens advice first. There is another group of lawyers who give initial advice for free, but I can't remember their details. Citizens Advice might know, or other members may come along with the details.

  • That's it @ergendl / WheezyAnne / katieoxo60 / soulsaver

    Many Thanks to all who have replied, it makes a huge difference knowing there are real people who are in/ have been in my situation.

    I need to tell the insurance company, otherwise inn throwing money at a useless cause.

    On a few nights 'sleep' I can see things a little more clearly now.

    No matter how you'd explain the NHS miscommunication to the insurers, it would look like you were lying on your original claim to get cheaper premiums.

    It's just added stress, but one that's in my control and, like most things in this world, sorted (and indeed caused) by money.

  • Long question, short answer. You tell your insurer - or you commit fraud; and take the risk they won't pay in the event of your death... irrespective of the cause.

  • there called the law can buy zero per cent vape liquid.go to proper e cig shop they will be able to help u with the right sort of e cig too.hope u get on ok with insurance people.i would ask to be referred to a lung consultant via dr.all the best.

  • Hey reiver

    Yea been using the 0% nicotine tobacco flavour vaping as a crutch in moments of weakness.

    It tastes nothing like a burning plant lol

    And after a few puffs I realise how ridiculous the whole thing is and put it away!

    It's just good to have that option I guess

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