COPD FEV1 level dropped 20% in one year!!!

Hi everyone. Just been for my annual copd spiro test and am very upset. I have been told my fev1 has gone down from 69% last year to 49% this year despite my stopping smoking and exercising. The year before it was 56% and I was so chuffed last year that it had risen to 69%.. It makes no sense even though I know the results are true as I recently bought a COPD6 spiro devise (I presumed the readings were wrong on it but... no)

I am 59, slim and active, do not use inhalers or meds for my COPD. Just get a bit breathless with hills /gradients. I dont know what to think :( What to do as I have gone from mild COPD to severe in 3 years. At what stage does one need oxygen?? My oxygen sats are regularly 96% Is anyone else in the same situation?? Take care Chris

16 Replies

  • I can't really help Chris but just wanted to say welcome and someone will be on soon who can help. Xx

  • hi chriskho...I have read of other's on this site that have had big drops with there FVE1 from there last test...but there have been others who have had big improvements ....

    I had a very big improvement...from 54 to 73.......looking back I think it was that I was ill when the first was done...and I did stop smoking.

    I'm due for a test soon and for some reason i feel a bit worried 😦

    so I can't say don't worry about it because we all worry ..but the more knowledge you can get on your condition the better you will be able to handle it...

    you come to the right place...

    regards Andy.

  • Maybe diet and toxins ( toxic cleaning products ) I'm mild emphysema/ COPD. I tossed out all cleaning products and replaced with safe ones and got an air purifier. I also got rid of perfumes and anything with lots of scent. Improved my diet 150%. I've been gluten free for years but recently went of all dairy. My chest still feels tight occasionally but cannot hear any more wheezing. I'm also super active, I joined a gym and do lots of weights to gain muscle on top of walking 30 to 60 mins a day. I'm new to all of this as well. Still learning and find all sorts of good advice on the web site. I've only had one lung function test and I was 78%.... Everything else fell in to normal range.

    You'll get lots of advice here I'm sure

    Many blessings ❤️

  • Do make sure you're getting enough calcium through other foods, if you've cut out dairy, FreshFlowers3.

  • Wow78 percent I think a lot off people on this site would luv 78 percent I'm at 38

  • Have you been feeling more breathless or tired this year? The humidity always affects me at this time of year, and would also affect any Spirometry reading. Have you been soldiering on when you had infections instead of seeing the GP? Just a few thoughts on what could be going on. Oh, and you don't need to worry about oxygen as you need to be regularly between 88 and 92% for most of the time to need oxygen. Some people find that their oxygen level falls below 92% when exercising, so have oxygen on activity only.

  • Usually 88% is the cut-off point WheezyAnne. I use ambulatory O2 after infections when my sats are lower than 88%. Currently I don't need it as they are between 89 - 91% when walking. There may be a reason why an individual needs it at the level you are saying - we are all different - but Ive never come across it.

  • Maybe you have an infection lurking away? I'm 52% fev but don't have oxygen and still live an active lifestyle. Don't worry, I hate numbers and just do what I can do (quite a lot) and live my life to the full xxx

  • That is a big drop Chrisko. I would ask for another LFT in a week or so as many different things affect our fev1 and maybe you were having a bad day for one reason or another.

  • Hi that sounds like a big drop so no wonder you are concerned. Have you ever had a CT scan? That might explain why so I would ask for one. x

  • Hi Chris, welcome to the site. I have asthma & copd. Last year my fev1 improved a lot. This year I think it will be worse because my Peak flow is down from 220 to 100 -140 some days. This is for asthma but if the peak flow is down the fev1 usually is.I think the pollen & humidity have been very bad this year, affecting many people with lung disease. Have you tried asking your respiratory nurse why she thinks you have a large decrease. Maybe ask if you can be referred to a consultant? Take care, Margaret

  • But how do you feel in yourself? Do you feel like its dropped by so much? You seem to be managing very well. Its just a number. Keep as active as possible. O2 isn't determined on your FEV. It works for some people but not for others. I am at 26% but still work full time and swim. Try not to get too hung up on your numbers - it can be really self-defeating.

    Give the BLF a ring for some advice too. They are excellent.

  • How do you swim having a shower takes my breath away

  • I just do. I have pulmonary fibrosis rather than COPD so I am not sure if that makes a difference. I find swimming incredibly relaxing. I take it slowly and it is tiring. I definitely do get out of breath swimming but not as out of breath as I do getting dressed. I am just back from a swim. I managed a mile today - my first in a long time. :-)

  • Hi Chris, reading through posts you put up before, it does seem that your FEV is swinging up and down. I think it takes a long time for your chest to settle when you give up smoking. When do you next see a respiratory nurse? If your reading is still low at that time perhaps you will need to discuss using some medication. Don't give up. You're only 1% the wrong side of moderate/severe. Lots of people here with very low readings and functioning pretty well most of the time. Whatever you do don't stop your exercises - it's only a number - go with how you feel. Xpiggix

  • Thank you all so much for your very kind and caring remarks I will see my Go on Tuesday to discuss the Spiro results I'm sure they are right because I purchased one myself and got the same result(thought it must have been wrong) will see what she advises as the copd nurse could not be bothered. Please take care of you all C

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