Desperate for some advice and information please

I haven't been on here for ages, have been so unwell. So my sincerest apologies to everyone I hope your all doing well.

Apparently i had copd but doc has changed his mind its acid reflux!! yeah right. For what i know the cough related to acid reflux is a nocturnal cough. I'm coughing all day and all night, coughing up yellow/green mucus, had several courses of antibiotics but the infection keeps coming back. Doctor has grudgingly agreed to repeat spirometry, I last had it done two years ago and was apparently on the cusp of copd.

What i was wondering was how does spirometry work? Do people with copd take longer or shorter to blow out? What would you expect to find in spirometry results in people with copd?

Sorry for all the questions, I would just like to be armed with as much information as possible for when i go back to get test results. Also should i be referred to a specialist or would the useless GP just deal with it.

Many thanks to you all

19 Replies

  • When I was at pul rehab WELL seeing guy women AS I don't do this group holding hands singing Kumbayah stuff mainly coz of infection's

    Lung rehab guy told me nifty little trick ANYWAY he asked me to take deep breath in then hold my breath FOR how ever long I was comfortable with that did not cause me distress.

    Well I held mine for 90s and believe me when you have lung diseases that's a miracle especially as some he was saying can't hold it for 20s with out passing out.

    Might not be as presice as spirometry BUT on scale of cooked beans is best estimate layperson could have wondering.

  • Thanks, will give it a try, hopefully no passing out though

  • hi can get all the information you need on the internet. .on reflex.

    with acid's well known that it can mimic asthma and course mucus..well that what my doctor / proffer told me...

    from what you say the colour of mucus it's very likely you have an infection and you need antibiotics. ..

    most people on here are from the U.K. so there's not many about this time of the morning. ...


  • Thanks andy, i'm a bit of a night owl lol. Agree with what you say about the colour but doc wont even send sample away to find out what bacteria are in it.

  • Hi jules, have you had your sputum tested at all to see if you have any infection and if so what antibiotic is needed?

  • Hi Knitter

    I've had it tested loads in the past nine months and every time its a different bug. Also had many different kinds of antibiotics, i'm usually ok for about a week to ten days after i have finished the course but then the whole green mucus thing starts all over again. Doctor refusing to send sample away this time, he wouldn't even provide a rationale for that

  • There will be lots of different measurements with spirometry Jules, but the key one is the FEV1 (= forced expiratory volume in one second) i.e. as much breath as you can blow out in one second. Then there is the FEV1/FVC which is the FEV1 as a percentage of the forced vital capacity (total of all the breath you can blow out in one second including the FEV1).

    The FEV1 indicates how much obstruction there is in your lungs, and the stage of copd you are at. It is recorded both as a volume in litres, and as a percentage of what would be normal for a person of your age, gender and weight. Mine for instance is 32% which puts me in the severe category. Mild is over 80%, moderate 80-50%, severe 50-30% and below 30% is very severe. These are also known respectively as stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 and stager 4.

    They will talk you through the breathing tests while you are doing them and they usually do three, recording the best one.

    If you google, you'll find sites which explain a lot more - there are other measurements including the peak flow (asthma) but you asked about copd and spirometry - i think this is pretty much the main stuff indicating copd. Others may come on with more.

    Sailor is right that acid reflux can give asthma like symptoms so is sometimes misdiagnosed as asthma. If your cough is worse at night try raising the head of the bed about 7 inches, and don't eat less than 3 hours before going to bed.

    Good luck with the spirometry. Take care :)

  • Thanks for your reply 02trees. will go have a look on internet. I have tried raising the bed but it made no difference. I only get a few hours sleep a night but have to be sitting up right in a chair

  • Ask about a Flutterer tp help you bring up the mucus. I cough all the time and it wears one out! I have recently been put on Carbocisteine - three or four a day and it helps thin the mucus and I find it very helpful. I take Lanzaropole - one each evening and that helps the acid reflux and ever since I have been taking it I have never had hearburn! - not once! Do you keep propped up at night? I sleep in my chair (recliner) or have masses and masses of pillows and cushions on the bed....keeps your reflux from acting up and also helps prevent constant coughing. Good luck :) Don't forget, we are all unique, so we have to find out for ourselves.

  • Hi Louisiana

    Thanks for your reply. Will look into flutter device sounds like it would be helpful. I've had lanzaropole before, tried many others too, but they only seem to work for a short while. I've decided i'm just weird!

  • With COPD it takes longer to get the air out of your lungs so to answer your question about whether people with COPD take longer or shorter to blow out they generally take longer.

  • Thanks, thats very helpful

  • I think you should ask for a referral. Acid reflux is a known cause of bronchiectasis. Bronchiectasis is often misdiagnosed as COPD. You need a CT scan to diagnose bronchiectasis. If you do have bronchiectasis you must have longer courses of antibiotics, at least ten days, often longer. This could be why your infections never clear up. I would ask to see a respiratory Consultant initially and then you can be referred on if necessary for the reflux. Your GP will not be able to get you the proper diagnosis. Meanwhile you have had some good advice about sleeping raised up etc. I use a bed wedge, brilliant.

  • Hi Evermore,

    Have never heard of bronchiectasis, that's interesting though. I'm going to go and have the spirometry done next week and if I'm no further forward i'm defo going to ask for a referral. I've tried using a wedge, sadly not much improvement so i sleep upright in a chair and have done for the past two years. oh how i long for my bed.

  • Can you not ask these questions to your Dr and for an explanation of how one symptom is related to the other. Reflux( stomach acid) get up into oesophagus and agitates/burns. It can affect the wind pipe and coughing starts. This can cause soreness and slight breathing problems. Unfortunately food and the air we breathe out are using the same passage and effect each other. Hope yr not a smoker.

    Get yr Respiratory nurse to explain if you feel the Dr does not give you the answers you need. Be positive and assertive, your body yr life and your entitlement.

  • Hi Patricia,

    I did ask him. I quote his response was "i don't have time to get into that" not very helpful. I don't have a respiratory nurse

  • Hi Jules1967

    I find that horrendous you have paid for this service Do you have a local health center you could go to?

  • they said I had copd then they said I stil had ashma done spirometry las year said it was a better result from 4 years ago I hav a hitu hernia and I use to have acid reflux I don't have it now that's doctors for you

  • you are right there lol

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