British Lung Foundation
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New with copd

Hi I'm new to this group I was diagnosed with asthma which a I already had and moderate copd I get really breathless walking short distances and going upstairs to bed when I'm breathless and can't catch my breath I panic which makes it worse and my heart beats faster I already suffer with anxiety depression and borderline personality disorder which doesn't help I have the lungs compasty of a 71 year old I'm 49 what is the estimated time of life where you can get about also I've been given steroid tablets and steroid inhalers for past five weeks tablets only 7 days and put 1stone 4lb in that time doctors told me I have to lose weight but how can I if anyone could help me would be grateful also still smoking as just found out and have smoked for 35 years was on 40 a day cut down to 15 and hope to cut it further but feel I 've done well to reduce it that much please don't concentrate on the smoking as I know I have to give it up and will discuss it with my copd nurse when I see her Tuesday need advice on the other things many thanks colette

12 Replies

I know you say don't concentrate on the smoking but it is vital that you stop...It takes a lot to get over a panic attack about breathing...I found that thinking about good old days while doing everyday things or even lying in bed helps me. With your depression it will make it seem worse and don't know if you can get your head around will change as you do things you need to do to get through this...learning to eat a bit differently...A bit more gentle exercise....and stopping smoking which is tough but so worth it....panic attacks are quite common with this disease but can be controlled..

Your doing the right thing seeing the nurse.

I hope you get it under control

Keep in touch


Hello Colette, and Welcome to this group. The 7 day course of steroid tablets are there to reduce inflammation in your lungs, so the inhalers can keep it at bay normally.

The weight gain, I am sorry to say, is normal with steroid medication, so I tend to eat little but often to stop me snacking out on the 'nicer' things like crisps etc...the things we do to keep out figures eh boys n girls !!

Again, panic attacks are normal, as your blood oxygen has probably dipped in level and your body is saying that something is wrong... recognising that you are having a panic attack... find an object or a spot on the wall, look at it as a point of focus, and try to slow your breathing down by breathing in, counting to 2 then slowly breathing out and repeat. When having a panic attack breathing becomes rapid and shallow, so more carbon dioxide is breathed out and less oxygen breathed in. Slowing your breathing rate down gives your lungs, heart and brain to re-synch so more oxygen can get into your system.

As for smoking... you know what to do ...

Don't think about time of life etc... just keep active as you can. The thing with COPD that if you do a little more each day then things get easier i.e. the more you do, the more you can do ( seems a funny expression, but it is true ) so whenever you walk, pick a spot ahead and as a reward for reaching that spot and being mildly breathless have a 10 sec breather, then pick another spot to reach etc. Potter about in the house etc, just be as active as you can be. Remember that you rule it, it doesn't rule you.

Ask your nurse if you need additional meds like Singulair and Mucodyne, and also ask if there are any pulmonary rehabilitation classes in your area. Pulmonary rehab is a godsend, as they give you light aerobic exercises, breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, how to take inhaler meds, different types of meds and a whole lot of useful stuff. And it helps to get out and discuss your experiences with COPD and find out how other people cope with things.

I take it that from the things you have put here that you live in Britain...And dont worry, I have a baby's chest, it never goes anywhere without a rattle.

Hope this helps Colette.


Hi Colette

Welcome to the group. If you read through a lot of the old posts using the search you will find lots of good advice from people in your situation. The main thing is to try to prevent your condition getting worse and there is a lot you can do.

Ask your doctor to refer you to a Pulmonary Rehab course. Your Copd nurse will know. There you'll learn about your condition, medication and how to use your inhalers, diet , how to exercise as well as meeting other people with Copd.

Follow this up with regular exercise even if it's just walking in the fresh air every day. You can get the free exercise DVD from the BLF.

Improve your diet to include fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meat, fish and whole grains. Maybe take a multivitamin.

Read the ebook Pulmonary Wellness by Noah Greenspan. It's a good basic introduction covering all aspects of Copd . Google it. He also has some good videos on YouTube.

You have done well to cut down your smoking but you need to give it up completely to prevent further damage to your lungs. I managed it after several attempts with nicotine gum and lozenges and the support of the nurse at my doctors.

You have to put yourself and your health first from now on.

Good luck and take care and let us know how you get on.




Sorry to hear your not feeling good in yourself. Panic anxiety is not a nice feeling at all .

I know you said about your smoking and you have cut down which is good and you know you have to stop so going forward with and choosing not to smoke will benefit you in the long run so all the information from your nurse Tuesday should help good luck..

Losing weight and breathing better can also be discussed at the appointment ask her for a referral to pulmonary rehabilitation it's brilliant for people with lung conditions and your monitered during exercise. If the panic and anxiety are a long term condition then see your GP he could refer you to a counsellor maybe to get to the root of the panic attacks

Hope everything works out

Angie x


I am sorry to say that the only way to improve your overall condition is to stop smoking. A number of members have gone through this and know how difficult it is especially when you have anxiety. But with support it can be done. You must slowly build up your exercise as others have suggested pulmonary rehabilitation could help you. Lastly you need to diet. It's a hard road and in many ways a very lonely one at times. Don't be hard on yourself and take each day as it comes.


Hello Collette.

I know how you feel. I have the lungs of a 95 year old. Doesn't make one very enthusiastic about anything really. 😑 The steroids are a bummer. Weight gain and bloating annoys me so much. I try to make sure I move around every day even if I am just out for a short walk. It doesn't stop weight gain completely but it does help a bit.

Everyone here has given you very good advice. I don't have much to add except please try not to isolate yourself. It makes things much worse. Also, please know we are here for you.

Let us know how you get on?

Take care.

Cas xx 🌿🐞🌿🐞


Hi I can't add anything to the excellent advice you have had except to say there is a very good quit smoking site on here called Quit. It might be a good idea to join it. Good luck.

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hi, i was a smoker, I tried patches, tablets, e-cigs, everything. Only way i could do it was cold turkey, so you'll find a way that suits you, if you really want to.

I put loads of weight on too, I found that really depressing. rather than looking to 'exercise' I found looking to say active helped. So when I feel I cant do anything other than sit, I try leg raises. I have little weights so i can exercise my arms

I also tried writing three things down that i wanted to do in a day... small jobs 'eg' washing the pots.. I know this sounds daft, but take a photo (on your phone) of a before shot - so a full dirty sink of horrible dishes - then take a photo after - a lovely clean, tidy, sparkling sink - looking at both photo's is so positive and seeing the finished job even thou its small was so helpful for me and the feelings of depression, just make sur you put things on the list that are do- able.. One day brushing your hair may be the top job on your list, so use things like that too xx take care


I love the before and after idea Moza-x- . ❤

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yes it works really well, because a day or two later you may feel really down, or poorly. but you can look at the before and after photos and it's a reminder to yourself that you DO have good days and it inspires you to do a little list for the next day xx ... I have lots of photos, i keep the best ones xx


Hi Colette , good to hear from you

My name is Diana and have moderate COPD same for me with breathlessness, of course got a very active puppy in Feb after my Springer died in Jan , so walking has become an issue like yourself , twice I've had to come back home because of this , I believed eve I am getting better after my exacerbation so she will help me to exercise regularly , think you've done really well with smoking , I've a vape ciggie but have been smoking since 14 yrs. am now 62 , people on here are very supportive and friendly so keep sharing your stuff, and remember Rome wasn't built in a day , xxx


Hi, Colette. Hope you're having a better day today. You've been given some great tips in this thread, so do try them. All the best, M.


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