Catching it early

Morning, I was reading an article stating how important it is to catch COPD early.

I don't really understand the importance of this as it is a progressive disease that will get worse no matter what you do. If you have already given up smoking then what else can you do? I believe the inhalers are more of a mask than an actual treatment as they only relieve the symptoms.

If you are caught in the earlier stages of the disease, you will still end up in the same situation as you would be in if caught later ( providing you had stopped smoking), the diagnosis would just be made later down the line

35 Replies

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  • You ask what you can do. Give up smoking is number one! Then eat well, keep your weight at sensible levels, exercise if you are able, and think positive thoughts. Better to be in the later stages later rather than earlier; they will come, but in five or ten or fifteen years rather than five or ten or fifteen weeks or months. Good luck

  • I think the earlier it's caught the better. Obviously stopping smoking is important but in my case I was diagnosed after a bad case of pneumonia. I had no symptoms of Copd before this. I have changed my life style. I now exercise have a good diet and feel fitter than I have in long while. If not for the pneumonia I would have carried on the same as before and more than likely been diagnosed when it became severe. You can do a lot to slow down the progression of Copd and the earlier it's caught the better the long term prognosis. But it's very much what you can do for yourself the inhalers etc are just one part of a larger picture.

  • When I saw the consultant, he has said I need a scan. I was worried about the waiting time on the NHS to which he replied '' I don't think you'll be going anywhere for 4 or 5 years'' . I didn't question what he meant but I think it's obvious. He knows I have stopped smoking and clearly thinks I will not last any longer regardless. My fev1 was 74%

  • A lot of people would love a Fev1 of 74%. It is far better than mine. The disease can be slowed down as others have already stated. Your consultant perhaps did not explain things too well but I plan to be a here a lot longer than 4 or 5 years. I think what he was trying to say that there was no urgency to your scan.

  • Sorry, everyone seems to know what fev1 is except me.

  • It's the amount of air you can forcefully blow out of your lungs in the first second. It should be 70% of your full capacity.

    Your FEV1 number is the percentage of lung capacity for someone who is the same gender,age,weight and height as you.

    Therefore if you have a FEV1 of 40%, then you have 40% of the lung function of what would be considered a healthy person who is the same age, weight , height,gender

  • Thanks for the explanation, I think it sounds the same as a lung function test.

  • Yes it is the lung function test - spirometry

  • Thanks for the clear definition--much better explanation than I received when I first took the test.

  • Morning,

    It is a progressive disease as you say but how it progresses is influenced by many factors. Some of these factors we can mitigate, to varying degrees. For instance good nutrition, losing weight, stress management. and reducing chemicals to clean your home. Many people with COPD live well into their seventies and live an active, productive life. Staying positive and focussing on what you can do rather than what you can't goes a long way. Remember everyone,s journey is different, not everyone gets off at the same station. Best wishes.

  • well said

  • Hi

    COPD is caused by the inhalation of smoke and toxic fumes, likewise the progression is caused by the continuous exposure to smoking and toxic fumes including second hand smoke.

    By removing the initial cause and avoiding as much as possible any other irritants, you can dramatically slow the progression and not go through all the stages.

    Because it's lung damage with no known cure, you are right the medication can only treat the symptoms, which can help you lead a much normal life as possible.

  • When I saw the consultant, he has said I need a scan. I was worried about the waiting time on the NHS to which he replied '' I don't think you'll be going anywhere for 4 or 5 years'' . I didn't question what he meant but I think it's obvious. He knows I have stopped smoking and clearly thinks I will not last any longer regardless. My fev1 was 74%

  • Hi

    Mines 22% age 70 no plans to depart any time soon.

  • Thanks 4 this, I believe i have been exposed to this in d past. However, u have to be positive. Stone are u on oxygen? I am on oxygen concentrator which helps a lot. Nor sure if d oxygen is a good thing though. Any advice on this

  • Hi

    Yes, I use Ambulitory oxygen 4lpm, for exercise and walking.

    Oxygen therapy is given to maintain your major organs, rather than breathlessness, thou it does take the edge off.

  • How long have u been using it cause I just started abt 4 weeks ago 3lm but wen I climb stairs I increase it

  • Hi

    About four years, not advisable to increase supply with out speaking to oxygen team first.

  • Ok thanks 4 this.

    Do u take d O2 to d gym 4 exercise.

  • Hi

    Don't do Gym, used it pulmonary rehablitation, and home exercise plus walking about.

  • Morning Roey, you say " it is a progressive disease that will get worse no matter what you do". Yes it will progress but we can do loads to slow it down and the earlier in the condition we begin, the more we can do. This is why it's so important to catch it as early as possible. Exercise, diet are important and can make a big difference. Also infection control to reduce the number of flare-ups we get.

    All this helps us feel more in control and that helps deal with the depression which often comes along with the condition.

  • When I saw the consultant, he has said I need a scan. I was worried about the waiting time on the NHS to which he replied '' I don't think you'll be going anywhere for 4 or 5 years'' . I didn't question what he meant but I think it's obvious. He knows I have stopped smoking and clearly thinks I will not last any longer regardless. My fev1 was 74%

  • 74%!!!!! You're at the high end of moderate Roey. I was diagnosed at 59% if I remember right and that was 16 years ago. If your doctor really meant what you think he did, he is talking nonsense. Many doctors are ill-informed about copd and also thoughtless in what they casually throw out. Of course I don't know if you have any other conditions which might impact on your mortality but 4-5 years prognosis from a high moderate copd diagnosis is insane. Many of us have lived with the condition for 10, 15, even more than 20 years.

    Im sorry you've been so affected by this remark. Please take on board what I and others here are saying, grab your life in both hands and live it to the full. Best thing you could do is ask for a referral to pulmonary rehab. That will make you feel a load better, both physically and emotionally.

  • Thank you, although I am only 41 so 74% is not great for my age

  • Do u use oxygen

  • Yes, ambulatory only. I was on it 24/7 4litres when i had double pneumonia, then managed to build myself up with exercise so that I didn't need to use it for well over a year but now the pollen and heat appear to have reduced my sats so Im on the O2 again. Time will tell if my sats will rise and I'll get off it again when the grass pollen season is over and the heat is less. Im beginning to doubt it though.

  • Hi I agree with the above comments. There is another factor as well; if you know you are suffering from lung disease you can take swift action when suffering from an exerbation which can help avoid further damage to the lungs.

    As in every disease drugs help to control the symptoms and you can lead a more normal and productive life.

  • When I saw the consultant, he has said I need a scan. I was worried about the waiting time on the NHS to which he replied '' I don't think you'll be going anywhere for 4 or 5 years'' . I didn't question what he meant but I think it's obvious. He knows I have stopped smoking and clearly thinks I will not last any longer regardless. My fev1 was 74%

  • I was diagnosed with mid 70's lung function 9 years ago and am still the same. My doctor said to me don't worry about it as something else will get me first ie old age.

    With such a high fev1 you will live forever so please stop stressing about it. I don't expect to ever reach the more severe stage - well not unless I live to 120!

    Whilst it is a progressive disease generally it only progesses slowly so you will run out of years before you run out of lung function.

    Having said that there are loads on here who are severe and very severe who still have a good quality of life and have no plans on going anywhere soon. Live your life as normal, take your meds, live healthily, look after your lungs and you will have many healthy years yet.

  • "how important it is to catch COPD early"

    I would say very important, as myself and others have had the opportunity to change our lifestyle at an early stage of the disease, and although not alter its course, and have been given the chance to slow down its progression.

  • I have congenital heart disease as well as serious lung diseases, not COPD; although I had treatment for the heart disease at 18, the life expectancy was still only 60. I am now 74, the heart and lung conditions are affecting me quite badly at times now, but I have no intention of shuffling off this mortal coil just yet. None of it is curable, all of it is progressive and treatable. I have married, worked overseas in a developing country, had children. Several cardiologists have said they have no real idea what to do with me, but they are willing to have a go. Perhaps I am odd, but I don't think so reading others comments on this site, but life is what you make of it. You say you need a scan, but it probably won't be that long to wait, and your consultant was making a rather tactless remark meaning there is not a desperate rush. The best advice is stop smoking, stop smoking, stop smoking. My respiratory consultant said to me that if I had ever smoked I wouldn't be here now. You sound understandably depressed, but please don't give up. You still have lots of life ahead of you, so enjoy! Many blessings xx

  • Thank you for that, easy to forget that others are worse off, I hope to become as brave as you and many others on this site, take care.x

  • I don't think I am brave, just learnt to be accepting, which is often difficult. You will be fine once you have got over the shock.

  • What a lot of people forget is that whether you have copd or not, your lungs will naturally deteriorate due to the ageing process. But at least catching it early you can keep on top of infections as these can cause scaring, making the condition worse. And exercise is definitely a must. So try not to feel like the future is hopeless.

  • There was a gentleman at my pulmonary rehab who was 82 and had been diagnosed with copd at the age of 52! He was moderate/severe when diagnosed! By quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy and exercising you can improve your breathing and your life dramatically! Once you do the following your lungs start to decline at the same rate of someone who had never smoked! I was diagnosed nearly 4 years ago. I am fitter and healthier now than I was then. I can breathe better and I don't get as breathless. I quit smoking immediately and concentrated on eating good food and exercising more!

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