COPD sufferers, have you ever felt you are going to, stop breathing altogether, and die?

I am 73yrs, and have had 2/3 bad days, where even walking the short distance to the kitchen, or bedroom slowly, I feel like I am going to collapse, or completely stop breathing.

Today, I have increased my steroids from 3 a day to 6 for a week, hoping its going to help, as I feel I dont want to live like this everyday, as I dont see the point in struggling.

I take all the inhalers & medications thats been prescribed to me, but I am just tired all day, and try not to move if possible, because I know I will be gasping for air if I do.

I know there is lots of lovely people on here, with similar problems, but anybody else suffer like this?

Thanks for reading, Ron xxx

31 Replies

  • Just hang on there will be lot of people on here that will give you a lot of support and encouragement a get a lot of days like that good days and bad days but I just keep plugging on

  • hi Rod..i dont think inhailers are going to be much help to you as you are right now.

    why not phone for an ambulance to see if they can help you in hospital...

  • Hi Ron, sorry to hear you're feeling so bad, most of us on this forum know the feeling. Are you on long term steroids? Makes you feel so depressed. Have you got an infection? Have you been prescribed ABs . If you feel worse than you normally do I would call someone. Hope you feel better soon. Lilian xxxxxx

  • Did you get the results of the Echo you said you were having done a few weeks ago Ron?

  • Yes Cosy thanks,

    They said it was normal, how are you?x

  • You are in a catch 22 situation. The less t

    You move the more your lungs will fill with mucus.

    So you have to move and get exercise to keep yor chest.clear.

    It is a bit of a roller coaster at times with your emotions. You have to keep trying. Wishing you all the best

  • Sounds very much like a trip to A&E would help, the steroids seem quite small dose ( I start on 8 a day) and you don't mention antibiotics? 999 seems the right place to start!

    Best wishes

  • Y-not, I just read your reply and I agree

  • Yes Ron, I have felt like that at times to....just the thought of having to try and walk to the bathroom would set me into a panic.

    A longer, stronger , decreasing dose of steroids helped me....not a short burst but slowly decreasing to try and prevent a rebound effect.....together with sputum and blood tests and the right antibiotic, as well as a change in inhaler. You may find different inhalers may suit you better....we are all genetically different.

    If you haven't rung for help yet, get an appointment with your GP as soon as you can.....have you been assessed for oxygen therapy at all?

    Meanwhile try and calm your breathing , belly breathing if you can and through your nose as much as possible. Have you tried pursed lip breathing at all, some people find that helps....or a small hand held battery fan , with the air directed at your face.

    You need to see a health professional and be reassessed and helped as soon as you can. Take care now.

  • Hi Ron. Like others have said, ring 999, they will be out like a shot if you're having breathing problems.

  • 17 months ago I felt very much like that. I would wake up and panic at one point the EMTs thought I was dead I was so blue. After going to the hospital about 8 times they put me on lorasapam for my panic attacks. Once it started I couldn't stop it I never have been so frightened.they eventually changed my medication after a year as I guess the one I was on can cause mental illness. That is the only time in my life that I considered ending it. Then something happened I prayed and things turned around. I made myself walk even if I didn't want to and it started getting easier. I try to go for a walk everyday. My oxygen level really drops getting in and out of my car so I get anxious then but I take it slowly. Just try not to give up I know it is hard but take baby steps and rest. Take care. Jane

  • Hi Ron, I felt like that and as soon as I mentioned the tiredness and how weak I felt I was given oxygen at home. Ring 999 if it continues you really need to be assessed for oxygen. Increasing your steroids is not the answer. Good luck Ron let us know how you get on. ACT now.

    Love Sue x

  • Hi Ron, Yes Been there also, Now on Oxygen at Home and Mobile Concentrator. Only take Steroids when I know I have to. They are in 2 of My Inhalers every 12 hours. Don't Struggle, Phone 999 and get into Hospital. We all have Good/Bad days, You sound as if you are having exacerbations , Don't Delay phone 999 Now . Love Caroline. x

  • Ring the doctor and ask about having oxygen at home it does help give you a few more years did my husband he's just passed on 18sept he was 79 and had been on oxygen a few years it does help gives you more time to enjoy god beautiful land take care god bless

  • Yes I feel like that at times it is horrible and very frightening

  • Hi Ron

    I am like you, in that the shortest walk in the house exhausts me, and I tend to sit down most of the day to stop getting exhausted and start coughing (I have just turned 60) I get the attacks you describe quite often - I call them my plastic bag moments and they scare the **** out of my wife as there is very little she can do and can only watch as I recover from them.

    All you want to do is breathe deep but there is nothing there. To calm my head down I imagine have to suck air through the small holes in the bottom of a carrier bag, because if I breathe deep it will stick to my face (hence carrier bag moments).They are worrying moments and a few times I've thought 'This Is It' But as difficult as it is, you have to try and calm down and sit down no matter where you are and concentrate on your breathing. I always wear a panic button (provided by the Council) in case I'm alone when this happens.

    I have a restrictive lung disease (asbestosis), rather than an obstructive disease which allows me to turn my oxygen right up, I'm on oxygen 24/7, ( you can't do this with obstructive diseases such as COPD ). But I also try and take a spoonful of oramorph which relaxes my distressed muscles and helps calm things down. Somebody recently suggested a Lorazepam under the tongue can also calm the situation down.

    You do need to speak to your Consultant / GP about these events and how your feeling straight away. you never know they might suggest something that can ease things a little ?

    You are never alone there is help out there but you must ask for it ?

    Take Care (but don't just sit there, ask for help or let people know how your feeling !!!)


  • Great advice Owen xx

  • Hi Owen and Ron,

    Not sure what you mean Owen when you say you can't use oxygen 24/7 with COPD. I have been prescribed home use oxygen (3 ltrs, 24/7) and a portable concentrator for my COPD for many years. I used to get panic attacks when i have episodes where I can not breathe. I was prescribed Xanax for the attacks and they have all but disappeared.

  • Hi Jane

    What I meant was, that someone with COPD can't just turn there oxygen up more than the prescribed dose as there is a danger of carbon dioxide poisoning, as it can't escape from the body. Whereas someone with a restrictive disease can turn the oxygen up as much as they like without that fear, as they struggle to get the oxygen into their system as the lungs are losing their effectiveness -if that makes sense? .... Sorry for any confusion caused

    Take Care


  • Ron

    I think I can well relate to your condition

    Just getting out of bed to bathroom I know I will huff and puff

    Each day seems harder to be

    Active 🤔I am 78 in December

  • Hi Ron, I'm new to the site but I do sincerely empathise with your situation, I also have COPD....have recently commenced on oxygen therapy at home and I think it's helping a sound so distressed and I'm so sorry to read your message.... I also think 999 is your best move, you need oxygen and nebulisers in hospital and probably it asap and I hope you improve soon...take care and do it now..

  • Ron, for the past few months I have been thinking like you. I am convinced i am dying and nothing seems to drag me out of it. i do actually still get around as well as i can and I do force myself to do things, however, there are days when i just can't be bothered. My locum Gp has put me on anti-depressants but i am not sure they are the answer. You are not alone in thinking in this way, just sometimes we don't tell people! i am sure there are people on here who can give you better advice and be assured you are not alone. Take care, best wishes Juney

  • Ron or anyone.

    I feel just like you described, but no wheezing. I am not taking steroids being there is an absence of wheezing. Hope you are feeling better by the time you read this post, feeling weak is no joke - I am 72 BTW.

    Question: Are you wheezing? Can you feel like that without wheeze?

  • Thanks Ern,

    I dont wheeze or really cough, just breathless when I move about.

    From what I read here, oxygen dosent seem to be the answer for me.

    Ta Ron.

  • I'm 73 too.I have IPF which is slightly different Lung fibrosis .Iwas put on oxygen but decided to not use it.I researched and found I'd been breathing wrongly all my life!We should only breathe in through our nose,using stomach muscles to draw the air in.30 beneficial things happen inside when we do this!!!Give it a try.I'm still here after 10 years!(Prognosis was 3-5years.)Good luck!👍

  • As you have seen from other replies it seems we all feel as you do at times - I certainly do - it passes - but yes the fear of it being our last breathe is always there just something we have to live with or not - excuse the pun? Take care xx

  • Oh yes and it is a horrible, frightening experience. I liken it unto feeling like a fish lying on a dry dock gasping for air. I am 64 and have been using rescue inhalers, daily handihalers, and oxygen (3 ltrs, 24/7). I recently scheduled an appointment with my pulmonologist because after all of that, I still was getting out of breath after any exertion at all. She ordered a CTScan and echocardiogram and diagnosed PAH (pulmonary arterial hypertension) and congestive heart failure. This is not to suggest that you have those conditions, but it does prove to me that when I start feeling odd or symptoms get worse, get myself to the doctor!

  • I'd call the hospital. Sounds like your oxygen levels are very low. If you're on oxygen, can you push it up a step too see if it helps? I do agree that you may well have an infection grabbing hold

  • I Ron I’m 66 and like you suffer the same pain and shortage of breath, I find it hard to get across to the Doctor what it’s like thinking it’s your last day but I find it really helpful to think of my friends and family how they would feel if they new I had these feelings. Hope you feel better soon.

  • Please don't stop moving, it will only make things worse, it is so very important to keep moving. I know exactly how you feel and it is very frightening and it tends to make you panic, which just makes things worse. When this happens sit down and do pursed lip breathing until you feel calmer. I have to force myself to do some exercises because I know I am going to feel frighteningly out of breath, but I do them because I know how important it is to keep moving, you know what they say 'use it or lose it' and it is very true. Try not to panic and as I say sit down and do pursed lip breathing, it really does help xx

  • hi tom , sorry to hear your struggling a bit , I do get like that when I have a flare up , like I expect a lot of us do , but thankfully not all the time , you takecare & hope you have some good days to come soon xxx

You may also like...