British Lung Foundation
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Worried all the time

Hi all, thanks to everyone who replied on my last post, lots of good advice for me there.

I ended up in hospital again with chest pains not long after posting it, they did all the usual tests for the heart and all was fine. I believe it was a panic attack as where my daily episodes I've been having and I've noticed a trend. It always happens after I eat solid food, even half a tin of soup had me totally breathless. The days I only had ensure plus and water I felt fine and having ran out I've eaten nothing today and feel good, apart from hunger. Is it likely I've a digestive problem of some sort? Tried getting an appointment with my doctor today but none available. So got to ring again as soon as they open I'm the morning.

Sleeping is also an issue, I'm just not tired at all and all I do I sit and listen to calming music to try and keep my mind off things.

I've read a lot about COPD sufferers having gastric issues but it this just me being paranoid or could there be a link.

To be honest I'm not confident in my doctor at the moment but again that's probably just me being paranoid.

Sorry for the ramble, any advice is more than welcome.

8 Replies

Hi i hope you arr feeling better. Staying calm and relaxed is important. It is something you need to practice.

Try not to think about your condition too much. It is important to try to just get on with life doing what you can.

Gradually your strenght of both mind and body will impove xxxx


IBS is definitely a stress and anxiety related condition for many people and acid reflux also seems to be common with COPD. So could be either. I have severe GERD (reflux) an get very out of breath of after eating. I know what it is though so don't panic about it. I eat small mouthfuls and very slowly and that helps, I have a drink of warm water after my meal, not during.

I don't know of tests for IBS, but for reflux there are lots commonly a PH test and an endoscopy, you can ask your GP, you'll need to see a specialist to carry them out.


Hi Keith, I have just been reading your past posts......were you only diagnosed with COPD just over a fortnight ago after suffering chest pains?

Did you have a full Spirometry test, an X Ray etc. before the diagnosis was made?

Have your symptoms of breathlessness got worse ?

Sorry for all the questions , but I was just trying to find out what happened to you.

I hope you get a doctors appointment today, can you ask about your inhalers too, how many doses of the reliever you are supposed to take, or even if you are on the most suitable medication for you. Have they checked your inhaler technique?

We are all genetically different and one medication that may suit one person may not suit another. There are some medications that do not work for me.

Anxiety and breathing difficulties often seem to go hand in hand, but you should get help to deal with panic attacks, they can be overwhelming .

If you live in the UK, the BLF have a helpline you can contact which is open during working hours 03000 030 555 or

Can you take someone with you to your GP appointment, and maybe write down your queries before you go.

Sending you my best wishes and I hope you get help today.


Hi Knitter, thanks for taking the time to reply, in answer to your questions i initially was admitted to hospital via the local walk in centre with chest pains, dizziness and shortness of breath, they called the ambulance. The hospital did all the tests for a heart attack and initially said it looked as though i had had one. Had an x-ray while in observation within an hour of being admitted. I was given drugs to thin my blood and put on an anti biotic drip.

3 days later a nurse came with a little device to blow in the a few hours later a Dr came to see me and said i have mild to moderate COPD and possibly emphysema. I was told i would be given inhalers and then could go home. The respiratory nurse was not available so another nurse came and shown me how to use the inhalers.

My breathlessness is controllable as long as i dont eat solid foods and im quite scared to leave the house in case i have any kind of attack, then i get really out of breath on the smallest amount and im sure this is bringing on panic attacks that then make it worse.

I take 2 puffs of Fostair in the morning and 2 at night, i have a blue inhaler also which is to be used if and when needed.

As i was just sent home straight after seeing the Doctor, i presumed they think its not serious and i just needed a few days rest.

I have a constant ache in my chest but im putting this down to stress and worry as ive been back in hospital and apparantly my heart is fine. I also have constipation and when i can go my stools are very hard and i really have to force the issue.


It is quite an easy technique to learn how to master panic attacks. You have just got to go to BLF site and read or download their breathing exercise Pursed Lip Breathing. This method is also the best for getting back control of your breathing. It works by reassuring you that things are under your are the boss. Early in my travels with COPD, when I was fighting for my breath, the paramedics came. Within a couple of minutes of them arriving and just gently questioning me, I realised that I was back to breathing normally. It's part of what is referred to as a distraction therapy. Once you've mastered the system, your confidence will return.

With regard to eating hot foods.....this can be a common problem amongst folk when they are more advanced than you.....that is not to say you aren't feeling it. The steam commingled from the food certainly doesn't help or the heat Inthe kitchen. I've found that even when I have an infection, I MUST make the effort to get out of my cumfie chair and sit at the table to eat. Also, if my family are having a large Sunday lunch, mine will be a lot smaller than theirs plus I usually split it into three snack type meals. I've also found that a cold Sunday dinner can taste better than a hot one....yes even the spuds and veg.

A bit long I know but conquer your breathing and the panic attacks will subside. Just remember, COPD is apart of your life now but it's only a very small part. It isn't your life unless you make it so. I've gone from mild to very severe over 25 years but then I only gave up smoking 3 years ago. You didn't receive a death sentence from the hospital, you received a already had the condition but now it has a name and medication. Things can only get better...get ready to kick 2018 up the butt...,have fun, relax and live life.


Thanks CornishBrian, I have noticed if i do something when i know im having a panic attack it goes away a lot quicker, for some reason i started trimming my nails the other day and within seconds i felt so much better but then i started thinking about it again, vicious circle lol.

I have seen the pursed lip breathing technique and have tried it, only twice to be fair but i will start to use it more as everything i have read about it says it is fantastic.

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Good, as I said I am now graded as Very Severe and I used to be so dependant on my blue work I would use one every week....had them stashed in the car, bedroom, everywhere.....When I learnt about pursed lips breathing, I now very rarely carry one with me. My GP said that I had gone from ,4 or 5 devices every month to one device every three or four months. The blue inhaler can be a life saver but the Ventolin in it can cause all types of of the worse I would say is Ventolin dependency...,where the body actually craves it.

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I also have COPD and I have had heartburn/gerd issues for most of my adult life. I also used to have unexplained tachycardia for years. I never thought about doing anything about it until I got older and the symptoms became worse. I also had panic attacks for years. Luckily I was able to have ablation to correct the sinus node cells causing the tachycardia, but I firmly believe the tachycardia was also related to my gastric problems as the tachycardia seemed to occur after I ate something which particularly caused gastric distress, in my case for example eating Greek yogurt with peanut butter. When I mentioned it to the Dr they just nodded as they do when they're thinking "here's another self-diagnoser". The tachycardia has been stopped since I had the ablation about one and one half years ago. I now take more Prozac and also beta blockers which are both very helpful. I hope you feel better soon.


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