British Lung Foundation
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Does this sound like COPD?

Hi there,

I'm 34 years' old and new to this forum (although I have been on here before, a few years back).

At the tail end of last year, I caught a pretty bad cold that gave me a dry tickly cough that eventually began to subside. However, a few weeks ago I got the beginnings of a cold again, but this time with a wheezy, chesty cough that has yet to disappear. All in all, I've probably had two different types of cough for about a month now (maybe a bit longer).

The weird thing about my cough at the moment is that when I wake up I don't have any need to cough, but when I test it, there is no wheezing or phlegm. However, if I try testing out my cough a few times and get up and about, it seems to slowly translate into a wheezy (and slightly phlegmy - dark yellow colour) cough. I then go through periods during the day where I'm sitting at rest and feel my chest tightening and have difficulty breathing and I lose the wheeze and ability to produce phlegm and vice versa. It's like the cough changes throughout the day. No fever, but my cold is at the stage where my nose is constantly blocked and I can feel mucus when I sniff. I cycle a lot (around 15 miles per day) and have a pretty healthy diet, smoke very occasionally (maybe a few times a year, if that - although I try to stop that from happening by cutting down on the all-night parties these days!). I never seem to feel the tight chest and difficulty breathing when I'm on the bike; only when I'm at home and at rest.

I have been reasonably prone to colds going to my chest in the past (not always and I can't remember if any of the colds I had last year translated into a cough as well - my intuition is that they didn't).

I went to the doctor the other day and he's given me antibiotics (I've just finished one 24-hour dose), but the cough is the same and I'm a bit worried with this ongoing chest tightness/difficulty breathing and the fact that everywhere I've looked online appears to suggest that acute bronchitis should only last a couple of weeks. This has been going on for much longer....

Does it sound like it might be chronic bronchitis or something? I honestly don't know how I could eat any healthier or do any more exercise - I even did a bike tour of Holland last year with my girlfriend, so imagined I was in pretty good shape. Should I go to the doctor again to ask for more tests?

9 Replies
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Som times coughs especially at this time of year can linger on. I would go to GP if it's still not better in a week, maybe a chest X-ray at first check for any infection. If that's clear and your still getting out of breath ask for asthma test. Sounds very much like bronchitis and that can linger on, but get it checked.

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See your GP. If it's an infection it needs treating.

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Some6of the cough could be sinus drainage

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Thanks for your replies. Same thing happened again this morning. Woke up fine, with no congestion, but my throat tickled a bit so did some dry coughs. A half hour later after moving about my chest sounds wheezy again and coughing up some phlegm.

I’ve booked a doctors appointment, but they can’t fit me in until next Monday. A bit worried it’s chronic to be honest. :(

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Hi, if you have a lung diagnosis in my opinion you've the right to go in as an emergency appointment. When I'm in similar position I can call from 8am, a doc rings back pretty quickly & I tell them I'm lung compromised & just need a quick listen to my lungs to rule out (or in) an infection. Just two minutes of their time. I'm politely assertive as its a new practice for me & they don't know my history. Good luck. P

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Well, I have an appointment for tomorrow at 2:20pm but to be honest, I’m losing my mind a bit with worry here. The antibiotics don’t appear to be working and all I can think about is the doctor giving me a COPD diagnosis and wondering how I’m going to cope.

Surely I should have gotten over the bronchitis ages ago if it was nothing to worry about? Although I’ve cycled again today around London and not really had any problems doing so.

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Hello again,

So it’s now been three weeks since my last post. While my cough has improved, it still hasn’t disappeared. I get a very tickly throat with a dry (although occasionally slightly productive) cough that can be wheezy, especially at night and when I wake up in the morning. It’s not so bad during the day.

I’ve had an x ray, which came back normal and yesterday I did a spirometry, which was also normal. I had a CT scan done on my lungs three years ago, which was also normal.

I’m not sure what to do now, does anyone have any ideas? Should I go back to my GP and push for another CT scan? Or is it possible that anxiety has prolonged my recovery from simple bronchitis?

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Hello again,

So I'm still going through pretty much the same symptoms, with seemingly no end in sight. Inhalers don't seem to do anything - I've also been given tablets to treat GERD and nasal spray.

Anyone have any ideas? I'm not sure what else to do, and I think my GP is starting to become frustrated that I keep bugging him about my symptoms...

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And as for the results, I didn't see the numbers properly, but they were 90, 93 and 79 (for the one that has to be 70 or higher).

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