British Lung Foundation
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Help with newbie

Help with newbie

Hi. I’m new. My name is Kelly. I am 48. I don’t smoke I never have. My husband did. He’s 60. He quit 12 years ago. He’s been healthy. Never a sick day. But he got short of breath in September and had stress test and found out he had to have bypass surgery with a new valve. He got out of hospital. Was doing fantastic. Then he got strep pneumonia. That was a few weeks ago. Now he’s in hospital. He is very short of breath which is due to pneumonia. Lung doctor came in and said he’s probably got COPD. I thought that after you quit smoking if you didn’t have it then you wouldn’t get it. This is news to us. No doctor ever said he had COPD. They said short breath is due to pneumonia. I am scared now. I was hoping we’d start getting better again and get back to work and go on with our lives. My question is : does anyone have anything for me about this? And.... if he does have COPD can he go back to work.? Will we be able to live our lives? Also his heart and new valve are strong and healthy

20 Replies
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Your husband can live a long and happy life with COPD and l hope his health improves soon.

I do wish Doctors would not just give a diagnosis of COPD with no further information to back it up. You could get a 2nd opinion when your husband feels better just to be sure.

I do wish you both well and do let us know how things go. Take care xxxx

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I am amased it sounds like the doctor concernd diagnosed copd just by looking at him, this is not yet possible. X rays, ct scans and speromatry tests diagnose copd not just shortness of breath. Wright a list of questions for the doctor so you dont forget what you want to ask, copd is a umbrella term so what form dose the copd take Emphcemia, Bronciecstacis, Asthma. Fibrosis ect. The long term outcome will depend on how bad he is but copd patients with the right care and lifestyle can and do live well into old age, iv heard of a marathon runner with copd. Try not to worry information is what you need. The Blf helpline is a briliant sorce of help, information and support. As well as the people/friends on hear. Oh and thear is no reason he cant work as long as he is well enough lot of people work right upto and beyond retirement with copd.

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Bronchiectasis does not come under the COPD umbrella, neither does asthma. They are separate conditions and requires very different treatment. Many thanks for your interest though and very good advice to Scullysmum.

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Nor does fibrosis as far as I know.

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Boath can be under the copd umbrella but not everyone with these conditions will come under the copd umbrella. Treatment for each condition is differant and for each patient as we all respond differantly.

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corriena there are differences. Simply put:

Chronic = it’s a long-term condition and does not go away

Obstructive = airways are narrowed, and it's harder to breathe out quickly

Pulmonary = it affects your lungs

Disease = it’s a medical condition

The narrowed airways cause an obstruction.

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If you have bronchiectasis, your airways are NOT narrowed they are widened and are inflamed with thick mucus.

Your airways become widened and cannot clear themselves properly.

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Fibrosis is different again. Pulmonary fibrosis is a term that covers many different conditions that cause scar tissue to build up in your lungs.

Scarring affects the air sacs in your lungs.

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The widened airways is what I would describe as 'modern bronchiectasis'. I have the 'nasty septic old fashioned bronch' (a registrar's description of my condition when speaking about me-oh yes!) My alveoli are stretched like over blown up ballons in pockets all over my lungs and the mucus collects in there. Roll on!

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I stand corrected. I lern something new every day 😊

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I also learned something from littlepom (see above). They do say if we don't learn something new it is a wasted day. I am glad we did not waste our day. :)

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Does it really matter ?We all fight to breath

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I absolutely agree that we are on this forum to support each othet because we all fight to breathe. Yes it does matter that we know exactly what our condition is and learn as much as we can about its treaent and management. Unfortunately many GPs and some respiratory consultants do not know much or anything about bronch or such things as IPF and sometimes we the patients find ourselves teaching them.

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Its the same with COPD no different we has sufferers probably know more than the medics ,But sadly many medics dont listen and are more worried about following guidelines

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Too true. We just have to keep pegging away at them.

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Hi Scullysmum. Pneumonia is horrible and makes you feel tired and sometimes in pain for months. But you do get better from it. Strep pneumonia is usually aquired in the community and so it may just be bad luck and the fact that your husband was lowered from having the op that he got it.

It is not right that a random doctor announced that he MAY have COPD without doing the correct tests. Whilst he has pneumonia or is recovering from it it is impossible to do the tests because the readings will not be accurate.

When you get your husband home keep in close contact with your GP. He will need to ensure that the treatment he had in hospital was sufficient to get rid of the pneumonia. He may need more antibiotics which your GP can give him.

Tell the GP about the random COPD diagnosis and insist on your husband being referred to a respiratory consultant for the full testing and diagnosis procedure. I know that many people are diagnosed in the doctor’s surgery by blowing into spirometer but in your husband’s case and for your peace of mind I really think that this should be done by experts using sophisticated equipment.

When it comes to our health we have to be our own advocates and vociferous in getting the treatment that we need.

As sassy has said, it is possible to work and live a full life with COPD but you need to know exactly what you are dealing with and how to manage it.

Good luck.

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Thank you very much. This is exactly how I was thinking. My husband was recovering from hi op so fantastic. He was doing great. So to celebrate we went to a concert and from there he had pneumonia. Took us going to er to get the right treatment for it and the right diagnosis. But then this doctor came in a started messing with my head. Before my husbands surgery?????he never ever was sick. I thought the man was invincible. Never used a sick day. No doctor ever said he had COPD. I think your right... wrong place at wrong time and he unfortunately got pneumonia. He doesn’t have any symptoms of COPD. Except the short of breath but that’s because he has pneumonia. You made my day.

Thank you

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I’m sure that when he gets over everything he will eventually be back to normal and fighting fit. The strange thing is that having been pneumonia free since childhood I went to a pantomime three years ago and ended up with a pneumonia. I walked around with it for five weeks and three visits to the GP before I finally took myself to A&E to get it diagnosed. It took months for me to feel better but I have bronchiectasis. Hopefully your husband only has the pneumonia and it will be onwards and upwards once he starts to climb out of it. I would have the proper tests for COPD when he is fully recovered though. Just to put both of your minds at rest.

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Thank you for that

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I agree with all the advice you have had Scullysmom especially around the casual way copd has been mentioned. Your husband needs a proper lung function test to get a proper diagnosis.

In answer to your question though, yes it is possible to have a diagnosis years after quitting smoking. I quit 15 years before diagnosis and some others here are the same. It felt very unfair I can tell you! It would be great if your husband doesnt have copd, but if he does, then it's his opportunity to get the best treatment regime possible, and there are many who continue working for years with the condition.

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A doctor cannot diagnose COPD simply by listening to your husbands chest. A high res Ct Scan would need to be done and a lung finction test, or spirometry test sometimes it called.

Pneumonia causes people to become terribly and of breath and that can last for weeks of not longer, it is a condition that lingers on and takes really a few months of rest to overcome.

Ask for the correct tests to be carried out before your willing to accept a diagnosis and these will really need to wait until the pneumonia is on its way out. Doing them now would need depict an accurate reading.

However COPD can be managed very well with a healthy lifestyle and certainly doesn't not mean a shorter life anyway.

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Sadly even giving up the fags wont stop this alwful condition if its there it will slowly progress although off course stopping will slow it in its tracks ,Lets hope its not lung disease and he will make a speedy recovery and even if it is many people carry on working even in late stages I have read xxxxx

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