British Lung Foundation

Newbie and I need info please!!

Hi, I'm 57 and just been told I have 'traces of emphysema' following CT scan. I'm being referred for breathing tests. I'm normally pretty healthy until this year when I've had severe Impetigo twice, the second time followed by what I was told was Pharyngitis so I just went along with all the breathing issues, lethargy etc for 3 months until I could stand it no more. I saw the Dr, got an immediate referral to the hospital and got a full MOT including an Xray. I truly thought I'd be told I had a virus but instead I was shocked to be told I'd had Pneumonia and had a chest infection! The CT scan was scheduled as they could see something on the Xray. I've never had any of these 3 things before :-(

I'm a bit shell shocked at the moment. How can I possibly have this??!!

I'm fit, I go to the gym, I do yoga and meditation and deep breathing, walk the dogs etc. On paper I'm on good form re BP etc and I had additional tests recently because of the Impetigo and the results were fine. I did teenage smoking between 16 and 21 but not at home. I've not needed antibiotics since 2000 when I initially had severe Impetigo, incidentally its always in the same place.

Could there be a link? Could I have developed this in recent years? Is it more likely to be second hand smoke given that its only been in recent years that smoking has been banned inside? I have 2 wood burning stoves but only for the last 7 years, could it be them? Last question, what chemicals in cleaning agents should be avoided?

Really sorry for the long post but I'm feeling quite bewildered :-(

Thanks

38 Replies
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Hello VivG2006, nice to meet you and welcome. You are amongst good, solid and friendly people that won't judge you, just want to help. It's very hard to digest everything a doctor or consultant says after you hear the word Emphaseama , you panic and need time for it to sink in. I was exactly the same a few years ago when I was told I had it in both my lungs, so know how you feel. However, it's really not the end of the world I promise . You will need to follow doctors advice and that includes not smoking , and as long as you follow instruction you will carry on as normal. I'm not saying it's nothing to concern yourself about because it is, but on this forum you will find that we all have breathing problems, good days and bad and need to share with each other how we are feeling. Just try to relax a bit . I know what you mean about it seeming unfair Given the type of lifestyle you have, it's aweful, but you it won't change providing you make the necessary changes. ✋️😊

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Thank you for your kind words. I'm pleased I found this site. I was googling and its all doom and gloom there! This is much more informative. The only advice I've read however is to stop smoking, even my Dr said that when he called me to tell me but I've not smoked for 36 years so I'm really pretty upset and scared :-( The more info I can get on what to avoid and positive things to do about it the better I'll feel. :-)

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Hi Viv, your welcome. Nice to have you with us. I totally agree with you, the more you know the better and then you can deal with it and move on. You seem a strong individual judging by the way you write, that's good. Stay positive ✋️😊

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Haha! The 'strong' but has been used about me a lot! Maybe on the outside...... Still a big scaredy cat inside ;-)

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Well I think being a scaredy cat on the inside applies to most people including me. You are still a strong character, because you want to get it right and move on. Keep going ✋️😊

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Welcome. NOT RECOMMENDED TO GOOGLE!!! At least I don't. It won't help. Ask those with the living experience. Here.

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Hi

COPD if that is what’s being mentioned can be caused by Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency. Further information.

blf.org.uk/support-for-you/...

The most common cause is the inhalation of smoke or toxic fumes, including second hand smoke! Wood burner stoves, BBQ, can irritate the condition.

Several household products can also irritate the condition. Air fresheners, aerosol sprays, bleach, strong smelling cleaners.

If it makes you gasp, or catch your breath, it’s likely to be or become a triggger.

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Thanks, I've tried to avoid cleaners etc that catch my throat since before all this. It would be good if there was a list of items containing VOC's and the like but I guess that's a big ask! I'll try and do some research......

I'll be gutted if I have to move and leave my stoves behind but that will depend on where I am in the grand scheme of things. It all seems so quick and so shocking. . thank you for your help and the link.

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Fab! Thanks.....my bedtime read......... :-D

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Hi Viv a very warm welcome to you, though sorry you have emphysema. I have a different lung condition to you but I have to say I would never have a wood burning stove for sure. Lots of knowledgeable folks with your condition on here.

cx

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Thank you for replying. We live between a major road and the countryside and are surrounded by houses with stoves and of course vehicle pollution..... :'-(

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I also live near a major road. I am now hearing teenagers are now getting it. Good thing because I have never smoke, I did not need to give up. Must be worst for smokers. I am told it can be hard to give this up.

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I can assure you it is frightening I was rushed to A&E with pneumonia last year and nearly alive but they have great ways of dealing with it and as long as you go to the docs when you feel unwell and keep going till your satisfied and don’t be afraid to use NHS24 they saved me twice last winter take care you all at this time of year ... there’s a lot of good meds and treatment put there xxx

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Thanks for your reply. I hope you are feeling and keeping much better now. Can't wait for spring myself!

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I am just finishing my third stint on antibiotics but have some new pills that have done good now it’s the anxiety which inevitably follows breathing problems but I am determined to get there x

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Stay positive! :-D

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Seems you are over reacting. I was 45yrs old when my doc told me the same, small traces. I have had chronic bronchitis all my life, had pleurisy and pneumonia many times. I am 70yrs old now and just this last 12 months really developed breathlessness. Many years left in you yet. I would get rid of the wood burning stoves and avoid any kind of cleaning agents like bleach. Also perfume sets me off. Good luck,,,,,,,Norm

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Hi, thanks for your advice. It's early days I know, and I'm trying to get my head around it all. The more info the better. Knowledge is power! :-)

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Hi Viv,

All sounds familiar, I too have Emphysema, I'm on the Transplant List, have been for 19 Months.. Rehab Exercises and being Positive is the way to go.. I moved from a Log Burner 4 Bed House/Stairs, to a Small Bungalow (Council) 6 months ago. I have been some what better since Not breathing in the Fumes of the Burning wood , wish I had been able to do it sooner. I don't Smoke. I have had 4 sessions of PR, which is a Must for all COPD Sufferers, hoping I have my 5th soon as my Consultant has Referred me again especially as I am waiting for transplant. I have only ever had one Anxiety Attack and my Local GP was Great and without giving me pills, sat and Talked with so much care and understanding, I have been fine since. Plan Ahead and give yourself something to aim for. Today I go to my Breathe Easy Exercise Class, I love it, and Wednesday I go to The Gym, I do this with my Best mate Mr Oxygen, he Follows me everywhere. Me & Hubby planning a weekend away when the weather is Kinder, so always have a Plan.. Sending Positive thoughts to you Viv. Love Carolina. xxx

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So true about the burning wood ,even drilling into wood let's off a odour that I wasn't aware of until recently and went into a full blown attack.breathe easy BLF gym and pulmonary rehabilitation all fab.good luck to you

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I didn't realise about the wood BOxermad.....makes sense really. I'll do everything I can! Thank you for replying :-)

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You have a positive attitude, which is fab! I hope your transplant comes through soon for you.

TC and thanks!

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Well hey there, in your favor you have the jump on fitness ! Depending on how you score on your pulmonary tests inhalers may become one of your staples. As a person w/ lung issues galore here’s a few tips: keep windows up in car when your in traffic(pollution), careful what you burn for heat, don’t use those heavy perfume air fresheners in the house. Don’t panic and let the dogs love you through it. Myself I’ve moved to more of weight bearing exercise and off the cardio machines. I’m an avid surfer that no longer goes out in the water alone b/cuz I can get so out of breath a fellow surfer may have to push me back into shore. Accept an overcome, you may have some new limitations but NEVER give up- take your mind to your peaceful place. I prefer my accupunturist’s medecine over the doctor drugs. Hope you start feeling yourself soon- love & light

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I was never big on cardio myself and have never been a runner (wonky legs!), but I do like weights and Athlete Yoga ( never been an athlete either!). It has really improved my strength and flexibility, posture and wellbeing. Its hard work!

:-D

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Hi and welcome I too have emphysema diagnosed at 54 it does have an impact but can be managed 4 years on I avoid cleaning sprays and use antibacterial wipes,wood burners are a big trigger for me as I have a few neighbours with them and the fumes outside are bad enough to cover my mouth and nose with a scarf otherwise it's coughing and spluttering.so try and see if you get more breathless after using yours and do you have better breathing during the times it is not on .

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Yesterday was the first day I noticed I struggled a good bit on a hilly road I am familiar with. The fires have been on every day for weeks but it was also cold and windy. I was wrapped up but didn't think about a scarf round my face. Its all these little hints and tips that will help! Thanks! :-D

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Have you moved to a different country? I did and developed emphysema due to particle dust pollution in Cyprus!! Check particle pollution out where you live (not air quality you will not fine the truth there). I also suggest that you keep as fit as possible and carry on doing what you are doing. Fitness is key!

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Hi, Phil. I agree entirely with you. Fitness is a great help. At 80 I use the Gym twice a week only spending an hour each session. 40 mins of that I spend on the Rowing Machine , I personally find this very beneficial, it clears an opens up my lungs. Anyone taking up this form of excise, I warn, don’t expect first time miracles. It took a few sessions before I felt the benefit.

I’m not proposing that this may be suitable for everyone but it works for me I’ve had COPD for 40 years. and a triple heart bypass 2years ago when I started the Gym visits

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Hi Garibaldon

I am a firm believer in exercise also. Swimming three times a week seems to be fine for me - I am very slow and do my best covering about 600 metres per session. It shifts a lot of congestion and I feel the benefits every time although I get pretty tired. My specialist agrees that I will live longer if I can keep it up, so that is my intention!!!

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Hi Phil, swimming, best exercise ever. If only I could, well, I can, swim, that is.

Not in public baths though. The chloride leaves me gasping. Keep it up , Phil, good luck

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I used to swim a lot but got out the habit, maybe I'll give it a try again......it doesn't really matter that you feel you are slow, only that you are trying :-)

Keep it up! :-)

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Wow! That's amazing, you are amazing! Rowing machine is not my favourite but I'll try harder! ;-)

Thanks for the inspiration !

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I'll check that out, thanks! Yes, love going to the gym. It puts a smile on my face: :-)

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Hello

Welcome to the forum.

I’m not sure emphysema is always caused by smoking, it can be hereditary.

It sounds as though you have had a bad infection which has laid you very low!

Your lifestyle sounds great and I’m sure you will pick up again.

I had pneumonia last year , it left me with asthma and took ages to breath well again.

This forum is great for news, support and information!

Good luck

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Thanks for replying, yes I'm getting a lot of inspiration and support here. I feel more positive and less confused by it all already. You are probably correct, its been a tough year and it's probably going to take a while for my body to recover!

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VivG2006

Welcome to the forum. You've probably picked up the dreaded emphysema from 2nd hand smoke unfortunately. You sound very fit and do lots of activities I wish I could do. Keep it up but you may need to pace yourself. Eat well and stay positive. Any smoke & wind usually has an effect on the ailment try to keep clear. Many of us on here have gotten used to the daily routines.

IKeith

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It would more likely be due to air pollution. I have never smoked and have Emphysema ( COPD). Unfortunately we live in a country that has the worst air pollution in the world. Been on news how they have been fined by EU for not cleaning up our air. We are so bad we make China look clean. Sorry for the bad news, but it will be a common problem for most people in the next 10 years here.

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