Copd at 35?: Hi, recently been having... - British Lung Foun...

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Copd at 35?

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Hi, recently been having shortness of breath and tight chest problems that came in very suddenly. I smoked for 20 years, quit 2 years ago. Been running 25 miles a week since. Never felt breathless until suddenly 6 weeks ago, and hasn't gone away. Due for pft and spirometry next week. Could this be copd? I'm only 35, and before now considered myself to be very fit. Can this manifest so suddenly? N.b. 2 clear chest xrays in the last 6 weeks. I've also had rib pain across my chest the last few days. Not sure of the significance. Peak flow of 700-750.

Thanks

Luke

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I also have had rib pain over the last few days, no sure how significant it is....

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Your maybe the same as me you may only think you have developed COPD recently but I was always told I had asthma only but a few years ago I moved to a more modern patient caring Dr who sent me for tests scans ect a showed I had COPD though I'd never smoked now this Dr tells me I may have been living with it for years but hopefully with modern meds diet and exercise if possible you'll get there,hope this dosent sound patronising just trying to help,take care Ger

You can have clear chest x-rays with COPD but x-rays are not a reliable in diagnosis. I would wait for your PFT etc which are. There can be a number of reasons for shortness of breath and unfortunately your doctor will go go through a process of elimination of possible causes in order to reach a diagnosis. Nobody can diagnose online so sadly it's a matter of waiting.

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Hidden in reply to Badbessie

Thanks for the reply. It's just very frustrating as you can imagine

Badbessie
Badbessie in reply to Hidden

Of course it's very worrying. I could name a number of reasons other than COPD but at times I feel that only gives the person more to worry about. Please let us know how you get on.

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Hidden in reply to Badbessie

I shall do. I have pft on the 6th, Spiro on the 10th and respiratory consultant on the 27th.

Hi Luke. I’ve had asthma for 52 years since the age of 9. In childhood and up to my thirties it was pretty bad, lots of hospital stays and hard to control. In between then and now it has been ok, well controlled and only throwing a hissy fit when I’ve a cold or chest infection, the last bad one resulting in being in hospital was 5 years ago.

When I got the flu almost 5 weeks ago the coughing and breathlessness was awful, my peak flow went down to 250 but my pulse ox was 95 so I knew it wasn’t asthma. Then the x Ray showed copd and that made sense of it really.

I have never smoked in my life.

You are a almost half my age and exercise well, your peak flow is fantastic, mine is only 460 on very good days also I don’t think it’s ever been more than 500.

At present I can’t get more than 370 and that’s before and after inhalers through a spacer.

Like me you are waiting Spiro, results and a talk with your doctor.

I know I will handle it better when I know what I’m dealing with and if it is copd you are young enough to make the various changes in your life to help yourself (as I intend to do) Good luck Luke and stay in touch by all means x

It is entirely possible. I was never the fittest of blokes, but wasn’t exactly “unfit” either. I’ve had asthma since childhood, never let that stop me doing things.

The one thing that did stop me? Being diagnosed with COPD and Bronchiectasis when I was 36. Since then my breathlessness can get quite bad, especially on exertion.

Hope your tests provide some answers. Good luck.

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Hidden in reply to Symes

Thanks for the reply Symes. You see even though I smoked for nearly 20 years I was always pretty fit and active. And since I quit 2 years ago I've never been fitter, running 20 odd miles a week most weeks. Then out of the blue i get my chest goes mega tight! Lasts for 4 days, disappears then comes back 4 weeks later with a vengeance and stays for, well, 6 weeks. We're you symptoms out of the blue and very sudden?

Thanks

Symes
Symes in reply to Hidden

They actually were. Mine started off pretty similar.

At the start of August 2012 I ended up in hospital with an asthma attack and bronchitis. Really struggled with my breathing. It took nearly 8 weeks before I was well enough to go back to work at the end of September due to exacerbation of the asthma.

By November I was off work again through til January. Was fine for the next couple months, until I was hospitalised again in April 2013 after not being able to breathe at home, and that was that. Haven’t worked since.

Over the next year I had numerous tests done. Sat in that glass box blowing down those pipes more times than I care to count! Had a few scans, and allergy tests too.

In November of 2013 I was told I had COPD. By June of 2014, they’d added Bronchiectasis to the mix as well. And the allergy tests showed I was allergic to cats, dogs..... and dust mites.

Like you, I was a smoker for 20 years. But the consultant I saw said it wasn’t my smoking that caused my problems. It didn’t help, obviously, but it wasn’t the main cause. Mine was down mainly to all the asthma attacks I’ve had since I was a kid, coupled with a bout of pneumonia in 2004, damaging my lungs.

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Hidden in reply to Symes

Sorry to hear that. How is your breathing now? I've never been diagnosed with asthma, or had an asthma attack. I've got a spiro and pft in a week, hopefully they will shed some light.

Symes
Symes in reply to Hidden

Got a chest infection at the moment, so I’m struggling and laid up! Generally though, not counting the infection, my breathing isn’t too bad as long as I don’t push myself. I’m on 3 inhalers a day, as well as tablets (a constant anti-biotic I take 3 times a week called Azithromycin plus one other for the COPD I can’t remember the name of right now).

My breathing plays up, my chest starts really hurting, if I over exert myself - talking on the phone for long periods, carrying a heavy bag of shopping home from Tescos, or even just climbing the stairs at home some days.

So I have to try and take things easy now. That isn’t always possible, but you know. It is what it is.

Hope your Spiro and pft are able to give you some answers.

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Hidden in reply to Symes

Thanks for the info mate. Can I just ask how long you've been like this for? Tell me to do one if im being to nosey....

Symes
Symes in reply to Hidden

Not at all mate. Happy to help. I’ve been like this for the last four-five years now, since 2013-2014.

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Hidden in reply to Symes

Ah right, I bet it was a massive shock? Did they say what stage you're at? Out of everything I've read about copd seems most likely. I've been to it chested like I say for 6 weeks now, like I can't get a full lung of air. And pain across my ribs. My xrays have been clear.

Symes
Symes in reply to Hidden

Yeah, it was a bit. Not as much as some folk I’ve met, as I was used to being hospitalised with the asthma. But that used to last maybe a week on nebulisers and such, then everything would clear up and I’d be discharged and I’d be fine for another 6, 8, 10 months. Sometimes longer.

This, once this hit in 2012-13, it just never seemed to go away. I thought at first it was just the asthma, but I couldn’t shake it. That was the shocking and frankly depressing thing at the time.

No matter what I did, I just couldn’t seem to get well again like I had in years past. I ended up seeing the doctor in December 2012 about depression too, because I wasn’t used to being off work ill for that length of time. It really messes with your head.

I’m at the moderate stage of COPD, but not sure about my Bronchiectasis. Worse than mild but not quite severe. Somewhere in the middle!

Yours certainly sounds like COPD, especially with clear X-Rays and everything. Also, if you’re feeling like you can’t get a full lung of air, because COPD does narrow the airways.

But it also could sound like one of the many other lung conditions that there are. Once your test results come back you’ll know for certain. But it could be a long process so don’t go in expecting an instant answer. Like I said earlier, mine took from April to November in 2013 to diagnose the COPD. Lots of tests in that time. And after more tests til June 2014 for the Bronchiectasis.

Have you checked the British Lung Foundation website yet? Lots of good information and advice on there - blf.org.uk - I’d highly recommend it.

Symes
Symes in reply to Symes

Sorry for the long spiel by the way!

Hidden
Hidden in reply to Symes

No need for apologies mate, the more info the better. I had to have four weeks off work when it was really bad, it's better than it was but it's got to a point it's stayed the same for about 3 or 4 weeks now. One day it's not as bad and I think oh I must be getting better, then the next day it's worse again. The shocking thing for me is how fast this came about. Literally within an hour I went from breathing fine to hardly being able to breathe at all... I'd even been for a run that morning!

I'll check the blf out, thanks for the heads up on that.

Symes
Symes in reply to Hidden

That’s what I mean about it messing with your head! One day you think you’re doing ok and getting better, the next you’re back where you started.

There’s lots of things to help with this though. There are something like 250 Breathe Easy Support groups up and down the country - blf.org.uk/support-for-you/...

Some run ‘Active’ exercise classes with a BLF trained instructor. They’re pretty good. And if it is COPD you’re diagnosed with, you could always ask your GP/consultant to refer you for a local Pulmonary Rehabilitation course. Did one myself last year, and they’re great.

COPD may be a permanent condition, but don’t let it stop you keeping fit 😊

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Hidden in reply to Symes

Yeh it's very annoying, do you find any inhalers give you relief?

What are the breathe easy support groups, what do you do when you're there?

I only seem to get breathless at the minute if I run, walking isn't a problem (at the moment) I can run up the stairs etc. It's just my chest constantly feels tight.

Do you need a carer etc, or can you manage yourself? Getting dressed, chores etc...

Symes
Symes in reply to Hidden

The inhalers do help, yes. One of them, for example, acts as a reliever and helps to widen the airways, therefore making it easier to breathe.

Breathe Easy support groups - I guess the best way to describe them is a real life version of this message board! They’re generally run on a voluntary basis, with a chair, treasurer and secretary. Folks from all walks of life with varying lung conditions and varying degrees of severity attend. Some will have health professionals such as respiratory nurses also attending.

Backed by the BLF, they act as a support network for people in the area to go, talk about their conditions, listen to others talk about theirs. Most will try and arrange speakers too on different topics. Some will have the formal meetings once a month, but also arrange social nights. And every year in June there is a Breathe Easy week, where the BLF and the Breathe Easy group members get out and raise awareness. Setting up a stall in a hospital for example, or running a special event at the place where the Breathe Easy meetings are held.

They also volunteer to distribute BLF leaflets and posters around local GP surgeries, again to raise awareness.

The link I put in the last comment should help you find your nearest Breathe Easy.

I don’t need a carer, yet. I can manage myself, but with great difficulty. A lot of the time I do get out of breath just putting on a pair of socks. Housework is done in very small doses, at very irregular intervals. I haven’t hoovered properly since January. Which is bad for me, being allergic to dust mites and all, but that’s just the hand I got dealt. I’ve had to learn to live with it. I don’t do washing up - I got us a dishwasher and just loading that at the end of the day wears me out.

When I am laid up with a chest infection though, like the last couple days, I do need help doing things. My wife, despite being ill herself is my regular Florence Nightingale!

Hidden
Hidden in reply to Symes

Thanks for taking the time to give me so much information, it really is appreciated. I'll contact the blf on Tuesday and get some more information on copd etc.

I hope you get over your chest infection soon buddy! I'm glad you've got someone to help you, I'm on my own so it will be a pain if/when things do get bad.

Thanks again for taking the time to speak with me 👍🏻

Symes
Symes in reply to Hidden

No worries. Happy to help Luke 😊

Enjoy the rest of your Easter mate, and good luck with the tests. Keep us posted!

Hello Luke. I am a bit older than yourself, am 75 next Monday but I stopped smoking 30 years ago and got really breathless in January 2017. After being taken to hospital a couple of times and being very anxious I was diagnosed last June with emphysema and copd after having a ct scan. I had enjoyed good health whilst working but when I retired it seemed like one thing after another. The consultant said it was the smoking that has caused the problem. It is something that we have to come to terms with. Good luck to you with any tests you have to have. Keep positive mate. 👍🤓

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Hidden in reply to Roysieboy

Thanks for the reply mate, I'm sorry to hear you too have emphysema. I'm not looking forward to the tests but I know they have to be done, hopefully if it is anything serious it will be caught in the early stages

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