I was diagnosed with COPD seven years ago. I was a heavy smoker and it took me until two years ago to give up, after a collapsed lung and surgical procedure. I've been lucky not to have had extreme symptoms and have managed to exercise regularly, daily walks and three classes of Chi Kung a week. I have never had an exacerbation - never that is, until two weeks ago. For no apparent reason, over several days I developed a tickly cough, which became worse and worse and was there permanently. I was suddenly also frighteningly breathless, and for the first time unable to climb the two flights of stairs to my bedroom. I waited for several days hoping things would improve, but in every respect they just got worse. I finished up going to A&E in a panic, and they did an X-ray which revealed nothing, and blood tests which showed no underlying infection. As I'd calmed down, they sent me home with a seven day course of 40mg of steroids (Prednisolone). I began taking the steroids the following morning. By the end of the course, while my symptoms had eased very slightly, they were still there. Now, a week since finishing the course, I am still coughing badly and much more breathless than I ever was before. I had hoped that by now, the steroids would have addressed the symptoms, but apparently this is not the case. Today I rang on of those NHS help lines, and was informed that it's not uncommon for symptoms to continue for up to three or four weeks after a course of steroids. Can anybody confirm this for me from their own experience? Do most people find that a short course clears an exacerbation?If not, what is the alternative? And is there any point in continuing with another course of steroids? If I'm patient, will these symptoms clear?
Any input would be most valued. Thanking you all in advance.
Every good wish,
Cliff (67 years)