Mild COPD: Hi everyone It's my first... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

49,533 members59,414 posts


Betsey69 profile image

Hi everyone It's my first post and wanted to ask for some advice as you all seem to look out for each other on here. Am feeling very overwhelmed and a bit scared. Had a mild COPD diagnosis a year ago but not really had any symptoms until the last few weeks. Had an endoscopy a month ago with a lot of discomfort after where biopsys were taken, since then I have had constant burping, chest tightness, Sudden afternoon shortness of breath that comes and goes and a crushing feeling in my chest. Like I am suffocating. I have other health problems, sinus issues, hiatus hernia and regular heartburn. . Ended up in casualty unable to breathe, they took bloods, chest x ray, ecg, all clear. My oxygen levels were 99. They think it's anxiety. A follow up with my gp went badly and she told me that I could die at any time from an infection. Since then I have been much worse. And now find I can't think of anything else and am going round in circles. I have tried breathing techniques, but nothing helps. Am ashamed to say I continued to smoke and am only dealing with giving up now. Is it too late? I am 55, 5ft tall and struggle with being underweight. I feel like I am in a vicious circle and am scared. I suppose my question is, Does this sound like classic copd progression? My COPD review is 2 months away and feel I will go mad if I have to wait until then. Any advice would be great. Thanks for listening.

33 Replies

Hi Betsy. Sorry your feeling low,I can identify with your feelings of anxiety. I get anxious just walking past our health centre! I don't have COPD but was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis 18 months ago. I feel differently at different times of the day,no idea why. I try and just go along with it. My oxygen levels are good too but sometimes I wonder why!! My advice is to try and take a day at a time and be reassured by your clear results. Re smoking,its never too late to give up!! Good luck!! xx

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to Aingeful

Thank you for replying Aingeful. Your so right to be reassured by the clear results and it's great advice to take one day at a time. I immediately felt better writing it down here! Will definitely stop smoking this time. Thank you so much. I have a feeling this site will be a great place to share experiences good or bad on our journey. Wishing you good health and thank you again. My husband is my best friend, would normally discuss my fears with him but don't want to worry him x

It sounds to me like it’s probably a mix of both, and a vicious cycle: you are getting symptoms of your COPD, but then you’re getting anxiety about them — which is 100% understandable — and everything feels worse. This is common, especially if you’re finding the diagnosis quite daunting. I will note that your oxygen level being normal doesn’t necessarily mean anything; I was in resus with a life-threatening asthma attack, on the verge of going to ICU, only a few weeks back and my sats were normal, chest X-ray clear, ECG just showed tachycardia. They knew I was bad from how I looked, what I could tell them, and hearing very little air movement in my lungs.

It’s important I think that you get seen by your COPD nurse and book a good slot to talk to them, and put in place a proper plan for your COPD. You can look at your symptoms with the nurse and talk through any concerns, issues, and medications thoroughly. The British Lung Foundation also has support groups so maybe there’s one in your local area? :)

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to mainsdours

Mainsdours thank you for replying. You have given me some great advice and I do feel a lot better just talking about it.. Yes I will book an appointment with a nurse to talk this through and read up on this, starting with the British Lung Foundation. I think I went into denial last year hoping this would go away. Stupid I know. You have all been very kind. Thank you x

COPD123491 profile image
COPD123491 in reply to Betsey69

Good morning Betsy. The advice given by Mainsdours is spot on. I have been hospitalised twice this year with IE COPD (infection exacerbating copd) and I keep a COPD "Rescue Pack" at home (steroids and antibiotics) as supplied by the copd team. It is imperative, as Mainsdours says, that you see your practice nurse and get a plan as to how to avert/mitigate any infections. Apart from your GP there are specialised teams out there and they are highly trained copd specialists. The practice nurse will give you advice on this. But, PLEASE, give up smoking. I did almost 5 years ago after smoking for over 50 years and if I was able to do it you shouldn't have a problem. While my infections were life threatening (consultants words) I am concerned that your doctor stated that you could die at any time from an infection. I'm not surprised that you are worried. Terrible advice from a professional. I wish you all the best for the future and wish you and yours a happy, healthy and stress free Christmas

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to COPD123491

Thank you so much for your reply and your kind words. I am completely blown away by how helpful you all are on here. Your right, the stopping smoking is the key to all this. One good thing is my husband is stopping as well now so maybe her bluntness has been the push we needed. Thank you again and wishing you a happy and healthy christmas also xx

Hi Betsy. What you are experiencing is not uncommon, a lot of us go through this at first. Your GP was probably trying to frighten you into quitting smoking. COPD is a chronic disease i.e. there is no cure (yet) and it will progress, getting worse as time goes on. Quitting is the best way to slow this progression right down to the normal level of the decline of lung function that comes from aging. A chest infection can kill a normal healthy person, so she was telling the truth, but very unlikely, even with mild COPD.

I too think that anxiety is what is the cause of your current problems. Anxiety can and does affect our breathing. It can also bring on a panic attack which can really affect your breathing, hyper-ventilating, and you can end up in A&E. Over time you can get used to the symptoms of being breathless and take measures to manage it. Try to stay calm and collected when you get breathless, there is nothing to worry about, everyone gets out of breath, it is just that with COPD we get out of breath sooner that is all. Using pursed lip breathing really helps, this is where you breathe in through your nose, using your diaphragm and count how long that breath takes then gently blow out, as if whistling or blowing out all the candles on a cake, whilst counting, the "out breath" should take 2 or 3 times longer than the in breath. Concentrate on the "out breath" keeping it under control, the "in breath" will always take care of itself.

The next best things too help you is regular exercise, the more you do, the more you can do. Eat a healthy balanced diet, try not to eat a huge meal but rather a lot of smaller portions, a full stomach can compromise the movement of your diaphragm. Drink lots of water to help thin any mucus. Then of course take any meds as prescribed.

Try to get referred to Pulmonary Rehabilitation Course by your GP, it is there that you will learn all about the exercises and education on just how to manage the symptoms of COPD. You have many years left of useful life yet so don't worry about that either. You are fortunate to be diagnosed when only mild, you can now minimise the progression and affects of this horrible disease.

I was diagnosed at the severe stage 36 months ago and at 68 years still working full-time as a production engineer and still live a more or less normal life style. So as you can see, there is lots of hope with a mild diagnosis. Take a look at these videos (link below), they may be of help.

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to 2greys

Thank you for replying 2Greys and thanks for the link. Your replies to me mean more than you all realise. Have struggled to get the breathing technique right but Your great explanation really helped and yes have noticed after a big meal I really can't breathe, so will try smaller meals. You all have a very positive attitude and it will inspire me to get to grips with this. Feel very fortunate I have found this site. Thank you all again for all your help. Will keep you all posted. Hopefully at some point I can come on here and give some help, instead of asking for help. Wishing you all continued good health.

janice01 profile image
janice01 in reply to 2greys

Excellent advice....

Never give up...

Hi Betsy non of us are doctors here and I am thinking your doctor is more concerned for your welfare because you are underweight and still smoking.

Mild COPD properly taken care of does not have a terminal prognosis, but being underweight and still smoking increases your chances of getting a lung infection, and cause more lung damage.

If you are under treatment for being underweight it would be important to bring your weight back up to the normal, range a properly healthy balanced diet is so important if you are to increase you chances of fighting and surviving an infection to avoid the risk of it turning into a more serious situation..

Although I am not a doctor I would say speak to your doctor and ask what you can do to help yourself and go along with the recommendations.

1) Treat the acid reflux problem asap, (burping, regular heart burn etc) Rennie, Gaviscon or medication prescribed by your doctor. It is not advisable to let this go untreated, once that is under control many of your other symptoms may subside.

2) treat the anxiety problem ask for referral on how to manage that, there are courses run by the NHS to deal with that. In order to help yourself you have to take responsibility for attending. Ask the doctor for recommendation in self help classes, medication etc.

3) treat the underweight problem. eat a healthy diet and ask your doctor for a food supplement drink in addition to eating proper meals every day. Ask for a referral to a clinic for underweight people.

4) Seriously consider stopping smoking, it will give you a better appetite and preserve your lung health, its fortunate you are still at mild stage COPD but continuing to smoke will increase your chances of further lung damage.

Do the right thing by yourself, tackle one problem at a time, there is nothing we cannot achieve, if we put our minds to it. The decision as always is your own. But to carry on the way you are, will create further health issues for yourself long term and shorten your lifespan.

Take good care of yourself, you are worth it and you can go on to live a happy, healthy life into old age.

So while you are waiting the 2 months for your COPD review, you have time to address some really important issues before that comes around. Do start with the suggestion in paragraph 1) above. Then go on to make the appointment with your doctor to discuss further the other health issues you are experiencing besides COPD. I would say COPD is the least of your problems at this time and definitely focus on helping yourself with the other health issues. I say this even though I am not a medical professional. Always better to take advice and medicine as prescribed by your doctor, but you do have to ask for that help from your doctor in order to help yourself.

Feel better soon, all in good time to enjoy the Christmas festivities once you take control with No. 1) issue.

Best wishes


Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to Bkin

Hi Bkin thank you replying. You are all amazing. I honestly feel I have had more help here in the short time Ive been on here than I have ever had from my GP. Thank you! Yes your right I need to deal with all my other health issues first, I have also had a few spinal surgeries this past year, that I didn't even mention, so have a lot going on. Yes I worry my weight will cause me problems if not sorted. I eat lots but never seem to put it on and hover around the 7st mark. People are always commenting on it, But will get some supplementary help. I have definitely felt unusually down these last few weeks, like it's too late, but as you all say it's never too late. Your right to say I am in charge of the decisions I make regarding my health...and you saying that will really help me, unbelievably never thought of it like that before! I will use this time between now and my next appointment to deal with this head on and learn to try and be more positive and grateful. Will let you know how I get on, Hopefully at my next test I am still mild. Your so kind to reply. Thank you so much again. Wishing you a lovely Christmas too x

Damon1864 profile image

Hi and welcome to the site, I think your GP is very insensitive and should be trying to help not scare you. I myself suffer with anxiety and it can be very Frightening but please don't worry it can be treated with medication. If you are still smoking please do your best to give up, you will be surprised how much better you will start to feel. Eat healthier and try to exercise a little each day housework is a good form of exercise. And if you are feeling scared or feel you can't voope you can always phone the British lung foundation for advice. We are all here for you and ready to listen no matter what. So you are never alone, please keep posting and I hope this really helps. Take care and have a lovely weekend.

😊 Bernadette xx

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to Damon1864

Bernadette thank you so much for replying, your all so kind I cant believe it.x Yes anxiety is new for me but as you say VERY frightening. It's so lovely to know if I am feeling scared or anxious I can call the British Lung Foundation. Hopefully I won't need to bother you. I only found out I had copd from the receptionist at the GP surgery by chance and there was an 8 month delay after my spirometry test from the doctors before telling me, so it was a bit of a shock. Well not really a total shock as ive always smoked, I'm ashamed to say. I feel 100 times better just joining your group. I will do all the things you suggest. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, hope you have a lovely weekend x

Damon1864 profile image

Please don't worry about bothering me you won't, I'm here if you need to sound off or just chat. I'm Happy to help.😊 xx

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to Damon1864

Thank you so much Bernadette, that's so good to know xx ☺

First of all it' never too late to quit smoking and if you don't then you run the risk of your mild copd becoming more severe. I was diagnosed mild copd at your age but 10 years on only packed in the ciggies last year. I am very fortunate to still remain mild but you might not be so lucky! I finally gave up with the help of the great Quit site on here so have a look.

I agree some of it can also be anxiety. There are several anxiety sites on here too so why not consider one of those? Meanwhile stay with us as we all help and support each other. x

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to hypercat54

Thank you so much for replying Hypercat54 and your support. You have all been so welcoming. Have joined up with the group you suggested for stopping smoking and they have been in touch already! Will also check the information regarding dealing with my anxiety. Am feeling much more positive today and less panicked after joining this site. Thank you so much x

Hi Betsey69 .

Everyone has given you some very good insight and advice. 😊 I just wanted to say hi and you're not alone. Please do keep in touch.

Warm wishes,

Cas xx 🌿

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to Caspiana

Hi Caspiana 😊 Thank you for replying, Yes! Everyone has been amazing! Feel so much more able to cope with whatever comes my way now. It's nice to know your not alone xx Warm wishes to you as well Cas xx

Hi Betsey69 When I was first diagnosed with COPD I was devastated .. Having nursed my Mother with the same desease I thought

“right well my times up!” ..


get yourself focused on quitting .. patches .. gum .. smoke sensation group .. the lot.. you can do this! .. huge hugs xx

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to Candyred

Hi Candyred Thank you for replying x Sorry to hear you about your mother x my mum died when we were young children from a lung disease, which we never really discussed. It's sort of always at the back of my mind ...But that was in the 1970s and there is so much more help now. Your so right, it's never too late. Thank you so much for the encouragement. Will let you know how I get along. Big hugs back to you and thank you xxx

Veteran250 profile image
Veteran250 in reply to Betsey69

Hi Betsey, welcome to Quit Support, your friendly Quit Smoking support community..... I cant advise on COPD as I have never had it, but I had to quit smoking for health reasons. Can I suggest you check out our community Pinned Posts for info to help you on your journey to become smoke free, you will find the Pinned Posts to the right of this page or at the bottom of page, depending on which device you are using., they are pinned there by Admins or other community members, about they’re ups and downs of becoming smoke free.

I smoked for over 45 years, smoking about 30/40 cigarettes a day, but quit going Cold Turkey, I am smoke free now, and at 75 live an easy breathing smoke free life and its awesome!!

I hope my story gives you some encouragement on your journey to become smoke free. I live in the Garden of England, in the UK.

Don. 😀🌞🌹

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to Veteran250

Hi Don Thank you so much for your reply and all the helpful information x will definitly check out the community pinned posts. Your story certainly gives me, and I'm sure many others, encouragement. Today has been difficult with the smoking. For some bizarre reason can't think of anything else, even though its starting to disgust me now. Think this is a good sign though. Where you live sounds lovely Don. I live in Rye in Sussex which has also been very sunny today. Thank you Don xx

Candyred profile image
Candyred in reply to Betsey69

Great! Will look forward to your updates xx


The best thing you can do for yourself is to join this forum.

You will find encouragement and folk with first hand experience and knowledge which will help you.

Your comment about looking out for each other is right on the money.

Keep posting and take care.

Very good wishes.

Hi Whitechinchilla thank you for replying x Yes! I feel very fortunate I came across your forum. It's amazing how much it helps to actually talk things through. You have all been great. Thank you all for welcoming me in. Will keep you posted. Take care xx

Do please. You are at home here. Blessings

Thank you x 😊

The acid reflux may be at the bottom of some of your difficulties.

I was put on Alendronic acid.

That upset my gastric system.

Have now been diagnosed with H Hernia.... and this week will see Dr at a Cambridge hospital as to whether op can go ahead.

32% lung function, bronchiectasis and asthma.

The asthma is being made worse by acid reflux. Thus have to take omeprazol x 2 daily.... just to help keep acid under control...

Good luck and never give up! X

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to janice01

Hi Janice Thank you so much for replying x Yes the acid reflux is a bit of a nightmare. I do take ompeprozole and gaviscon as and when, but am never sure if my problems are copd related or because of that. It's all quite confusing,. I am due a barium swallow which may shed some light, hopefully. My hernia is small and my consultant thinks it shouldn't be causing so many problems, Live yoghurt always helps when everything else fails. I have found it really settles my stomach, great for dogs also.. I ended up with erosive gastritis from overuse of anti inflammatorys. As well as all my other problems. Feel like I am falling to bits. Lol. But as you say never give up. Great advice. Good luck with your appointment this week. Hope it all goes well. Xx and thank you

I think l remember told Omiprazole was to take daily not as and when


Reflux can happen at night and be causing you trouble next day or 3...

Youre looking to get stable!

Pulmonary rehab is a must, whether you smoke or not....

I was 40 a day for 20yrs.

Never touched again for over 20yrs.

If l can do it you can too...

Secret is to say 'l can smoke if l want to but lm choosing not to smoke.' Stopping deprivation symptoms (of saying, l mustn't have a cigarette etc...).

Never sit in a seat where you have sat with a cigarette. If youve smoked in every seat - put a dining chair in the middle of the room and watch tv etc from there...


(Waiting to trip you up, when you least expect her). She would love to start you smoking again....

I devised and used these techniques, sharing with one and all, over 25yrs ago.

I laugh at her now, she cant tempt me!

Good luck x

Betsey69 profile image
Betsey69 in reply to janice01

Thanks Janice what a great reply, thank you for sharing your techniques! Well done for not succumbing and going back to smoking, keep laughing at her, will remember that ! 😃X ' the ompeprozole I take daily but meant to say gaviscon, as and when. Your right I really do need to get that under control. At my next appointment will enquire about pulmonary rehab. Thank you again xx

Don't mean to moan about them as they are great usually, but your right lol. X

You may also like...