Is this COPD or anxiety: I am new here... - British Lung Foun...

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Is this COPD or anxiety

Viamar204B
Viamar204B

I am new here. My husband has COPD but no cough or mucus and rarely has chest infection. He does suffer from anxiety and depression. He often gets up saying he is ill with COPD but generally when I am going to be out or away. I just cannot tell if he is physically ill or having anxiety attack. Have had paramedics out four times and they report all vital signs are good. He has is nebuliser and gets better. He once overdosed on ventalin because I was going away. I cancelled flight. Oxygen levels good. He uses anti-biotics like a placebo. How can I tell if this is physical symptom of COPD or anxiety? It is making me ill and I cannot sleep.

23 Replies
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Do you have a oxymeater finger bob thing. This will help you to know his oxagen levels witch may help you decide what is going on. People having a exasperation very often struggle to talk using single words rather than full sentences and find it hard to do anything physical. A visit to your gp to explane what is realy going on might be a good idear. anxiety is very common among us breathy people and can be very debilitating getting help with the anxiety may help. Thear is no reason he can't cope with his illness while you are away. Lots of people live alone and cope very well with thear illnesses. it might help him if he is taught how to deal with his anxiety. and you need to be strong enough to be tough with him not always easy with people we care about. Good luck.

Hello Viamar204B and welcome. 😊

May I ask when your husband was diagnosed and what kind of tests they conducted to reach their diagnosis?

It certainly sounds as if he gets extremely anxious at the thought of either being alone or being separated from you or both. Is he able to go out at all? And if he does, does he have to be with you all the time? Sorry for the loads of questions. I am trying to get a larger picture of your circumstances.

I think he does need perhaps psychiatric evaluation and help for his anxiety. As much as you love him , you cannot be tethered constantly. I may be wrong but it seems like his symptoms occur more often when you are going out which seems like anxiety that could possibly exacerbate his breathing issues.

I am sorry it's hard for you at the moment. Please do let us know how things progress. Sending very best wishes,

Cas xx 🌿

Viamar204B
Viamar204B
in reply to Caspiana

Was diagnosed 12 years ago. He can walk but chooses not to. He eats and sleeps well and has no pain ever. No cough. I just don’t know how to tell whether he is really sick or just experiencing breathing difficulties due to anxiety. He wanted me to call 999 for paramedics but I refused and he was fine. He is now carrying on as if nothing happened today even though I had to cancel trip to London theatre with friends. I cried all day but he is oblivious to my feelings.

Caspiana
Caspiana
in reply to Viamar204B

Errrr.... I don't know how to say this without sounding judgemental. He may have valid breathing issues but he also sounds controlling and as you say is oblivious to your feelings. And why doesn't he walk if he is able? Exercise is important. It will help his lungs and his state of mind. Poor you Viamar204B . I am so sorry you had to cancel your trip. You have a life too. And you deserve to live it. Obviously, I don't know everything, but I must admit to feeling annoyed that you have to put up with this. Perhaps you need to harden your kind heart just a little? *HUG* xx 🌷🌻🌼

jmsutt73
jmsutt73
in reply to Caspiana

Bravo, Caspiana! Well stated. I know well a lovely highly intelligent lady who has been in the exact situation you describe for many years. Friends and family are now seeing the results, bored, withdrawn, confused often, memory issues. Wish that I had been so brave as you to speak my mind years ago. J

garshe
garshe
in reply to Viamar204B

He has to keep Mobile. I was diagnosed severe COPD 9 yrs ago. Gave up smoking immediately and carried on as normal. Exercise increases oxygen and improves lung function.being immobile is worst thing ever. He can fly and go on holidays. Has to be Positive. Good luck.

Fromreading your post I think that you can answer this yourself.

A while back my partner pulled a night shift, something she does not normally do. As I lay in bed, I had all sorts of scenarios going through my mind, what if this and what if that happens. Now whilst I did not let it get the better of me, I can well imagine that for some it could be overwhelming, even if they only normally had mild anxiety.

Anxiety can make breathing worse, then panic sets in as they lose control of their breathing which in turn feeds the anxiety even more, a big vicious circle. I have been there myself, before I was diagnosed and knew what was wrong, I was convinced that I was about to die.

Not saying this is definitely the case with your hubby, but it is a possibility and I can understand it happening. Not being able to breathe is scary even at the best of times, but anxiety is something that can be conquered even if it means asking for help from a GP.

Viamar204B
Viamar204B
in reply to 2greys

Thank you I am sure this is what is happening but it is making me ill.

He will not admit what is wrong insisting it is physical. He is controlling me in this way and making everyone unhappy

Viamar,i have to side with you,i believe he is using his illness as a controlling weapon,could it be that he feels threatened or perhaps even slightly jealous that you have the ability and desire to lead a normal life and socialise?have you any family of friends to sort of mediate on this one,perhaps i am being too harsh on your hubby but it is a very difficult and personal situation and i don't envy you resolving the situation and i am far too clumsy and awkward to offer any guidance in that area. good luck but try not to let it affect your own health.

Ski's and scruff's x

I do feel for you but I also feel for your husband. He is frightened, has no self confidence and possibly low self worth. I really feel for him, that he is so low that he cannot stop himself doing the things he does, things which affect you so badly, but things he feels he has to do to survive. As Caspiana said, he possibly needs psychological help, or maybe a course of anti anxiety tablets might help initially. If you haven’t done so yet, maybe you should make an appointment yourself alone with his doctor to discuss this, making it clear how his behaviour is affecting you. Do keep in touch and let us know how things are. Keep strong while you seek the answer, because there will be an answer for you, it is just so difficult to see when you are in the middle of the situation. You have come to the right place for support, so keep in touch. You can go off to sleep tonight knowing that the answer to your problem will soon come. Very best wishes from PosyP. x

Hi

This sounds like classic symptoms of copd being out of breath mostly all the time If your husband also has anxiety attack’s then this I believe is caused by the scary frightening feeling of not getting enough oxygen Perhaps his doctor could prescribe something to help this I’m sure Also COPD can be triggered by certain events like damp cold weather dust and all manner of things

I hope things improve for both of you

It's anxiety. I am in control now and I know it's hard but you have to breathe. As they say Smell the roses blow out the candle. Slowly it works .once you realise it's a panic attack your fears will subside.x

My previous husband had severe COPD (using nebuliser regularly but not on oxygen) and he was also very controlling. I would sit and talk with him for 2 or more hours at a time, at the end of which he often said 'and no-one ever listens to me', to which I would reply, 'I have, for the last 2 hours'. He ended up with aggressive dementia and threatened me, so I left and stayed in a women's aid refuge where support workers helped me to understand just how manipulative he had been. Amazingly, after I left, he no longer had to use his wheel chair or his electric scooter. I was fortunate that I had maintained a supportive circle of family and friends who helped me through what was a very difficult time in my life.

It is right to say 'me first' at times when you are a carer. If I am not OK, then how can I support the one I care for well? So maintain those contacts with your friends and family. Use tough love at times to make sure your husband has to do more, walk more, take more responsibility. And do get that pulse oximeter. They're not expensive but they will tell you if he's got real COPD issues. I wasn't aware of those when I was in your situation, and would have found the results very useful.

Viamar204B
Viamar204B
in reply to Ergendl

Yes have had blood oxygen monitor for ages and he always has at least 98%.

Have had paramedics out four times and they find nothing wrong. This week I refused to call them and he made speedy recovery.

He takes Sertraline for anxiety but is there something stronger?

Thanks to all

Ergendl
Ergendl
in reply to Viamar204B

At one time, before Bob got too "helpless", I got so fed up with him not helping in the house at all, that I left all the washing up for days and days, just used clean china and cutlery from the cupboard for each meal. The kitchen sink started to smell like cabbages. Eventually he did something about it. I had warned him he needed to help me first.

Things also improved for a little while after I slipped two lumbar discs and ended up in hospital for two weeks. After that, I insisted we moved out of our lovely country cottage into a flat in town which was much easier to care for. Four months later I was in the refuge.

Oh goodness me, these episode must be terrifying for you. You don't know where to start. Deep breaths Viamar you are coping very well and your husband is very lucky to have you by his side. He is scared and you are his strength

Hidden
Hidden

Oh dear I'm do sorry to hear of your problems with your hubby. I myself am suffering from severe anexiety since being diagnosed with copd in January this year. I was being very very needy with my husband then and was really uptight when he went out without me. It was all the great people that I have met on this site who have helped me with my anxiety and allowing me to back off my hubby a bit. You have certainly come yo the right place. Take care of both of you. Theres a good app called HEADSPACE which one of the guys on this site told me about and I find it really good. Speak again soon Mx

Hello Viamar204B ,I think your husband is a very fortunate person to have such a wonderful wife,I would certainly buy an Oxymeter that hopefully put both your minds at rest .

It's possible he could be controlling you as he seems to want you to stay with him , it's really not fair on you , cancelling your flight and happiness, sometimes I feel really ill ,but I have to force myself to do things, believe me I feel better later on ,I don't have a cough or Mucus ,but I do suffer from Anxiety which is awful,but I have to sort myself out ,I live mostly alone but I have to deal with it myself.So please don't stop living.

I wish you all the very best.

Has a oxymeter. To check o2 levels when walking. Does he desaturate. Does he have afib . lots of stuff causes anxiety with this illness. When he has an attack, regardless of why. Have him concentrate on his breath. We seem to overbreath when anxiety. I'm on oxygen and learned this from hubby. Couldn't breath, ambulance came they put that donut thing over me which made me feel I was suffocating. My husband started talking to me to take slower breath. I got it down to 12 breaths a minute and recovered. I get anxious still ,from heart and lungs keeping up with one another. But that oxymeter saved my life. Need to keep oxygen in 90s. If you We Say more than it can bring on that feeling. So just do what I can and I stop and breath some before moving forward. At this stage in illness, I notice anxiety comes on faster when stressed. Sdealing with it best I can. Does he do pierce lip breathing and try the 12breaths a minute thing. My fitbit has a relax mode and I breath with it too when afib gets in way.had afib 10yrs. Hope this help a little. Maybe gave to much info. I don't cough either and no mucus. Keep moving.

HI VIAMAR204B - INTERESTING NAME ! - I CERTAINLY HAVE COPD - QUITE SEVERE , AND CERTAINLY KNOW ALL ABOUT IT !! - AND FROM WHAT YOU SAY ABOUT HUBBY , I WOULD PUT MY MONEY ON HIS " ILLNESS " BEING DUE TO ANXIETY , MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE ....- FROM WHAT YOU SAY ....- NOTHING UNUSUAL, BUT PERHAPS SOME COUNSELLING WOULD BE OF MORE VALUE THAN MEDICATION FOR ANY RESPIRATORY ILLNESS HE MAY THINK HE HAS ... SO SORRY IT IS AFFECTING YOU ALSO , - SEEK FURTHER ADVICE ON THIS = GOOD LUCK ...

Viamar204B
Viamar204B
in reply to vittorio

Yes panic attack this morning and I talked him down now I know the signs. Stopped him using nebuliser as he is not physically ill. It has taken me years to recognise this is not COPD and four 999 calls in the past. He reaches for steroids or anti biotics if given a chance. Now he breathes into paper bag and waves fan in his face

Thank you

I am so sorry to add to whats already been said as i know how serious COPD is or can be depending on how far along the spectrum you are but i would quite happily say that it sounds as if hes lying about his condition in order to keep you from having a life outside your relationship with him. I feel sorry for you and hope you find a solution.

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