Father has really bad breathing!!! - British Lung Foun...

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Father has really bad breathing!!!

Shaney75 profile image

Hello everyone,

I really need some advice because I am so worried about my father. His breathing on the slightest exertion is very bad. He his fine when rested, but if he walks for 10 seconds he is gasping for breath. He has been told he has mild COPD (Emphysema). No lung cancer is present, heart is fine and pumping blood to and from the heart. Can mild Emphysema really cause such bad breathing? Has anyone had similar issues? Also, has anyone had the Endobronchial Valves fitted? I hope someone can help. Thank you in advance.

25 Replies

I think that you should phone 111 or even 999 if his breathing is so bad. It could signify something needing medical attention as breathlessness would not usually be severe with mild emphysema.

Thank you for your replies. He has had CT scans, ECG, Echo Caridogram and Mycardial Perfusion Stress scan - all have come back ok. They mention in the report that they can see a little emphysema and categorised it as mild COPD.

CDPO16 profile image
CDPO16 in reply to Shaney75

I still recommend that you phone 111 or 999 and get some medical attention.

Endobronchial valves are not inserted into the lungs of patients with mild Emphysema and your father sounds like he has need of more immediate medical attentions,such breathlessness is not normal for his diagnosed condition .please seek medical advice.

Sounds like a trip to a and e is warranted.

Dial 999 Shaney and get your father checked out in hospital. He needs medical intervention now. Xx

Thank you all for your replies. I totally understand the advice of seeking medical attention straightaway but this has been going on for over 12 months. This is why the scans have taken place and nothing obvious found. I also understand that endobronchial valves are not fitted to those with mild emphysema but this really doesn’t look mild at all when you see my father everyday out of breath doing the slightest of exertion. Just wondered if anybody out there has seen this before? Thank you all very much.

CDPO16 profile image
CDPO16 in reply to Shaney75

Hi again Shaney, it's possible that those who have already replied won't see this your latest reply but there will be forum members who haven't yet seen your original post who may respond.Taking into account all the tests your dad has had I still say that he shouldn't be struggling so much with a diagnosis of mild emphysema. You haven't said what if any medication he has but something isn't right and I think that you should speak to his doctor about the situation, emphasising his struggles and your concerns. You could also phone the BLF contact number to speak to one of their nurses for advice. Best wishes to you and your dad.

beech profile image
beech in reply to Shaney75

Have you actually accompanied him on these hospital visits and tests? And do you see the letters or sit in on the appointments with doctors?

I’m only asking in case your father has possibly underplayed the full truth of his condition. My father was a terror for that.

Whatever, it does sound as though he is not coping well at the moment, and it must be miserable for him to be so hampered by his breathing. He really could do with seeing a respiratory nurse or the GP to see what could be done to help him. Good luck.

Shaney75 profile image
Shaney75 in reply to beech

Thank you for replying. Yes I have been to every appointment and seen every letter. There must be something being missed. Thank you for caring.

There is more going on than they have found so far. The others are right. Do persist in asking for answers.

Just a thought but how is his weight? Being overweight can put extra strain on your body especially with lung disease as well. As advised,go back to your GP.

Shaney75 profile image
Shaney75 in reply to Aingeful

Hi, he is actually very underweight. Thank you.

Aingeful profile image
Aingeful in reply to Shaney75

I hope you get help soon,you must be very worried. Let us know how he is.

Hi Shaney. Sorry, your Dad is struggling. With Mild COPD he should not be having such symptoms and you should definitely call 111 and get some advice. He may have an exacerbation or similar and require treatment. Please do not delay. Best wishes to you both. John

Hi. So I understand that he has had lots of tests and medics are fully aware of health issues. The reason people are suggesting 111 is because they think the SOB is new and dad may have an infection.I am wondering if the problem is due to him being deconditioned? We know that exercise is vital for keeping fit and well but I can envisage dad is doing less and less due to being SOB. It’s a vicious circle. He goes for short walk and gets SOB and scared then doesn’t go out which deconditions him so next time has to go out he gets more SOB so doesn’t go out again…..

It would be worth asking gp about pulmonary rehab course. This is a 2hr course for a number of weeks where first hour is spent doing exercise and 2nd hour is education about lung issues but primarily COPD. You learn that SOB is actually normal when exercising but when a person should stop because is becoming dangerous. Usually these courses are run by specialist physios who will do an assessment prior to someone joining. Then guest speakers do many of the education sessions.

Most people find the course valuable and usually everyone increases their level of fitness. So definitely worth pursuing.

Shaney75 profile image
Shaney75 in reply to Bevvy

Thank you for your advice, I do appreciate it.

bazcranleigh profile image
bazcranleigh in reply to Bevvy

Excellent advice. I suffer from pulmonary fibrosis. I have been on two pulmonary rehab courses, having similar symptoms to your dad, and found them not only useful for my wellbeing but it get him into a loop where the physios and respiratory nurses are involved. This has been a godsend for me as they are much more hands on than the consultant and have resulted in a supply of ambulatory oxygen for when exercising or doing anything strenuous.

Thank you everyone x

If this is his normal, id read up on controlled breathing,and practise with him.it may help when he moves/ walks etc.I think people r concerned he may have an infection/ flare up and need medical attention

A bit left field here perhaps, Shaney75 , but I have a very good friend who has multiple organ, multiple transplant recipient. After her second lot of transplants she was finding herself short of breath. Needless to say the medics were all over it.

Cutting a very long story of scans, tests and all sorts, with nothing of note found, one of her specialists, during discussion, floated with her the potential that her breathing challenges were actually a symptom of the anxiety and stress she had been feeling over the previous year of ill-health, transplants, failing transplants and re-transplantation. She floated that she might just have forgotten how to breathe properly in certain circumstances.

As a result, she underwent counselling and was advised to take up singing, and later swimming.

As I say, I could be absolutely and completely inappropriate in floating this with you, but my friend's life is transformed by counselling, breathing exercises, singing and swimming - over a period of months and now years.

Whatever ails your father I do hope he manages to find a path to better health and quality of life.

Shaney75 profile image
Shaney75 in reply to MMaud

Thanks you so much for your kind words. We are going for a lung function test on the 21st September, let see what this brings 🤞

Hello Shane.

I'd imagine that from the time your dad was diagnosed with "mild emphysema" till now his disease has progressed. Unless of course there might be other reasons for his severe breathlessness. Like an allergy to something in his vicinity. I have read he is getting a lung function test this month. That will help you know where you stand. I would recommend you ask about an arterial blood gas test to see if the oxygen levels in his blood are at a safe level. Even if his levels are okay on a finger oxymeter, it may be lower in his blood stream. He may need oxygen therapy. I hope things improve for your dad. Do let us know how things go. Sending best wishes to you both.

Cas xx 🌿

Maricopa profile image
Maricopa in reply to Caspiana

Oddly enough but I’ve never had an ABG! I thought the pulse oximeter and the ABG would be the same??

Caspiana profile image
Caspiana in reply to Maricopa

The difference is an abg will measure not just the levels of oxygen but also carbon dioxide in the arterial blood and the acidity. The are all really important indicators of lung function. It really shows how much oxygen is getting into the blood and how much carbon dioxide is released. All important especially when assessing for oxygen therapy. A finger oxymeter cannot do this. Not yet anyway, who knows about the future? xx 😊👋

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