British Lung Foundation
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Is it really COPD?

I have been diagnosed with mild COPD but I wondered if anybody else suffers strange attacks. I become sort of lightheaded, not giddy, but a strange feeling and then I feel breathless and as though I am going to fall over. It is accompanied by real weakness which can last for some time-an hour or more. Is this COPD?

I am generally quite fit, eat a healthy diet, do Pilates three times a week and walk most days. However, I am 70 and I suppose that has to be factored in. My heart has been checked and is fine.

7 Replies

Hello Jeanmargaret :)

You don't say when these attacks occur, but it does sound a bit like the effect of not enough oxygen getting to the brain. Does it usually happen when you're exerting yourself of when you are resting ?

I know from experience that my bouts of dizziness, etc. happen if I try to do too much, too quickly :(

You are certainly going down the correct path to maintaining the 'mild' level though, by walking regularly and eating a healthy diet :)


Thank you for your comments. I hadn't known if these attacks were experienced by others so your experiences are helpful. These attacks happen at any time but obviously more if I am exercising more energetically. I used to do Zumba every week but cannot always manage it now.


COPD is an all encompassing diagnosis for a myriad of lung/pulmonary disease. Im no specialist, but advise that if you have been diagnosed, then follow it up now, do not sit and let it get worse.

You really must push for a specialist referral, chest xray, ct scan asap. Then follow on from there. My worst mistake was letting my own 'COPD/ Emphysema' go on untreated for several years, to now having it really badly, with only a reduction or full transplant my options, and even these are maybe only a dream as my disease has gone so far.

Im now housebound, Oxygen reliant, no real surgery options left...because I let it go on on on untreated.

Seriously, if you do have 'Mild', now is the time to keep it at Mild. If you smoke? STOP.

I hope you dont have 'COPD' but if you do, thankfully, you have it diagnosed at the right time.

Exercise is certainly the right path also, along with learning to breath correctly, and a few little routines/physio exercises you can 'do'


Thank you Catel, that is truly helpful. My big fear is being really incapacitated as it sounds as if you now are. Good luck and I do hope a solution is found for you.


Hi JeanMargaret, I get this too sometimes, but I am end state emphysema and have just assumed it is lack of oxygen to the brain (I'm also getting a bit forgetful short term too and I'm only 60 and put this down to the same reason). The only other time I experienced this is when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and the medication the doc gave me was too strong, sending my blood pressure too low, feeling very faint and slightly sick and having to not just sit down, but lie down. Anyway, your symptoms are worth mentioning to your doctor as if they worsen it could be dangerous, not just from a medical point of view, but also from a safety point of view. When it happened to me I had pans on the stove and if i'd passed out for any length of time it could have been disastrous. Libby x


Hi Jeanmargaret, your symptoms may be unrelated to COPD but even if they are, you should mention these to your doctor to try and determine the exact cause.

Let us know how you get on.


I have been diagnosed with severe emphysema and don't get dizzy spells so I would suggest you see your doctor as it may be unrelated.


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