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British Lung Foundation
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Does COPD Become Worse Over Time?

Hi Everyone

I'm still waiting for a definitive diagnosis as to what is wrong with me. Whatever name is given to my problem I find it very distressing. At the moment I think that "I can't cope with this" and the thought that it will get worse is terrifying.

After reading lots of your comments, I then think "I'm such a pain" because so many of you are so brave and cope with your various conditions and still manage to say kind things to others.

Is it always the case that COPD gets worse?

I hate being such a whimp but things at the moment are very scary!

Kind regards



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24 Replies

If you give up smoking it can halt the process and your lungs will only get worse as they would through age rather than the COPD.

Hello Puff

I don't smoke. I do, however, live in Cornwall (about ten years on The Lizard) where there is Radon. I often wonder if this caused any of my problems. I turned 64 at Christmas and although I don't feel 64 mentally I most certainly feel 64 (probably 104 years) physically. Thank you for thinking of me.


Hi Annec

You can stave of the progress of COPD by watching your diet; stop smoking (if you still do), regular exercise (not just able walking but good cardio exercise), and, if you have been prescribed medication, to follow its directions religiously. You don't say if you have received specialist advice....if not first step is to see a good respiratory specialist and get checked out. Contact BLF for their kit of goodies. Lastly, you need to be pro-active and monitor your health on a daily basis, and read all you can, so as to be fully informed of the upsides and downsides. Getting to this website is a good start. Stay well. Martin

Hi Martin

Many thanks for your answer.

I don't smoke and I think my weight is OK (5' 6" and 10st). I do eat quite a healthy diet - although I eat to live rather than live to eat.

Exercise?!!?! I have problems going upstairs.

No specialist advice received as yet but I hope that I will see a specialist soon. This website is really helpful and comforting too.


HI good advice from martin,,,,,,be sensible with your meds exercise live your life well,,,,more chance dropping dead from stress than copd if you dont.... BLF HELPLINE WILL KEEP YOU RIGHT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE IS A LOT OF USLESS AND VERY BAD INFO OUT THERE,ALSO SOME SCARY STUFF MOST OF WHICH IS CRAP,,, ONLY USE BLF WEB AND HELPLINE THEY ARE HONEST AND IT FREE

BLF gets by with donations if you feel inclined that way.


I do feel inclined.


Hello ID

Your post made me laugh - I was born 'sensible'. I have always been sensible - how boring am I!!!

I think that this website is very good. Everyone seems kind and it is comforting to know that there are people who care.

Thank you again for your kind words.


Some on here do say different, but I have now been assured by two COPD/emphysema specialists that the key things are to not smoke (you don't), good aerobic exercise that makes you puff away, a healthy diet and a good weight. If possible, avoid infections.

If all these happen, your lungs will only deteriorate with normal ageing.

Lynne xx

Hello Lynne

Thank you for your message.

My only problem is the aerobic exercise. I'm out of breath doing normal things. I do know that I need to exercise and that with exercise I should feel a bit better but it's a bit scary when I get really puffed out and sitting down quietly is the preferred option for me.



Hi Annec

Again we have all suffered SOB with exertion (read "Exercise") but you will find that if you start "slow and easy" and progressively increase the regime (I like walking or treadmill or exercise bike when I'm not walkking the dog) you will find that your tolerance increases that also benefits your other activities (showering, gardening whatever). So, start slow and progressively increase (in the contect of walking.....the distance and the speed). Stay well. Martin


I am a fellow sufferer who used to live in Mullion (which is just down the road from the Lizard for those who don't know Cornwall) I am a couple of years older than you and have had copd for years, I moved to Devon a few years ago and noticed a distinct improvement in health, we put it down to the Cornish mist and the strong winds which always had me gasping. We had our place checked for radon, nothing there at all. But I did have a reaction to palm trees which seem to grow everywhere down there.

With your local excellent medical team and taking reasonable care of yourself you should be fine, the site members here offer all sorts of help and advice, I have learnt a lot of things to make life better.

keep well and keep reading the blogs


Hello Maurice

I love Mullion - it's a great place, although very different from the way it was in my youth.

I agree with you about the mist and the winds down here and I too find that they make a difference to how I feel. I had not heard about the palm trees though. I have a couple of dracaena palms in the garden and although I am not happy about cutting down trees they will be coming down.

Thank you for your message.


I discovered that at certain times of the year I got an allergic reaction like hay fever from them, taking hay fever pills kept it under control rather than chop the neighbour’s trees down. I also get a violent reaction to black mould it can be really vicious and i used to end up in hospital gasping for air.

I resorted to hypnotherapy to ease the panic attacks, it was a great help and the combination of knowing how panic attacks start and what happens in your body made things a lot easier to live with.


I am reading this blog and am wondering if the comments could apply to bronchiectasis.


I'm going to have to 'Google' bronchiectasis. I don't think I like the sound of that!



copd only gets worse.but it can be managed,i was diognesed 12 years ago but spiriva/seritide has kept me going.iam now on oxygen,and under hospice nurse.you must adjust,take things steadier.and listen to the professionals.i am at the end stage,but will never give up,so enjoy what you have BUT SLOW DOWN. good luck

Hi terrzy

I have been having trouble 'slowing down' - I try to do things at much the same speed as I used to.

You are so good finding time to send me a message. I do try not to moan but I do moan now and again. Then, after hearing from someone who requires oxygen all the time and the attendance of a nurse I feel that I have nothing to moan about.

Thank you terrzy for your kind words. Stay warm and comfortable.



Hi, both the British Lung Foundation and NHS Choices state that COPD is a progressive disease and will worsen over time. However, by not smoking (which you don't) exercising and eating healthily can slow down that progression and you may not notice any difference for many years. Libby

Hello Libby

Thank you for your message.

Finding this website has really opened my eyes. So many of the people here are in a much worse case than I am but they still are kind enough to answer questions and to wish everyone well.

Thanks again Libby



hi pepsi.im new abit.xmas told copd moderate im 63 a mum.gran great gran.i stopped cigs at xmas wen i got told .never again.id smoked 30 yr.and never heard of copd.ever.i ave learnt a lot from this site and reading other ppls storys.it helps to no we are not alone .take care and keep learning were ther is hope thers life .and if u want to no anything nag ur gp.i do now its a new gp.as other 1 ignored my xray june 2012 wat said i had copd.i found ot the hard way.xmas got very ill with bronchitus locum sent me for a scan.it was there.i went to my old gp got my med file with xray 2012.mind u i had to pay 10 pound for them.thats wer i saw xray results .i told gp wat i thought of him and he wasnt fit 4 purpose .ive taken action now against him.take care

Hello Carol

I sounds as though you had as good a Christmas as I did (not)!!

My GP and his Partners, the Nurses and supporting staff at the Surgery are wonderful to me. I've been with them for over 30 years so they know me.

I'm now on the way to finding out what is wrong with me and hopefully I'll know soon. It's better to know than not to know.

Thank you for your message.

Good health to you.



Hi Annec ,

I'm not a morning person so I've only just seen your message. As always, lots of good information being given to you, as people here do to anyone who asks. It's already been said that COPD does not get better, but you can slow it down and stabilise yourself with the right treatment. That would be your medication and controlled exercise, allowing you to stay around for some time yet.

I'm amazed that only one person has suggested the BLF helpline, but didn't give the number - 03000 030 555, Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm. They can have a chat with you and help put your mind at ease, as well as sending you their information pack that will tell you lots more. It even includes a DVD.

Of course, there's 'us lot' too, the fellow sufferers who are going through the same things and with the experience to be able to help. Although smoking is the usual suspect, a lot of things cause lung problems. Once you've got your diagnosis you may feel a bit better, just knowing what it is helps.

Hello Gordon

Thank you for your message and for the i nformation.

I don't know if others agree with me but I think the fact that someone who doesn't know me is kind enough to message me is so helpful and comforting.

I wish you well.



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