British Lung Foundation

Initials - I'm asking a favour

Would you all do me a really big favour because I'm totally lost sometimes? I haven't as yet had a confirmation of the COPD disease I have and I'm fairly new to this website.

I'm lost, sometimes, because lots of you use initials when describing something and I haven't a clue what these initials stand for.

The first time I came across initials was when someone spoke about DLA - I thought it was something to do with the Vehicle Licensing - doh!!! I've since found out that it stands for Disability Living Allowance.

Today I came across PR - something to do with physiotherapy I think.

Wnen writing a blog or a question would you please, please, please, in the first instance write the words in full (ie, Disability Living Allowance (DLA)) and then use the initials later in your text if you need them.

I can't be the only one who is totally ignorant of the meaning of initials.

Thank you


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51 Replies

Hi Annec, PR is pulmonary rehabilitation - maybe the site could do with a glossary?! Libby PS copd stands for emphysema and/or bronchitis!! ha ha!

PS stands for post script ;-)


Your've cut me to the quick (i've always wondered where my 'quick' is)!!!!

Even I, who am a few pennies short of a shilling, know that PS means.

You've made me think that I should have a glass of something (thank you).



On a warm springtime evening a glass of something will go down :-)

NB alcohol reduces effectiveness of some medication please use with caution.


I've had my glass of something nice.

I don't know where you are but here, in Cornwall, it is definitely not a 'warm springtime evening'.

It is regretable but at the moment (no determination had been made about my illness) I do not care if alcohol reduces effectiveness. I can be an absolute prat at times.

Best wishes



Your quick is where the nail meets flesh on your finger or toe - and cutting into it is b****y painful !

Hello Libby

I agree, the site could do with a glossary.

I thought that COPD was a disease/condition (doh!!!) a few weeks ago. I didn't realise that it was an umbrella term.

What would I do without you lot.



I agree with a glossary. I have been puzzled at times.

Thank you Pepsicoley for bringing this into the forum as members try finding how they can bring more useful information which is shared with a great generosity.

A small bug bear is brown inhaler or purple when this can also bring confusion identifying the product even for experienced members.

Anything which gives new members the information they are searching for is welcome in my opinion, I can be wrong sometimes willing to listen when others have opposing viewpoints.

LOL, when I read your post I thought you were saying a brown inhaler was called a small bug bear!! It took me a minute to click!! (LOL, laughing out loud - hee hee hee!). Libby

Humour is a great healer keep breathing with the laughter libby7827 for the most enjoyment :-)


I'm worried now because the inhaler I was given is blue!!! Should I have a brown one or a purple one? (lol)

You can be wrong sometimes!!?!?!?!! One of my favourite sayings is "I'm not often right but I'm wrong again" - it sort of puts people on the wrong foot. I love it.

I'm always willing to listen to others. I'm forever sahying that "I'm middle of the road" and my husband is always telling me that if you are in the middle of the road you are very likely to be run down.

Thanks Jabba



Not sure about brown or purple inhalers Annec, one of mine is the blue one (Ventolin - salbutamol). Maybe they're the same drug made by a different manufacturer under a different name? Someone will no doubt be able to lt you know.

Generally a blue one is a 'reliever' which opens out the breathing tubes and you can use it just before exercise or to relieve a wheezy session

A brown one is a 'preventer' which should be taken regularly as it puts a small dose of steroid, which is anit-inflammatory, right where you need it (better than taking steroid tablets which means it goes all over the body, although they are sometimes needed during an infection for example)

The purple one is usually Seretide, which is a combination the above.


same i like explained what inhaler when nurse is talking

AB stands for antibiotics.

Pred stands for Prednisolone. A steroid prescribed quite often for us lot.

Puff stands for puffthemagicdragon. :)

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I could do with a magic dragon.

love it puff!

I try. :)

Hi Annec...I have been here a while now and still get confused

with some of the abbreviations.

I try to find some of them on the tags.

maybe we should have a glossary.?


Good point Pepsicoley. I am guilty of using short forms unless I know the person is a newbie. Will do better :-)

Love C xxx

I never use initials if I can avoid it Pepsicoley, precisely for the reason you've stated. I remember how confused I was when I first joined the community here and couldn't understand a lot of the messages. I even write British Lung Foundation out in full :)

It confuses me still when people write of their condition using initials (apart from COPD that is, I'm fully aware of what that one means ;) ) I didn't know what IPF was and there were one or two more, which I forget.

Libby7827's suggestion of a glossary is a good one and maybe someone will take up the task in the near future :) In the meantime, if you're not sure of anything, just ask ....... someone will be happy to enlighten you, I'm sure.


keep on keeping on ...

Hello Elian

Thank you for your message.

What does IPF mean?

I know that the members will help me with anything I don't know (and that knowledge is very comforting).

Good health



IPF is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis which is another disease which comes under the COPD umbrella, I believe :)

Idiopathic (unknown cause) Pulmonary Fibrosis does not come under the umbrella term of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

I have a lovely lilac umbrella I use when it's raining though so as I have IPF I suppose you could say it sometimes comes under that one :-p

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Sorry about that mapal :( but I like the sound of your umbrella ;)

I used to think SOB meant silly old buggers, when somebody said they were SOB

and LOL was loads of lolly



I used to think lol meant lots of love!


I too thought it meant 'lots of love'.



When I use lol to you Libby it does mean lots of love. Lol :)

Bev x

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hahahahaha .. @ silly old buggers !! I thought, at first, that it was the American "sonofab*tch"

*looks embarrassed to admit it*


I still think that it means 'son of a b*tch'.

What on earth does it mean.



It means 'short of breath' ....... :)

It was at pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) when they brought up who is SOB (short of breath) I thought that is a very personal remark until I discovered they were not using the American version.

SOB vulgar. A son of a bitch.. Sob sobbed, sobbing, sobs. To weep aloud with convulsive gasping; cry uncontrollably.

from the online dictionary

hee hee, it took me a while to realise what SOB was too!

arran - now that is what I caLL humour :D

I remember when I was new here asking what SOB was short for - doh.. :)

Bev x

Short of breath

well girls and guys I had a good laugh at your blogs, and agree initials can be confusing, for instance COPD could mean chronic obstinate personality disorder not chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. So agree we should be more specific so newcomings don't get baffled or think we are talking about something else.Ive not been on here long and sometimes realise some people don't know what's going on.And sob to me would mean silly old buggers if I didn't have COPD

I too had to ask what SOB meant.


PS and the smilies I can only do a smile and a wink but the rest baffle me

There are some funny posts on this blog. Thanks for the humour people ! :)

Reckon we sould get silly witch to whip up a spell or two as i still get confused hahahhahaa :)

Normal humour restored I hope :)

Bev x

normal humour functioning well again :)

Karen x

Its made me chuckle... Being a newby to the copd & this site, I agree, abreviations are sometimes hard to figure out & many a time I spent trying to put words to the letters (sometimes with hilarious results) :)

It's funny you know, at work SOB means short on brains! I said to my wonderful wife there's a lot of dim people on here they all say they're SOB.....

So I humbly apologise for thinking our condition eventually makes us short of brains & look forward to the glossary........

Ps at the mo I'm LOL & CGMB & just choked on my CoT.....


I have the misfortune to be married to someone who spends her time sorting out troubled kids. Education is a minefield of acronyms. Working only 39 weeks a year they have nothing better to do with their time other than come up with fancy titles for jobs and new acronyms. Sometimes I haven't got a clue what my wife is talking about. Bob

Hello Everyone

I'm at a complete loss as to why this post turned up today. I didn't post it again.

I was quite new to the forum when I posted it about four months ago.

I'm completely mystified!!!



Yeah I'm confused too! Why do some of the posts say 4 months ago? Is the site having a breakdown?

bev x

Hi Annec and Bev, they have moved some things around today, which made old post go to the top of the wall, hopefully they will get this sorted out otherwise we will all be answering questions and posts we have already answered, wonder if we would still have the same answers 4 months on.......................

Peta. xx

Reminds me of the civil service when everyone seemed to speak in initials. COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and usually the inhaler the doctor will give you will be different from but in addition to your asthma inhalers.

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