Hi, my mum is 90 and in residential care after losing most if her eyesight overnight in January 2014 to GCA, I am also registered with the community for that condition and have found it very helpful, I'm hoping this community can be as helpful.
Mum was diagnosed with Emphysema in the 1980's, she has never smoked but my dad was a heavy smoker which we believe was the cause. Although mum has had a cough for many years we did not associate it with COPD, although it was on her notes we had dismissed the condition as something she suffered from in the past, we were not aware that Emphysema causes lung damage until recently when an out of hours GP informed us having called him out because mum was having breathing difficulties, he recommended she have a chest X-ray & blood tests to rule out heart failure as her oxygen level was at 92.
The tests came back clear so I took her to the COPD clinic at the surgery and whilst her results weren't perfect the readings were not too bad, (she managed to blow the house down) the nurse decided to change her ventolin inhaler (the after flow test was worse) to Formoterol which seems to have helped but following a flare up the GP re-introduced Ventolin as a back up. Mum has been taking a reducing dose of Prednisolone steroids for 2 years to control the GCA currently on 7mg one day 8mg the next but following another flare up a district nurse recommended going back up to 8mg for 5days.
Since losing her eyesight mum has suffered depression and anxiety, we have noticed there is a pattern to these flare up's which seem to coincide when either myself or one of my 2 sisters are going on holiday so we are now wondering if stress is causing them, (mum is on an antidepressant) her symptoms start with a cough followed by breathing difficulty but her chest is usually clear on examination, we don't have a lot of faith in the care home's resident GP he is always reluctant to give antibiotics and has never told us these symptoms are due to COPD.
Sorry for the length of the post but any advice will be appreciated