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I am a 63 YO male who smoked cigarettes for 42 years. I quit smoking in January 2015 prior to a major surgery. Prior to quitting I always had problems with my sinuses. Deviated nasal septum has been the major cause. I knew something else was affecting me more so as I started to wheeze occasionally. I took a spirometry test in 2012 and 2014. According to the technicians (not a doctor) they felt the amount I smoked, age, race, weight and gender that my breathing was pretty darn good. I bought an oximeter to just check my own O2 levels whenever I had shortness of breath. My actual readings are 98 and 97 most of the time that I feel like I have shortness of breath. I have had allergy tests done and know the triggers for my allergies. Mold is a big trigger and the last few days it has been very heavy. Suffice to say I feel short of breath. The doctor has given me albeutrol (spelling), but haven't noticed any real results from it. I do not do well with many of the antihistamines because of the side effects of them. I have not been officially told that I have COPD and CT scan of chest and there were several subpleural apial blebs. I guess if it was really bad news my doctor would have said something. I have had numerous issues over the years with my gut and was told I may have an IBS issue. I have slight anemia but they haven't been able to locate the bleed. I have had endoscopy, colonoscopy etc. My surgeon for an operation (hip replacement) said the anemia is borderline 10.7 out of 11. Of course this doesn't mean anything to me. I read a post where someone stated that there shortness of breath was from his Hiatus Hernia of which I do have as well and have had since I was diagnosed in my outgoing military retirement physical and never had shortness of breath from it. I really do not know what is causing my shortness of breath and will see my doctor next week. I don't know if I should be using the rescue inhaler if my O2 levels are typically 97 or 98 even when I exercise. I don't have high blood pressure. I am overweight 167 pounds and I am 5 foot 7 inches. The weight of course is in the gut. I stopped drinking alcohol in 2010. I am congested daily and do use Flonase, a steam inhaler and Mucinex and all of them give me relief. Is it allergies or COPD? Sorry for the long post. Any comments are appreciated.

8 Replies

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  • Hi NYNY; Yes use your inhaler even if the o2 is normal like yours, the inhaler doesn't effect the o2 it just opens up the lungs so you can breath easier. Make sure you use a spacer with it, this gets the medicine deeper in the lungs where it will do more good. Have you had the Deviated Nasal Septum repaired? I had this problem and once it was repaired I could breath so much better. Your anemia is border line low, the doctor needs to get that up, if you do have COPD that will effect it. There are different forms of anemia, do you know which one you are? If you can loosing the weight would help, but I know how hard that is to do, I also have that problem. Your wheezing could be asthma or copd. Are you seeing a pulmonary doctor for your breathing? If not you should be, they are trained to treat this where a GP doesn't have all the education needed for it the lungs. Keep us posted on how your doing.

  • Thanks for the reply. No I am not seeing a pulmonary doctor and will need to request a referral to see one. I was given a spacer to use with the rescues inhaler so I will try that again. Working on losing weight is always a challenge. Past 6 months I am down 9 pounds.

    Thanks again for the reply

  • Hi Ru a fellow New Yorker? I have had copd for years. I just started on oxygen 24/7 two years ago. Before that I was told I had chronic bronchitis (copd). I was very active but when I got a cold I was down for several days but never on oxygen. From what I have read from others one day your fine and then the lung infection and that starts the real shortness of breath, and oxygen, that how it happened for me. I am having shortness of breath right now. My 02 drops walking a short distance 66 My Dr. Told me to up my oxygen to 3. It's strange because I will feel out of breath by little finger reader says 96. It's all confusing. I have other health issues and have stopped anything that says short of breath is a side affect, now My 02 Is acting weird. Just do the best u can. My regular Dr. said u know your body so do what makes u feel better. So that's what I am doing. Pray,pray,and pray some more for all of us with copd

  • Really sorry to hear that your COPD is bad. I have been having issues with allergies for a number of years and that coupled with the years of smoking seem to have crept on me. I have an appointment this week with my internal medicine doctor and will try and have a candid talk about the tests they have done over the years and to see if it is time to see a specialist. Because I use Tricare they have to refer me to a specialist (pulmonary).

    Hope your days get much better and yes I am a former New Yorker but call Texas home now.

  • My stat is between 97 to 98.I still have sob I use my inhalers and stay on my oxygen.Check with your Dr.God bless and breathe easy.

  • Hi Bugabuga and Florence72,

    I just met with my Internal Med doctor and asked about the Spirometry test I had done and my O2 levels and just other questions that dealt with indentations on my legs from my socks and no one ever told me nor did I ever ask about certain things. I just thought it was normal for certain things as we age. Well the lung test showed I didn't have athsma. That my intake of air and output of air was very good for my age, etc. When the inhaler was used on the test it didn't increase my lung capacity at all. When I use it for those periods when I feel short of breath all I really notice as a side effect is my hands shake a lot. This is with a spacer and either one or two puffs. We have had 14 inches of rain in the past 8 days here and Allergy test show that mold really affects me. She thinks that my allergies are the culprit for my shortness of breath. She checked my blood flow in my lower legs near my ankles and said that it was very good. She told me I did not have edema that as we age our skin thins out. Well, it isn't thinning out around my gut. She said I need to focus on my cholesterol so I will be starting a statin for this. My O2 was 98 at her office this morning. I asked for those periods where I have sob she said use the inhaler if I feel it helps, it doesn't hurt me.

    My BP was high this morning, and she said even though it was much lower on my last visit for me to start checking at home. I might need to take BP medication. The allergy meds I am taking should have no effect on my BP as I do not take sudafed or a decongestant. I don't take aleve, aspirin, motrin or anything like that. For pain I take Tylenol.

    So I am going to hold off on asking for a referral to a pulmonary doctor and see once this rain stops and the mold goes out of the forecast as very heavy to see how my breathing is. All I can do is keep taking my allergy meds and keep my fingers crossed and say a few prayers that the past 10 days are a result of poor air quality and not something else.

    Thanks again for your input and I will from time to time check in. I miss Golfing but will not play in the rain. Why pay good money to be miserable. Oh yeah, I don't miss smoking either. Smoke free for 19 months.

  • I have found that with my COPD (i read that you are sure if you have it) if I work out my breathing is much better. I do mostly the tread mill and bike. The new step some. It is rehab at the hospital. I have done it for about 7 years. I stopped for a while this years because of other health issues. I found my oxygen levels are good but the breathing is getting worse. So I will have to start again even though I do not like it.

  • Actually, it could be copd and allergies.. either way you feel miserable,,I've been doing research on both of these,, and as far as I can tell it's all guess work,,because of some meds that i'm taking right now.. my sinuses are so dry that i can't breathe.. i tell my doctors about my dry stopped up nose,,, and they treat it like it's normal..they're not the ones with the problem..i've read that being dried out is as bad as a runny nose..some of the solutions are not ones i can tolerate,, so you'll have to keep trying different things until you find something that works..Enjoy life to the fullest!!

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