Challenging copd diagnosis: I was diagnosed... - COPD Friends

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Challenging copd diagnosis

Lenocker68 profile image

I was diagnosed with copd, yet I don't cough ever, I have no problems with breathing at anytime, I'm not full of mucus, nor do I have any symptoms of it. I'm smoke free, and open minded. I have a pulmonary appointment coming up. So we will see. I'm not saying it's not possible, I'm just not hurting or struggling like others in this site. My husband thinks it's a misdiagnoses. Either way things go, I must face it. I'll know more soon.

11 Replies
Hidden profile image

The ones who are struggling are probably those who have it worse. If you are mild then it's possible you have no or very few symptoms. I hope you don't have it. x

Lenocker68 profile image
Lenocker68 in reply to Hidden

Thanks for the reply, I hope I don't either. But if I do, I'm facing it and I'll do everything I can to get treatment and reverse it. God is with me, that I know.

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Hidden in reply to Lenocker68

Hi I am afraid the damage is not reversible, but you can learn to make the most of what you have if you don't already by leading a healthy lifestyle etc.

Our lung function naturally decreases a bit with age anyway, it's just a bit quicker with copd. x

I was told 4 years ago by my surgeon (at the time) that I had COPD. I also had no real symptoms, no shortness of breath, no mucus, no coughing, so I didn't feel the need to see a specialist. Besides, I was already seeing an oncologist. A few years later when I started getting winded easier than I used to, I went to a pulmonologist who told me my lungs were stiff, no explanation given when I asked. So I went to a new pulmonologist trying to get a definitive diagnosis. He told me my PFT was great but that I am retaining CO2, (even with part of my left lung missing), so he would not give me a clinical diagnosis, but to keep using the inhaler they had me on, and yet again, no explanation as to why I needed the inhaler. At this point, I'm thinking on one hand woohoo no emphysema, but on the other..why do I have to keep using the inhaler? When I went to see my primary, I mentioned it to him. He looked at my last PFT and my last CT scan, pulled up this chart that doctors use, showed everything to me and said "you do have mild emphysema". It was an aw crap moment, but at least I now know for sure and can take the needed steps to slow the progression.

My primary care Dr. told me that they go by the PFT, a CT scan, and a chart they have. A CT scan should show any damage to your lungs.

So yours could very well be a miss-diagnosis, or your COPD could be mild. Unfortunately, most people are not diagnosed until symptoms appear, and more damage is done.

I am very lucky, my lung cancer was found before it had a chance to spread outside the lung, and my emphysema was diagnosed while still in the early stages.

I wish you all the best.

Hi Lenocker,

I was diagnosed with mild emphysema 4 1/2 years ago, a few months after I had giving up smoking. The only reason I found out was while I was overseas, I visited an old cathedral and decided to walk up the 300+ steps for a bit of exercise - I couldn't understand why I kept getting short of breath when I knew I was fairly fit, so on my return I visited my gp. He didn't mention COPD at this visit, but sent me for a spirometry test. That test confirmed what he obviously suspected.

I too don't struggle with breathing, or day to day activities, and I don't use an inhaler. I do at times though, have a dry cough but it's 'clean'. I go to the gym regularly, 3-4 times weekly and don't have any issues there either, apart from very strenuous activities - I get through them just as good as anyone else, but of course I get short of breath quicker than anyone else.

I've had a total of 3 spirometry tests, and my last was 3 months ago which showed improvement (I was very excited hearing that!!). My gp puts the improvement in my symptoms to my regular exercise and clean eating. I know the condition is not reversible, but had no idea it could improve.

I was told by my gp that we all lose lung function with age normally. However, with COPD we lose at the same rate as our non COPD peers, 'but' we start at a lower level.

As others have suggested, perhaps you're diagnosis was mild or could be a misdiagnosis. On what basis were you told you definitely had COPD?

Good luck with your spirometry test!

I went to the hospital for a possible heart attack, I got the news from my go a week later.

Maree_AU profile image
Maree_AU in reply to Lenocker68

Hi Len,

Yep, it's been 12 months since I last visited this site, I guess life got in the way ............ Firstly, how are you? did you have your spirometry/pulmonary test?

I've never had that test, and I'm not set up for one as of yet.

I'm waiting for my pulmonary referral to call me. Shouldn't be to much longer.

ive hAd copd for over 12 years,nornmally dont cough much,if mylungs build up with mucus end up in hospital.been on ventilator at hospital 4 times.

I hope you get a diagnosis soon

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