Patient Comments: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Symptoms

The symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

Comment from: oakie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I was told I had emphysema in 1987 when I was 45 years old. I smoked for 30 years, but quit smoking as soon as I was told that I had COPD. Quitting smoking was the hardest thing I ever did. But I knew I would die if I didn't. My health was getting so bad that I needed oxygen 24/7 and was down to 92lbs. Thankfully, in 1999 I got lung volume reduction surgery. It saved my life. I no longer needed oxygen and was able to climb stairs, dance, and travel the world. That good fortune lasted for almost 13 years. I am now back on oxygen 24/7 and can't climb stairs, dance or travel the world. But I do go to the gym 4 days a week and workout with weights and treadmill. I was told when I got my surgery that exercise would keep me out of the hospital and they were right. Don't know how long I have but I will go down fighting every inch of the way.

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Comment from: Busybee33, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

For the past 20 years I had been taking allergy shots and they had helped to keep my lungs clear, but after moving across country and being tested by two separate allergists who said I didn't have allergies, but chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) my allergy shots stopped. One and a half years ago I started sweating profusely, worse than during menopause. Water literally dripped off my face. Gradually it started to disappear. The less the sweating became, the more I became breathless until I was gasping for air walking across a room. My lungs started to fill up with mucus which eventually turned into pneumonia.

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Comment from: Susan1125, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 07

I am 56 now. I was diagnosed with COPD in March of 2007. I had been a heavy smoker, got a cold I couldn't get rid of, ended up in the hospital, on a ventilator. I should have known it was coming, but like most smokers, thought it would never happen to me. I don't smoke now and never will again, but, I still want to. My life has changed drastically. I had to stop working, sold my home (couldn't afford it without a salary), and cashed in my retirement to be able to move closer to family and support. I have very little energy most days; I try to use what I do have wisely. I rest/sleep a lot. I carry tremendous guilt because I "did this to myself" and I try hard not to be a burden to my family. I was someone who rarely took even an aspirin, now medications are a huge part of my life. I finally have Medicare, but it doesn't cover prescriptions, and they are so expensive. There may soon come a time when I have to pick the most important ones and let the rest go. I use oxygen at night. I try to count my blessings, fully appreciate what I do have, and remain positive, but I'm not always successful with that.

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Comment from: Carol, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 07

I grew up with asthma; I suffered sinus and respiratory infections my entire life. I started smoking at 15. When I was in my early 40s, my asthma was becoming increasingly worse. I was diagnosed with COPD at age 47. I am now 55. I quit smoking four years ago. The disease does not improve. My "good days" are far and few these days. My dad and his dad died from this. My older sister was just diagnosed three years ago. My son was diagnosed with beginning stages at age 25. (He doesn't smoke.) My sister's daughter was just diagnosed at 33 (smoker). It's a hard disease that seems to start out like bad asthma and progresses into chronic lung infections.

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Comment from: dkwilliams2, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I have COPD. It's been 2 years now. I quit smoking which I smoked for 41 years. The gentleman who stated he was not able to stop, please try CHANTIX. I never would have thought I would quit, but this pill is great. The hardest part was the habit not the addiction. So start planning the replacement. Such as, I needed to smoke when I first got up and had several cigarettes with 2-3 cups of coffee. I changed my patterns to make it easier. Both my parents smoked and my mother died from a heart attack with the notation by the coroners that was triggered by her smoking. She died more than 20 years ago before COPD. My dad just passed away with the same but COPD named. He suffered so badly because he would not give up smoking. This is an eye opener and I quit that October. Almost a year ago. I still have difficulties and wondered if this would qualify for SSI? Any one know ?

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Patient Comments

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COPD - Symptoms Question: What symptoms do you experience with COPD?
COPD - Causes Question: What were the causes of your case of COPD?
COPD - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your COPD?
COPD - Medications Question: What medications have been helpful in treating COPD?
COPD - Surgery Question: What type of surgery did you have for COPD, and was it successful?
COPD - Experience Question: Please share your experience with COPD.

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