anyone know about problems with lung function?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just got back from the urgent care doctor in the box place and one of the tests they did on me was this lung thingy. I guess because I am hoarse and one of my complaints was coughing. Well...lo and behold this little machine thingy printed out that my lung function or capacity or something is only at 57% for my age! Somehow I didnt get the feeling the doctor thought that was very I did manage a weak...well I smoke.

    So...have I added some new problem to my list of ailments? They didnt really offer much in the way of info. Just gave me abx and an inhaler.
  2. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Do they mean 57% all the time, or 57% now because you've been sick and coughing?
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well...they just did it today...but my coughing is much better now than it has been so that is worrying me! Today I would say I am at my pretty normal every day type smokers cough. I could have some lingering problems from being sick...but I doubt all that much. My throat is what is bothering me the most.
  4. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    it is quite possible due to your smoking, your weight, your other health issues etc that yes, that could be your everyday normal lung capacity. and it could be you might not notice it so obviously becuz it happened gradual over years. Yes, it might be some reduced right now becuz of recovering from illness.....but it is very likely you do have some degree of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)......chronic. altho you can still also have an acute episode and type at any time, as well.
    Have you "added" a new health problem? Prolly it has been there a long time......and since it is prolly considered common becuz of your "risk facotrs" it is likely secondary to everything- weight, smoking, fibro, degenerative joint disease etc. No doctor in his right mind would assume you to have "normal" 100% lung function.....altho- no doctor should ever be happy abouut it.
    Likely the doctor in the box did not give you much info about it becuz....he prolly figured if you were concerned about it, you wuold not smoke, anymore....and he may be makeing a prejudgement re your weight.....and he might think you are already very aware of the lung issue. the acute part. Becuz doctor in the box is for acute immediate issue at hand and usually not for long term care.

    when our lung capacity gets poor over a gradual time, we do not notice it in the same way as when it is a sudden acute decline like say from pneumonia. Becuz while it was reducing we were automatically adjusting to it in small steps along the way, makeing self accomodations without even being aware of it. In long term smokers, pre emphysema or emphysema are almost a given in docs eyes.
  5. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I'm not sayinf I agree with doctor in box haveing that point of view, I am only saying that is prolly how he is looking at the situation. I am not saying I agree with it.

    And also he is prolly thinking you can take the antibiotic it's full course and THEN see what your lung capacity is after you are done with the AB. It might improve some, whether it improves a little or a lot remains to be seen.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    So would it be fair to say I have some form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)? I guess I need to discuss this with my regular gp. I have felt for some time now that having a nebulizer might be a good thing to have on hand because I get tight from time to time. The regular inhalers really dont seem to help all that much to me. dad has emphysema and one would have thought that would have kept me from
  7. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Mine was not good when I went through my pnemonia spells a year ago. But, the inhaler worked wonders and I still use it now.

    Now...if I could stop smoking...geez...

  8. ML

    ML Guest

    I realize how hard it is to give up smoking. My dad died of lung cancer and my mom, who nursed him through his last weeks, STILL smokes. Her new husband lost his wife to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) also. They both swear that their first spouses conspired to get them together. Any way, they both smoke and for a long time tried to hide it from his kids even.

    My mom (66) now has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and is supposed to wear oxygen all the time: she doesn't.

    I encourage you to use the inhalers and the steroid based preventative ones as well.

    I also heard it once said that if nothing else, if you can hold off in the morning for an hour or two before picking up a smoke, it gives your lungs a chance to cough up some phleghm. Jump in a hot shower and let the water beat on your chest.

    Thinking of you,

  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Since you have abx and an inhaler, I'm assuming you have bronchitis? I had a bad case of bronchitis about 2 years ago that significantly affected my lung function. I didn't have the test done, but I couldn't sing (I've fessed up to how I like to sing) without taking a breath every couple of words. It was markedly different than normal.

    You probably do have some reduced function from smoking, but my bet is it will improve after you get over whatever crud you have. In any case, talk about it with your GP.
  10. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Janet, which inhaler were you given?

    When I got sick last year, I was referred to a pullmonologist who diagnosis'd me with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (and I was 38 at the time!) I am currently on 3 separate inhalers. Spiriva, Advair, and Albuterol.

    I quit drinking and drugs years ago. Quitting those was nowhere near as hard as quitting smoking. In fact, I started again. I need to quit. It is scary. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) includes emphysema, which never gets better.

    Please do what you can to quit. I am trying too.
  11. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    most long term msokers do have at least chronic bronchitis, which is different than acute bronchitis. Has the docs already given you Rx inhalers? how long ago and why? what did they say when they started you on those?

    also many autoimmune disorders and chronic health issues can reduce your activity level which can then interfere with your lung capacity, due to reduced activity level. Even if you do not smoke. worse if you do.

    if you carry extra weight, this will also affect lung capacity. Lungs cannot always properly oxygenate our larger body mass. and extra weight can make activity be reduced, which then will cause us to not expand out lungs good enough for good lung function.

    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a catch all term for so many lung difficulties...asthma leads into Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). bronchitis can lead into Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma can go into bronchitis, bronchitis can go into emphysema. they are all under the main heading of copds.

    I gave up hard drugs 25 yrs ago. Includeing barbituates. Cold turkey (dangerous, not recommended) I gave up drinking 20 yrs ago. I gave up caffeine 19 yrs ago. I have smoked 3 packs per day for over 20 years, have smoked over 35 yrs.
    My mother died of lung cancer. so did my mother in law. I nursed both on their death beds. My best friend had cancer mets to her lungs and died. several other friends died of lung cancer. My husband has emphysema, and yes, still smokes. I worked Hospice and had countless patients I cared for till their deaths, and attended their last breaths......
    I still smoke.
    I grew up in an entire extended family where EVERYONE smoked. my pediatrician smoked....even when he was DOING exams.
    I have NO luck quitting. sad truth is I have little desire to quit, in spite of tending the deathbeds of so many loved ones.

    That said? I have no cough, none, never have. I do not get flu or colds, have never had pneumonia ever. in spite of working in health care field, in spite of being on immunosuppressing medications, lots of them. My kids also do not get colds, flu pneumonia or ear infections, never did, not ever. easy child does not smoke, but SHE is THE ONE of my kids who had a hard spell with mono last year and pneumonia.....

    I do not have smokers cough, I have never had a breathing treatment or used a nebulizer, or any inhaler. altho I do get short of breath if I try to run.....I blame my smoking most, but also my weight....and my lack of being physically fit.

    If you already have inhalers, thats a sign something is not good, already. and then, if you have an infection that requires an AB, then you must currently have an acute problem, and that will very likely be affecting your lungs right now.
    Once you take your course of AB, you SHOULD regain some function.......but- how much? well, depends on how much you had before this current infection, it depends on the reason you already have an inhaler.
    Yes, my mom smoked till she drew her last breathe. so did mother in law. Best friend quit but it was already too late. husband still smokes like a chimney. whatcyha gonna do? quit if you can.....last time husband tried to quit cigs, he landed in ICU. go figure.

    but there are LOTS of reasons why your lung capacity might be so low. but until they clear up the infetion, they prolly will not be able to get an accurate picture of the whole problem at hand.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am on the abx for my throat...not the lungs. They gave me the albuteral inhaler just in case I felt I needed it because of my numbers. I have been on them before for bronchitis which I seem to get at least once or twice a year. Sometimes I have to get a breathing treatment to break that up. I have had pneumonia at least 3 times that I know of.

    I started smoking somewhere around age 15 or 16 (say 1978) and smoked steadily until 1990. I quit in 1990 cold turkey because I was having breathing problems then but unfortunately stress drove me right back to them in 1996 and I have been smoking 2 packs a day ever since. Worse thing I ever did was to think I could smoke just one! One hell...that led to two packs a day in one week! I havent been able to quit since. I have tried twice and I just dont think I am quite ready to try again right now. Maybe in a few months when we see how things are going to play out with Jamie.

    I just dont know. This is all so concerning...but then...I figure I have to die from something.
  13. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I'm with ya, Janet! I started smoking at 19 when I was in college because everybody else did! Real smart move, but everybody smoked back then. I've smoked two packs a day ever since and I'm 62 now ... so do the math! I quit once for several months, and then I too thought that "Just one won't hurt" and in a few days I was right back in to it. I'm going to be retiring in a few years and things will be really tight. I keep thinking how much it will help then to have all that money that I spend on cigarettes now.

    The worst part of it is that both of my kids smoke too. Of course they might have anyway whether I (and their father) did or not, but I do feel guilty about it. But my daughter and sister in law recently both managed to quit! I don't know when sister in law started but my daughter started sneaking cigarettes when she was 11 or 12 and she's 32 now so that's a lot! It was costing them a ton of money. And she's recently started seeing a fertility specialist who also recommended that she quit. They've been "trying" to have a baby for three years now. And besides the health factor, most of the expensive fertility treatments are not covered by their insurance, so that money they were spending on cigarettes can be put to very good use!

    I NEVER thought that either one of them would be able to quit ... she said they both got scripts for Wellbutrin (Zyban), and using each other as a support system, they both have managed to quit! I'm so proud of them! If I ever find a doctor I trust (our local doctors are all idiots!) I just might try it myself! With all the other medications you're on you might not be able to take it. But if you can, it might be worth a try. It's worth asking anyway.
  14. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Janet, you are young enough to change the outcome of 2 pks/day. Cut back. Like changing eating habits, it's more realistic to change what you already do and make small steps towards a more healthy life. You sure don't want to head towards lung disease. Your grandbabies need to know you. If you are tethered to Oxygen and can't walk to the bathroom without feeling wiped out they won't get to know you.
    Hugs. I'm not holier than thou since I smoked for a long time. I just decided it was one of the things I could change. (more so than eating)
    Every morning is a chance to start over. I know I have fallen off the smoking wagon from time to time but every year I do better than the last.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2008
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I thought what Fran had to say was right on the money. Nothing speaks louder than someone who has been there done that. I do know that my mom smoked and she died of lung cancer after my son, her first grandchild was born. She was 49 years old. You could see how devastated she was knowing her loss and it took me many years to get over her death after she was gone and it still tugs at my heart. You should do these things for yourself, but maybe thinking of how much others needed you will give you a little extra push forward. After watching what happened to my mother..I have often said that if I were addicted to cigs., I would "leave no stones unturned," getting help for myself to kick that habit.

    In addition, many times we are saddled with health issues out of no where...I know for me, I have learned that although I can't be perfect (it is impossible) I like to try my best to put my best foot forward in an effort towards good health. In other words to avoid obvious health issues. I use to joke that I don't want G-d to throw a brick on my head to get my I'm trying my best and hoping for the best. I hope that makes sense. Please, consider cutting back so that you can enjoy better health.
    Lasted edited by : Jul 27, 2008
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well I do plan on quitting at some point...sigh. I asked about Chantix at Christmas and my shrink said we would talk about it when my stress levels were a bit less. Ok...then I guess we will talk about it when I am dead and buried! I cant see my stress levels getting any better in the near future. I think he is worried because the medication can cause instability and I am not completely stable plus I live in a high stress environment...Cory, my family...not to mention now Jamie going over. I dont drink or do drugs so cigs are my only vice. Maybe I should take up

    I know I have to quit smoking before I can even think about any operations because I would go nuts in a hospital not being able to have a smoke.
  17. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen


    I've been a smoker on and off since I was 11. Never smoked when I was pregnant, quit a couple of times here and there. But for me it is STRESS. When something is going on at the house, I retreat outside for my 1/2 cig. I don't smoke anywhere else than in my backyard, not work, not car.

    Is it good? Heck no, and I know it. But for some reason it feels like my safety net. I go sit down, smoke and get this....ahhhh feeling. I suppose I should find something else to substitue that.

  18. jal

    jal Member


    Have you considered hypnotherapy for quitting? My husband (35) was just diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), basically early onset emphysema. We went to a hypnotist a few weeks ago. It worked so far for him - he is 3 weeks smoke free-unfortunately for me difficult child set me the h*ll off and I started again after 2 days.

    I know a couple who used this hypnotist and they have been smoke free for years.

    Best of luck!