First of all I would like to thank that this website is available and it gives a lot of hope reading everyone's storys and how they live their lives, even if you read about COPD in general makes it sound so dark like it's a death sentence.
Hello, i'm new here to this community...
I'm not old, I am still kind of young, age 33, and I have never smoked in my life, nor do I have asthma.
I am not from the US, and the health care providers in my country are kinda bad, I have not yet been meeting with a doctor to diagnose me accurately with an disease, even if so many read and get more benefits and knowledge about this disease by reading online and knowing other stories, because not all doctors are great or caring. I have attempted to seek medical help for my situation several times and been declined any help but I do not give up and will try even different states in my country if I have to until I can get a proper diagnose and help with my daily problems.
Anyway, back to me, I have been having discomfort, tighess in my chest, like someone strap a tight belt around my chest when i'm trying to breathe, or like having a elephant standing on my chest when trying to breath. I've also recently got some back pain, coughing daily, and feels there is alot of mucus down in my lungs and occassionally I also cough up some mucus. My chest feels even more difficult to breathe after eating meals, and during the nights it's very hard to sleep, I usually wake up in the night from discomfort from feeling not able to fully breathe and the pain in my chest/lungs. Sometime even talking can be exhausting and difficult, both for breathing problems and also because of pain. I've noticed my voice have gotten more "hoarse" also. My problems have persisted for around 6 months, but it's only recently, the last 2-3 weeks that I feel my symptoms have gotten worse and I found this website to reach out to others.
Again, as I said, I have never smoked and I have no asthma. But after reading about lung sicknesses, and describing and having my symptoms, I am worried that it is COPD that I have.
6 months ago in my town there was a rather large fire, which was toxic fumes (wasn't wood burning, it was rubber, to be precise, the rubber that you make car wheels off or bigger vehicles wheels, and there was alot) I got an emergency text saying I should stay indoor, and lock my windows and ventilation system. I did this, I listened to this, but sadly I still felt that the toxic fumes was entering my apartment, I was right in the "goldy-lock" zone, the wind was blowing it right where I lived, but still doing what the text told me, I stayed inside even my eyes was feeling stingy, runny, I had problem to breathe indoors, and felt pain in my airways and lung as I was there.
Since then all my problems started, but I do remember this summer (around 2,5 or 3 months after the incident) I was at my family's house, they have a huge garden, and it felt so great to walk there and feel fresh air and I actually felt like I had no breathing problems or discomfort at all, for the first time since. (sadly my mom is a heavy smoker so I try to avoid going there often because of my situation, and it's winter now)
I know and I've read some of your stories, that you didn't have any problems until you was diagnosed with it, and some feel no pain, but I am hoping that people here still have some knowledge about this disease in general that you gained from your course and knowing other stories and even asking doctors or gotten professional help. So I will start with asking some questions...
1) Do you have to had Chronic Bronchitis at least 2 years before you get COPD or get the diagnose of having COPD? (or developed into that sickness) (kinda like HIV > AIDS?)
2) If you do have Chronic Bronchitis, are you guaranteed to also then develop and get Emphysema (Chronic Bronchitis + Emphysema = COPD) or can you live a whole life with just Chronic Bronchitis and never have emphysema?
3) If you do have COPD, is it possible to stall it, stop it from progressing further ever, if you are in stage 1, stage 2 or even stage 3. (by living a healthy lifestyle, eating right, exercising) or is it just stalling it until you get to the final stage?
4) If you get a cold, flu, pneumonia, or any related cold/flu-like sickness while you have COPD, (2 diseases at the same), you will obviously get worse (is that what a flare-up is?), but after your body have treated the cold/flu (it can do that right even if you have COPD?), do you get back to your health status with COPD as pre-before you had the flu, or is the flu/cold also will make your COPD permanent worse?
5) Is it possible, or have you ever heard of anyone, that went from say Stage 4 > Stage 3 or Stage 3 > Stage 2 COPD (reverse it), not curing it, but making it better?
6) I read some talk about lung capacity, how do you find out your lung capacity?
6.1) If you are doing a test, where you have to push out as much air as possible from your lungs, can this test be harmful to a person with COPD? (making the disease worse for that person) if you strain/force your lungs doing that excessive amount of work it's not capable of/ready of.
7) If you do a test with clipping a thing on your finger to test your oxygen level in your blood, what values does it show for people who are having COPD or related lung diseases (chronic bronchitis, emphysema)
8) I know that COPD is not cure-able, but do any of you believe that stem cell technology in the future will be able to heal the damaged lungs? (making it possible to fight or even cure the disease?)
9) Can bronchodilators ever be harmful to a person who have COPD? I am speaking in a sense of I know they help you breathe easier, by expanding the airflow tubes in your lubes and air tube, but they last only 3-4 hours or 12 hours depending which one you have, after that the effect wores off, and I am speaking in a sense if the tubes are enlarged/expanded in your lungs, does it also make that it is possible for your lungs to produce more mucus to fit in there, and progressing the disease? Thus I mean if you can breathe without a bronchodilator, you should do that, as long as it is possible, until you either can't or get a flare-up and need help breathing with a device. (example inhaler) or is this speculation wrong and it's better to start use a bronchodilator as soon as possible you are aware of the disease to slow down (or prevent - from question 3) by starting medications early.
10) I've read that you can develop Chronic bronchitis/COPD by long-term smoking...asthma...or fumes/toxic air... what is exactly 'long-term'? (years?)
10.1) If that's yes, is that true for all of the cases? (all people whom have been diagnosed with COPD)
I am sorry this is alot of questions...I just have a lot of questions in my mind and I am hoping to get some answers here, and if I come up with anything else can I post it here also? I will for sure be reading this, thanks again for this community.
Reading about this disease just feels like a dark spiral going down, and I'm hoping to get some light in the tunnel from this, reading many stories here definitely I can see some light at the end of the tunnel) and I don't wanna die this young age or even am hoping for not have this disease, still I am prepared for the worst and hoping I can live a "normal" life despite if any bad news.