Discussions By Condition: Medical Stories

What Happened To Me? How DId I get COPD?

Posted In: Medical Stories 4 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • September 4, 2008
  • 02:43 AM

Nobody seems to know. I got laid out with a severe case of the flu in 1997. My ex-wife picked it up at the day care she worked at. I developed a high fever and was actually out of work for a few days. I eventually got back to normal, but from that day onward, I was plagued by a persistent, dry barking cough. I let this cough go for 5 months before I finally went to see an MD. He had a chest X-ray done and it came back with "some scarring" but “no mass was detected” (which seemed to be what he was looking for). Still no immediate relief from the barking cough, though.
Within a few more months, the cough seemed to subside a little bit, but in its place was lots of mucus. Now it felt like I had a habitual chest cold 24/7. I eventually went to see a pulmonary doctor who promptly put me on Tequin and diagnosed me with acute bronchitis. The antibiotic did no good. A few months later I saw him again whereupon he diagnosed me with COPD (more like chronic obstructive bronchitis in my case).
Now I am in pretty bad shape. I cannot seem to shake this new round of infections, and the future looks pretty grim to me right about now.
I don't know what I did to make this all happen to me. I only smoked for a couple of years when I was in high school. I am 50 years old now (I was 40 when first diagnosed). I worked on a radial arm saw in a lumber yard for a couple of years but never with any chemicals or asbestos or anything like that. My current wife is a nurse's aide and seems to think I must have developed some type of strep infection immediately after my bout with the flu, which led to the lung scarring (since I didn't go to see a doctor right away).
I read of another case similar to mine in a pulmonary magazine some years ago. The guy was writing in with the same type of disbelief. He had the flu in 1997 and it ended up giving him COPD. Another non-smoker as well. My wife also knew a lady in her hospital whose daughter lost all kidney function after catching the flu in that same year. A really killer, it seems to have been.

I guess it really doesn't matter now, but I would still like to know just what did happen to me. Maybe others with persistent coughs will one day read this and not hesitate to seek out professional help.


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4 Replies:

  • If you check out a newer post in the "I cannot get a diagnosis board", I just posted a thread titled "seriously?" I'm 20 year old female, only been a smoker for a few years and already diagnosed with asthmatic copd. I was genetically predispositioned for it, so get some blood work done, you may have a deficeny in something, somewhere (alpha-something, I cannot remember) You don't have to smoke to get it, there are a lot of triggers for it...pollution, 2nd hand smoke, genetics, drug exposure, chemical exposure.Fire fighters and car techs, etc are highly to get it. Being diagnosed at 30 or 40 is considered very early and rare, but I'm 20 and have it, so just try and take the best care of yourself you can and remember it's not quite a death sentence...just a change of life! (Or it will be.... :() If you want some support you can email me at k333ly@yahoo.com I know how it sucks to have it! I can't breathe when talking or even sitting and am taking albuterol, ativan, and prednisone for it! Still have attacks and shortness of breath! Just hang in there....
    k333ly 59 Replies
    • October 21, 2008
    • 07:32 PM
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  • Oh yeah, you need a chest x-ray to make sure it isn't anything else and to make sure that it hasn't progressed realllly bad AND MOST OF ALL a pulmonary lung function test to diagnose it acuratly. Plus some blood work would help. They stick you in this weird box and make you blow really hard, fast, slow, and like hyperventilate in this tube for a few mins. Then they made me take my albuterol and do it again, They also stick some clamp on your nose, and I thought I was going to pass out doing it, I was so winded and freaked out. But that's how they diagnosed me. I think that's pretty much the only way to tell how much your lungs actually really do function compared to the norm. It'll also tell you how much it's progressed, They can't just tell you this stuff for no reason. Hope I helped some.
    k333ly 59 Replies
    • October 21, 2008
    • 07:41 PM
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  • I've got some emphysema and have your story...2 years of smoking over 40 years ago; once with bronchitis a couple of years ago, and lo and behold the emphysema in my lower lung fields showed up on a CAT scan. And I hyperventilate while sleeping, causing me to wake up with panic attacks. I agree with blaze that long term antibiotics, such as for lyme, can help...but it is hard to get anyone to prescribe them.
    marionstar 228 Replies
    • October 23, 2008
    • 00:10 AM
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  • Did your Pulmonologist due a Brochoscopy? Pulmonary Function tests? CT scans? Testing for Alpha one antitrypsin (read up on this one). Allergy testing (RAST testing) You should make sure what they are telling you is really what you have.
    ariel3 4 Replies
    • October 28, 2008
    • 03:59 AM
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