Please describe your experience with emphysema. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Anglo, 55-64 (Patient) Published: September 15

I had chest x-ray and eventually was told I had 'chronic emphysemic changes.' I cannot find on the web what that means. All I can see is the staging mild, moderate, severe etc. I have been referred to a respiratory specialist but, probably due to COVID, that isn't for 6 months. I am getting increasingly depressed and worried. At the moment I have cough in the morning, and mucus, but not getting very out if breath. I wonder what chronic changes would mean in lay terms. Thank you.

Comment from: Lisa, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 18

I was diagnosed with severe emphysema, mild fibrosis, lung nodules, and lung bullae; I am 49. I am so depressed, all I do is cry and that makes my shortness of breath even more difficult. I used to be a go getter, now I sit at home taking medicines and nebulizer treatments along with being on continuous oxygen. I coughed so hard I broke 2 ribs in the shower. I quit my job and now in the process of disability. If you are a smoker, quit and quit now. This is the most miserable, depressing, anxious thing.

Comment from: Chrissy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 09

I was diagnosed with emphysema at age 35 and 13 years on have occasional chest pains and shortness of breath after intense exercise but I refuse to use an inhaler - why mask the symptoms and add more toxins into my body when the sane and sensible answer is to stop smoking! I quit for a year at age 45 and the benefits of better sleep and improved breathing was instant. But I live on my own and work from home so boredom got me hooked again! It’s a psychological addiction and can be beaten.

Comment from: DieselEstate , 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 26

My husband stopped smoking after some 35 years of light smoking. Concluding the breathlessness he'd begun to feel as his lungs in recovery, he nonetheless consulted his general physician. Diagnosed with COPD, he now has emphysema. Instead of relishing retirement, he is now stoic and I am terrified. I just cannot face life without him. We'd rather go together.

Comment from: DianaUK, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 21

I was diagnosed with severe COPD and emphysema at 48. I had LVRS (lung volume reduction surgery) a year later, which I am forever grateful for. I have read some of your stories, and a couple I have been puzzled with. If you’re mild why are you using nebulizers and oxygen! I am in UK and we don’t use those unless we have very low oxygen saturation and it is monitored because of carbon dioxide retaining. I also don’t understand why people think they’re dying after diagnosis. You can live for years with emphysema.

Comment from: Tommy , 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 24

I am 58 and have emphysema.

Comment from: Babes, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 10

I am diagnosed with emphysema. I am a bit breathless and dizzy. I am trying command cell therapy to halt it. I am not giving in to it.

Comment from: Eli , 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: June 25

I am 44 years old. I stopped smoking 2 and a half months ago, and I am really scared about emphysema. I have very hard time breathing now, and even more so at night, it is so bad I can’t sleep. I get up with a tight chest that feels blocked and can’t breathe well at all, but some nights are better than others. I have a 1 and a half year boy. My dad is 69 years old, has been through this, and he is very active. Well, so it will get better.

Comment from: Helonwheels, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 13

After reading the comments which are very good, I noticed that a little bit of what everyone is posting is my issue too. I talked to doctors in 2003 and they told me to stop smoking or I would end up with emphysema. I stopped immediately. Well, 17 years later here I sit with emphysema. It's like the doctors don’t give a heads up on what can go wrong after the smoking period or the bottom line of it all. I also don’t understand why the journals say our life expectancy is tops 14 years. A lot of posts here state they have had COPD 25, 15, 16, etc. years! I don’t understand who's lying to us!

Comment from: Constant, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 26

I have emphysema/COPD. I am 56. COPD means, depression, isolation, can't breathe, and in and out of the emergency room. I hate my life, wishing I was the 'old' me, I am depending on others now. Added to that, unaffordable medications, disrupted sleep, tired all the time, weight loss, crying spells because you can't do a thing anymore - I hate the 'new' me, hospital bills that you can't pay, feeling so alone; the list goes on and on. My mother passed away four years ago from this at the age of 72. I'm only 56.


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Comment from: Frank , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 28

My emphysema scares me. The thought of losing my independence, and dying makes me feel suicidal. I am sure one day I will kill myself before the disease takes hold.

Comment from: TommyS95, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: October 25

I’m only 24 and have been diagnosed with mild emphysema. The radiologist says that it’s the very beginning of emphysema. I suffered from a spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung) which is normal for my age and build (tall, slim and smoker), but because of the emphysema it never healed like it should have done, which led to a CT scan and diagnosis. They say I am extremely lucky I found it early as not many have the chance (I have no symptoms), but I’m still afraid I will no longer have a life in 20 years.

Comment from: Deb, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 18

What an honor to share my story and read the stories of others. I was diagnosed with COPD and emphysema a few years ago, no symptoms, so changed no habits. Within past three months, went from 0 to 100. I have made two emergency room visits, 2 urgent care visits and trying to get to a pulmonologist. I quit smoking last week. No oxygen is needed, but I need home breathing treatments and inhalants. It is hard to breathe and sleep. Kept secret for years, now hoping to heal. Difficult, worse symptoms since quitting cigarettes but I don't want oxygen.

Comment from: Cricket king , 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 06

I've had severe emphysema since 2016. I've been hospitalized 5 times with lung infections, and one time this past June I spent 6 days in the hospital with pneumonia. I cough up blood clots that's in the mucus. I have trouble sleeping and from the ball of my feet to my toes are numb. I hurt from my knees down to my calf muscle. I get out of breath easily, and get dizzy and off balance. I can be sitting on the bed or walking, and I get dizzy. I went to their doctor a few weeks ago and he gave me a test walking a straight line and I was like a drunk, dizzy. I stay in the bed all the time, I just feel weak all the time no matter how much rest I get.

Comment from: snicklesd, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 12

I hadn’t smoked for at least 40 years and now in my 70s I was diagnosed with COPD and emphysema. I was shocked but not alarmed. I was for years being treated with albuterol and other sprays but using cleaning products constantly and breathing 2nd hand pollutants is probably the reason for my diagnosis. So really all you can do is exercise; breathe slowly, avoid bad air and products. Mainly just take care of yourself, it is important for treatment.

Comment from: A-3-1 ,Mike. , 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 30

I have severe emphysema, chronic bronchitis and COPD. The doctor told me 3 years ago I had it, when I was hospitalized for a lung infection; that was in May of 2016. Since then I have been hospitalized 3 more times for a lung infection. I had a chest x-ray in May and my primary care doctor said the bottom of my left lung was collapsed. A week later I went to the emergency room and was admitted with pneumonia and spent 6 days in the hospital. I only weigh 113 lb., used to weigh 155.

Comment from: Toni, 75 or over (Patient) Published: July 23

I am a 78 year old female who ended up in the emergency room due to difficulty breathing. I was informed I have severe emphysema. I was in shock. Tests show I was diagnosed with emphysema ten years ago and was never informed. So now I have advanced emphysema that is being treated by a specialist. Even with an advanced diagnosis, I am feeling quite well, and have not had to curtail my activity, nor have I experienced another exacerbation. I inhale two puffs of Symbicort twice daily, and nebulize once daily.

Comment from: leslee, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 10

I have stage 4 emphysema, 23 percent lung capacity. I am considering LVRS (lung volume reduction┬ásurgery) and waiting to see if I qualify. I use oxygen on low at night, albuterol as needed and Atrovent every 3 hours. I am trying to stay active and positive in mind, body and spirit, although some days I do get sad because I am not ready to leave my family. But it does so help to stay active and if you smoke, stop! It’s not an easy thing to live with and my heart goes out to each of you and I wish you all healing.

Comment from: Sirtin, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 29

I was diagnosed with emphysema in 2002 and more recently (2019) have been prescribed oxygen. Lately, I have difficulty climbing a flight of stairs and two things happen. One, my oxygen level goes down to 85-87 on average (there has been times that it has gone down to 81 percent). And two, after climbing stairs (or any incline) I have strong and uncontrollable incontinence. Ironically, this latter condition is a prelude to an increased oxygen level.


COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the same as adult-onset asthma. See Answer
Comment from: Lmgrooma, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 07

Back in December 2018 I had a pulmonary embolism but also was diagnosed with emphysema. I am only 36 and this disease killed my father aged 62. I am worried if I am genetically predisposed to follow my father.

Comment from: Betty, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: November 26

I am an 89 year old woman, diagnosed with emphysema about six years ago. I smoked from 16 to 42, then quit over a couple of years of trying. I have what I guess is neuropathy although I am not diabetic. I can barely drag my legs along, leaning on a cane, and I am awfully weak. The problem is, at my age and gender, doctors just pat me on the head and recommend pain management. They won't discuss the walking problem or explain why I can't walk. I don't know if it is due to the emphysema or not.

Comment from: Loved one, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: July 23

My father was diagnosed with emphysema about 10 years ago. We watched him struggle for years but could never understand the devastating impact it had on his life. He had major problems breathing and lacked energy. Two years ago he was hospitalized with a high grade infection. The respiratory doctors were great. They tried in vain to help him but they were dealing with both the infection and his low saturated oxygen levels. In the end, his body gave in and his heart stopped.

Comment from: Q, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 12

I was diagnosed with stage 3 COPD (chronic bronchitis and emphysema) and asthma about a year ago. I finally quit smoking in April. I am always in pain. I have muscle cramps that are like charley horses, and tingling in my fingers and feet. I can walk about 300 feet on a good day but that is pretty much it. The stairs are ok some days but most days they are not. I have headaches every day, I have chest pain and pressure (the cardiologist says my heart is good). I started smoking when I was 9 and started a pack a day at 17. I regret smoking but still want them every day. I try to remain active but it is difficult. Some days I will actually do something for a few hours but wind up in front of the TV with my oxygen on. Good days are SpO2 of 92 to 96. Bad days it stays around 85. I am depressed and try really hard to keep the depression under control. I am losing my wife and my life. Sometimes I feel like why bother.

Comment from: Henrya, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 10

Believe it or not emphysema is beatable. I did it. I’m male and 57 years old. I was diagnosed with mild emphysema 6 years ago. Before I was diagnosed, I was smoking on average 30 cigarettes/day at least for 35 years. I quit smoking the same night that I was diagnosed. I never smoked again. I had my regular life and no change in life style after I was diagnosed. Six months ago I had much more shortness of breath. I went to my doctor, they took PFT and CT scan, and emphysema had progressed to higher level to moderate level. I asked the doctor how long I will live. It progressed from mild to moderate within 5 to 6 years. He had no answer. I was prescribed steroid tablets for a week, and shortness of breath improved 40 to 50 percent. Then I was prescribed Advair inhaler. I used it for a month and I had better breathing but too many side effects, dizziness, and tiredness. I stopped Advair after a month. I decided to change my life style. I did it and beat emphysema. I did either brisk walking or aerobic activity for minimum 60 minutes/day. I pursued lips and diaphragmatic breathing 3 to 4 times a day, 5 to 6 minutes each time. Most important was eating habits change, I take vegetable, fish, meat, egg, seeds and fruit on a daily basis now. No processed food. Processed food like sausages and bacon are not are dangerous for emphysema patients. No potato, rice and white bread. I’m taking vitamin A and NAC supplement on a daily basis. I am taking flax and chia seeds every day. I had PFT and lung scan last week. Results show no emphysema or obstruction. Doctor says he has never seen such a thing in 30 years of his career.

Comment from: ladycooper, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 07

I have emphysema and have never smoked a day in my life. I cough all the time, some bouts for as long as 30 minutes. I do not really know how to cope with it and have a poor quality of life. I have had it for about 2 years and have been told that I could die within 5 years.

Comment from: Me, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 04

I have emphysema. I use the albuterol inhaler whenever I feel that I need it. I wheeze when I lie down to sleep either for a nap after breakfast in the morning, as well as when I try to sleep at night at bedtime. The wheezing keeps me from falling asleep and it is bothersome. I do admit that my breathing is getting worse over time. I try to run with my dog and I do go to the gym every day to work out because I like doing something but I always take two puffs off my inhaler before I go. I eat most of my meals at home and I prepare nutritious food and I eat full meals so that I don't snack on junk food in-between my three meals. I am keeping my focus on trying to stay positive however I do know that my time on this earth is now limited because I can see the progression of my disease. I am not going to doctors because there is no cure, only treatments. Yes, I do want to live but I know that I only have about five years.

Comment from: Patti, 65-74 (Patient) Published: April 13

I was diagnosed with stage 1 emphysema in 2010. Not sure how long I had it before being diagnosed. I am now in stage 2, and losing my breath quite easily even when doing housework, and I have to walk my dogs slowly. I sometimes have chest pains and tightening like I'm wearing my bra too tight, when I don't even have one on. I was doing fine while exercising and riding my bike, but have stopped doing both. I keep saying I'm going to start again, but sometimes wonder what the use is. I don't understand why they haven't done more studies on emphysema, plenty of people die from it. I guess I'm afraid of the death, as I've heard it isn't pretty. But I try not to think about it. I did this to myself by smoking for nearly 40 years, but I did quit the very day I was diagnosed, with the help of e-cigarettes. Don't start smoking, young people and if you have, stop!

Comment from: Doris, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

I am 72 years young, and I started smoking when I was 13; I know that was crazy. But I did it anyway, both my mother and sister died of emphysema, I watched them gasp for air but that did not stop me and I smoked for 60 years. I take 2 inhalers, I can hardly to anything; oh, let me take that back, I can’t do anything. I just about walk to living room from my bedroom and I cannot breathe, I am on 2 1/2 liters of oxygen, but it really doesn't help. I can take a shower without help, find that I can’t breathe; so many things one can do, but life just stops, and you only have one thing left and that is trying to breathe. Please, if you smoke, quit! I thought I would never get COPD or emphysema but you can and you will. Please quit today.

Comment from: Billy, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: June 26

After having a persistent cough for over a year, I was diagnosed with COPD in March this year. In that time my emphysema has got worse to the point where not only do I have trouble sleeping at night, I also struggle to get air into my lungs. At best, I can get about 1.5 to 2 hours sleep before I have to get up. When I do get up my routine is that I have to sit on the edge of my bed for about 20 minutes, I then literally stagger into the sitting room and open a window to try and get some air. All the heating is turned off at night and there is ventilation, but even with that nights are a misery.

Comment from: Im so scared, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

I read all these stories and my heart goes out to all of you. I have emphysema on 98 percent of my lungs and the 1 section that was clear has a pulmonary embolism, blood clot, blocking the air to my heart. I am on Advair, Ventolin, the nebulizer and oxygen. I also take warfarin for blood clot and hopefully preventing any more. I am on a good diet and walk and ride a bike, but coughing is just getting worse. I watch my husband so scared that he may lose me at any time, I am hurting so bad. All I can say now is If anyone is going to decide to smoke, please don`t.

Comment from: Timmy, Male (Caregiver) Published: March 04

I watched my mom get weaker every day. This emphysema knocks one down to nothing. There were many 911 calls with heart attacks and other issues. Lung cancer finally developed, I never realized that these two could go together. She could not walk to the toilet by herself. I had to force her to stop smoking as she was a vehement smoker, even with COPD. I had to threaten my mother with a nursing home. She passed from pneumonia. Her life was awful. If you smoke, please stop, please don't start. This is a long and terrible way to die.

Comment from: clara, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 18

I was diagnosed with emphysema and COPD 5 years ago and have been taking Spiriva and Advair plus nose sprays to slow down the progression. My symptoms have always been shortness of breath, and dizziness. I am a 64 year old male.

Comment from: Robert , 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 07

My mom was diagnosed with COPD/emphysema over 10 years ago. She was doing good, my brother was her care taker and she would go into hospital maybe once a year. Then my sister moved in and suddenly mom started going into hospital a lot more. At first it seemed like she was getting worse, and we didn’t know why, then I find out my sister had been giving her cigarettes the whole time she was there. My sister knows my mom is terminally ill with COPD, so wondering if she can be held responsible for my mom’s death. She took years away from her life.

Comment from: Jkjill, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 09

I was a smoker of 1/2 of a pack of cigarettes a day. My doctor just recently told me she saw the beginning signs of emphysema. That was finally the key for me. My husband is now smoke free... deep sigh of relief!

Comment from: LesB, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: November 19

My father in law has suffered from COPD and emphysema for over 20 years. He is still coughing badly, and I am not sure this is natural. He says he doesn’t smoke but I think he does.

Comment from: BeatUp, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 12

I am not sure if I have emphysema but I live very close to some huge wind turbines 1600 ft. away. When the wind goes through those and then over my house I feel out of breath and get some heart atrial fibrillation. The wind is no longer smooth. It flutters (barometric disturbances). There is also dust pollution. This swirling wind looks like a tornado on its side and is visible in aerial photos when ground fog has been stirred up. This isn't healthy!

Comment from: Crocket, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 23

I'm 64 years old and have been smoking for 52 years. Last year I was told I had lung cancer and emphysema/COPD. I had one lung removed. For six months after I was using my puffers like crazy. Two weeks ago I started having the odd cigarette a day. Now I haven't used my puffers for two weeks now, I can’t understand why.

Comment from: Dakota fries, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 10

This is a comment for the lady who posted about her being sick with emphysema, her father was as well and passing away at 62 I think it said. I'm in the same boat, however I'm 33 and my father passed away when he was 58, and I'm having the breathing problems. So I'm kind of wondering if mine is emphysema as well.

Comment from: Kathy Venery, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 16

Early this year I was told I had mild emphysema. I was shocked, I had only had minor breathing problems at times. However I had smoked for 17 years when I was very young and had quit over 38 years ago, when I developed asthma. I always heard your lungs were cleared 5 years after you quit smoking, but they don't tell you the damage is already done! Mild is not mild, I am on oxygen all the time.

Comment from: glasd, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 10

I am 48, male. I have never smoked in my life and have been diagnosed with emphysema a month ago. I have stenosis of the spine, had a right hip replaced, and need my left hip and left knee replaced. I'm gutted with this recent diagnosis. I have depression and fight pain every day. The only thing keeping me going is my wife and 2 sons, 24 and 27, however I do feel they would be better without me. I am 9 stone in weight and in my youth was a pretty good amateur boxer. I have never smoked, or drunk alcohol ever!

Comment from: Beth, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

I smoked for 42 years, diagnosed with mild to moderate emphysema just a couple of months ago, and it was found quite by accident. I’m having a terrible time quitting smoking. I know I have to but believe I’m in denial about the whole thing. How quickly does this disease progress, started with 76 percent PFV (pressure-flow-volume). I am terrified and so are my children, I am 59 years old. I have been given the nebulizer and inhaler. I don’t use either one. I spent a great deal of my life outside but cannot any more, it takes my breath away, literally. I wonder if it is too late for me! I don’t know what to expect and how long. I’m desperate.

Comment from: Paul hill, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: June 06

I was diagnosed with emphysema back in 2014. I did not understand what the disease is and how it affects you but 5 years on it has been a nightmare trying to do simple things like walking and I am finding it difficult because of the shortness of breath due to the disease. I am still smoking and know I should really have stopped when I was diagnosed with the condition. I know, I more than likely have not got much of life left due to smoking, I wish I had never started smoking when I was young but that's life you choose and have to live with. What pains more, I met a beautiful woman just as I got diagnosed with the condition and not going to have the life together I hoped as it is going to be cut short now. Also I was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 35 years which to me is really bad as you are supposed to get this condition around your 40 to 50.

Comment from: christine, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 13

I am 59 and have been smoking 52 years. Thanks to one of my big sisters I found out in 2012 that I have emphysema. I have 3 inhalers but I don’t think they help. I don’t get much sleep, I am up sometimes at 2 in the morning coughing and by the time I clear my chest I am wide awake. I don’t go out because when I start coughing I wet myself and people look at me and I feel stupid. I have tried everything to stop smoking but nothing works, and let’s face it, the damage is done and I enjoy my cigarettes. I used to have 2 jobs, I worked all day and bar work at night but am not entitled to a penny. My husband works, he is not on a good wage but has to pay for everything, even my medicines.

Comment from: Peterson Allen, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 18

I was told I had emphysema in 2014 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 92 lb. 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.

Comment from: Lou, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 07

I am the partner and caregiver of a severe emphysema patient. My father also passed away at the age of 60, three years ago. My partner and I found out a year ago he has this horrible disease and in a year it has got a lot worse. He is 40 years old and too young to die from this disease. He still smokes as he says the damage is done now, doctor says it will reduce the damage if he gives up. But even I don't believe that, it's hard can't plan anything as we have to see how he feels in the morning of the day. This disease has taken away my dad and now my partner of 17 years.

Comment from: james, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 09

I never had any problems while I smoked. After smoking for over 20 years, I quit cold turkey. A month after I quit I started experiencing shortness of breath. In the 3 months I had to wait to get to the VA (Veterans’ Affairs) hospital, I have been hospitalized 6 times and transported by ambulance twice. My diagnosis: asthma and early stages of emphysema. Now I am on 2 inhalers and received a breathing treatment machine from the VA. I have good days and bad days. I am so scared. I am still working full time. I have a beautiful family.

Comment from: deepal, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: December 17

My father is a physician and 68 years old. He has been smoking since he was in medical college and now for 2 years, he has been diagnosed with emphysema. He didn’t share it with anyone, but as a daughter and as I am a physiotherapist myself, I forced him to get x-ray chest done. It was then that I came to know. He is having cold and cough almost all the days since 2 years. He is practicing and doing all the activities and has a healthy lifestyle, but due to coughing, at night he is not able to sleep properly and have to sit up many times. This makes me and my mother very worried and we feel very bad but helpless. He is not ready to stop smoking though he has reduced the amount he smokes. I can’t see him suffering and get worried about future as it is progressive. He is doctor himself so I can’t tell him anything as he knows the consequences, but I am worried and caring daughter.

Comment from: JSC, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: December 13

I am 28 years old and the daughter to my mother who is 63 and has mild/moderate emphysema. I have needed to find any information possible on the treatment of this disease as frankly I find watching my mum suffer everyday just sometimes too much to bear. She found out 3 years ago about her disease. I feel much is kept 'hush hush' from me as I know she doesn’t want me to worry. She was hospitalized once, released and still continued to smoke not taking it very seriously and then a year later found herself in the same position again and it was the scariest thing of my life!!! Finally after much emotional begging from me and my family and telling her I couldn’t bear to watch her do this to herself she listened and stopped smoking. I knew she 'had' a chance to make a difference to stop smoking and then amazingly she did-cold turkey. She had smoked from had the age of 16 to 61 so I knew how difficult it would be for her-I have never been SO SO proud of her. I am so proud of her but I still have to deal with this and want to do anything to help her as our bond between mother and daughter means everything to me!! Your website has helped me so much and the phase 'it’s not a death sentence but a disease to be treated' made my heart so much lighter.

Comment from: daughter who cares, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: December 30

I am the caregiver and daughter of a patient who has emphysema. My mother is 78 and was diagnosed with this disease more than 10 years ago, but she still continues to smoke. Two of her 4 brothers have already died from the disease. Her 2 brothers who are still living (one older and one younger) both smoke and they also have the disease. All of them have been heavy smokers their entire life and they refuse to give up smoking. My mom and her brothers have to be on oxygen all night and the majority of the day and their quality of life is very minimal – yet, they continue to smoke. They can't walk very well or do any activities that they once enjoyed doing and they still smoke. Right now my mother has deteriorated so much that she is on hospice. Her oxygen level is around 82 to 85% on most days. She is pretty much confined to the house and spends most of her time in her bedroom under oxygen. My father also had the disease and it weakened his heart to the point where he had a heart attack and passed away 14 years ago. He also was a smoker. It is very difficult for a loved one to see so many of their family members suffer from this disease, but to know they are so sick and they still smoke is almost unbearable. I have never smoked and never will, but I have been around second hand smoke for many years so there are times I wonder about my fate. If you have the disease and you are reading this please remember your loved ones are suffering too. Watching a person you love fade away is very heartbreaking. If you can break the habit of smoking do it for yourself and for those who love you.

Comment from: 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 11

I had a quadruple bypass 3 years ago. To make a long story short my cardiologist told me that I had the early signs of emphysema and that my heart was also slightly enlarged. I continued to smoke, but found myself increasingly fatigued. Simple things like walking down the street were very difficult. I have finally stopped smoking with help from the patch. I have not had a smoke for 14 days now and immediately felt the benefits of not smoking. It's not easy but I am determined to succeed. I want to feel good, and alive and energetic besides, I have a 10 month old grandson and I want to watch him grow up.

Comment from: snapperlou, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 11

I've had emphysema for four years. I am taking Spiriva and Advair. I started with oxygen at night, now all day long. Nothing seems to help. The minute I start to walk around the breathing gets bad. Even the oxygen doesn’t seem to help.

Comment from: Sal , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 12

I stopped smoking in July 2019 and now in February 2020 I've ended up with a lung infection. With stopping smoking I had the idea of becoming healthier. I am worried about emphysema.

Comment from: Jan, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 25

I have been just diagnosed with emphysema and mild asthma, and fearful of my future. I am totally depressed.

Comment from: David , 65-74 (Patient) Published: June 01

I was just diagnosed with emphysema and I'm just going to keep on exercising and I stopped smoking.

Comment from: steven webber, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 30

I was diagnosed with emphysema about 5 years ago due to smoking cannabis for 30 years. I still smoke cannabis as well as 30 cigarettes a day and you can hear me breathing from the other side of the room and I really do not care. I want to die but am not going to jump in front of a train or from a building. I hate life and can see no good in it.

Comment from: stratbastard, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 10

Taking control is the single tool you have left, so get out and move every day. Quit smoking or emphysema will progress like wildfire. I ride my bike 20 miles every day, sometimes climb a butte (slowly) and speed walk daily with hand-held weights. Weighted vests are good as well for adding a bit of load.

Comment from: odeth, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 27

I was exposed to lead as I was an electrical technician before, since I was 20. I also smoke. I am not sure if I have emphysema or chronic bronchitis. I exhale lots of air and inhale little.

Comment from: sharon, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

I have emphysema and have been told the lining of my lungs has gotten thicker.

Comment from: AussiPJ, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 22

I am 60 years old and and the end of November 2012 discovered by chance that I had high blood pressure, 160/120. I immediately treated it. The caridiologist told me I have aortic regurgitation and dilatation of the aortic valve. Yesterday after a scan I was told I have emphysema. I have always been fit, am vegetarian, have never smoked but have terrible stress after being robbed.

Comment from: Jen, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 15

I was diagnosed with emphysema in 2008, I have to be on oxygen 16 hours minimum. I have 27% lung function. I have lost count of the times that I have been hospitalized. I worked full time, but found it was getting too much for me, so I now have Wednesdays off and it's made the world of difference.

Comment from: Sagebrush, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 20

Right after my 58th birthday I was informed by my doctor after having some chest X-rays that I had mild emphysema. I had smoked for 35 years. I kept smoking and started getting sick about 3 or 4 months later. I ended up in intensive care for six days in septic shock from double pneumonia and almost died.

Comment from: Caan, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 14

I am a long term smoker and I have just been diagnosed with this horrible disease. I first started to experience difficulty in breathing about 10months ago since then it has got progressively worse, I have come back from the hospital today where I was told that it is damaging the right side of my heart. I don’t know if I can give up smoking even though it is putting me through this and if I do I am told I cannot repair the damage.

Comment from: phyl7684, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 26

To all those involved in the treatment and warning, I applaud all of you. I am a COPD patient since 1995. I haven’t smoked in 16 years, but the damage was done long ago. I am now 72 years old, and now my doctor suggests lung reduction. My CT scan showed that the upper part of my lungs is destroyed by emphysema. I have 37 percent left in my lungs that do not get enough air because of the blockage from emphysema and the scarring. I have to make a decision about the lung reduction. I am kind of scared of the surgery considering my age. On a lighter note, your article was very informative and I want to thank you. It gave me more information than my physician. Sincerely, Phyllis

Comment from: tom, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 05

My mother is a heavy smoker. Before Christmas, my mother was taken to the hospital and was told that she has emphysema. She is only 50 years old. This disease changed my mother’s life. She used to be out every morning helping elderly people and volunteering at the church and other things. Now, she can barely walk a flight of stairs. This is really frightening.

Comment from: Irish, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I am a woman of 79. I stopped smoking in November 1993. I have had emphysema for about four years, although as far back as 6 years ago I found that I was having trouble walking up steps. I try to exercise, but have no strength in my legs and lose all energy. I do get breathless and cough a bit, but I found that a nasal spray clears out a lot of the mucus and cuts down the coughing. The things that bother me the most are the cramps. I get them in my legs, body, and hands mostly. They are extremely painful and take a lot of heat to dissipate. I find that a large glass of water and deep breathing also help. I can't find anyone else who also gets these horrors and I'm wondering if they are symptoms of something else and not just lack of oxygen to the muscles.

Comment from: Michael, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: December 17

About 10 years ago I started having breathing problems. I went to a doctor and found out that I have emphysema. About 30 years ago I had quit smoking and thought I had gotten away disease-free. I was waking up coughing up mucus. I had to have a cigarette to stop coughing. Now I'm retired and living with my disease. I use mostly Combivent to control my symptoms. I tried more expensive medications without success. Physical condition has a lot to do with symptoms. When I gain weight I have problems. Right now I'm switching to a new diet in hopes of improving blood flow.

Comment from: jls, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 01

I have recently (two months ago) been diagnosed with emphysema. I have been a smoker for 20 years. I quit smoking two months ago; the next day I was diagnosed. I currently work every day, but I am finding it more difficult energy-wise. I am also dealing with personality change (mood swings), and I wonder if it is from my disease or from recently quitting smoking.

Comment from: polly, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 21

I've had COPD about 20 years, after 25 years of asthma. It changed but every doctor said it was still asthma. I was diagnosed 4 years ago. But whenever I look at what the symptoms are one of them is cough. I don't have one and even when I smoked (21 years ago) I didn't. I have short days because I'm so tired after 6 or 7 hrs being up. Being out all day makes me feel like a rag doll the next. Also, the winters are getting worse. Cold wind knocks the air right out of me. I'd really like some input about the lack of cough.

Comment from: shirley, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 05

I have severe COPD and take Spiriva, Seretide, salbutamol nebs (2x daily) and ventolhattin as needed during the day. I have found exercising to be of great benefit to me. It keeps up the strength in my legs and somehow enables me to breathe better. If I dont exercise I can feel myself getting weaker and breathless. When one gets like that it is easy to stop moving about and just give in to it. So if you want to feel a lot better start walking or cycling, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and above all throw away the cigarettes.

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