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Author Topic: Im Seriously Worried about COPD! Need some Advice!! Failed Spirometry Test  (Read 1926 times)

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Offline ImObsessed

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I quit smoking a few years back. I have always gotten out of breath on exercise. Im also out of shape and overweight. About 17 years ago I do the spirometry test in the doctors office (I was smoking at the time) and he said im borderline and I better stop smoking. I didnt listen.
Fast forward to 2005; I take the spirometry in my new doctors office with the nurse. I read the print out. "Severe pulmonary obstruction" !!! I freak out. WHAT? Let me try again. Next one I try even harder and it says "Moderate Pulmonary Obstruction"  I insist on a third try "MILD Pulmonary obstruction" Im a nervous wreck. The doc comes in and says calm down, these are not like lab tests. these spirometry tests are user dependent and if you dont blow hard enough you fail. Dont smoke for 2 weeks and come back and we will do it again.
So I do this. I try real hard and get "Mild Pulmonary Obstruction" I ask to try one more time and literally blow my brains out. I force every single drop of wind I can muster up out of my lungs and it says "NORMAL" finally.

But thats not enough for me. I know that its not normal to have to blow that hard. Most people just blow and get a normal with the first try. So for years Im thinking I have COPD. I get out of breath when I walk up the steps (nothing new) Another thing is my pale fingernails that I have had for 20 plus years. Perhaps they are discolored due to a lack of oxygen?

3 years ago I go to a NEW doc and mention this to him. I do a new spirometry. I blow my brains out literally, I do it standing up so I can really take a super deep breath. I know with this doc Im not going to have a chance to look at the read-out and retake the test 100 times lol. He also does a chest X Ray.
He tells me I dont have COPD and my X Ray was normal.
But now i'm once again worried about this. I took a yoga class last week and when it came time to do the deep breathing, I cant take as deep a breath as everyone else! I can literally hear the other people inhaling when I run out of room ot inhale half way through their inhalation.
Another thing was my recent Colonoscopy. When I came out of the profanol they had that oxygen sensor on my finger and nurse was like take deep breaths because your oxygen is still a little low. then it went to normal, she gives me some ginger ale and after I drink it it dropped again. She commented that it was odd for it to drop off, but then she said "oh you probably stopped inhaling to drink the soda". then it came up and they dismissed me.
So if this is COPD I have to have had it for 20 years because the shortness of breath is nothing new and the pale nails aren't new either.

I know Im rambling, Im just freaking a little. what do you folks think?
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Offline ClassicNerd

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Re: Im Seriously Worried about COPD! Need some Advice!! Failed Spirometry Test
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2012, 11:18:49 PM »
I'm obsessed, I'm also worried about lung issues (among many other things)! I know it's hard to do, but please calm down! Do you know what causes shortness of breath, a lack of oxygen in the system, and failes spirometry tests? Anxiety! In high school (this was over 9 years ago) I took a spirometry test as part of a study a group was doing on high school kids. I'm a non-smoker, and I used to jog quite a bit every day after school and participate in many intramural sports. I was really nervous because it was a 'test' and I got a 'severe pulomonary obstruction' type reading because I wasn't breathing properly due to nerves. The nurses who were doing the test even told me it was from anxiety but I freaked out anyway. I went to my doctor, and sure enough, I did not have any pulomonary issues. Being out of breath can be a combination of being anxious and out of shape. It's also possible that you're paying much more attention to your breathing now.

You're doing all of the right things, and you're getting all of the right tests. Your doctor says you're fine so I really wouldn't worry about it! Apparently we all lose some of our lung capacity after a certain age, too. If you're taking the spiro test again and again with different results within seconds, I'd say it's anxiety. My fingernails are also pale and there are many causes for that. Right now I have a thyroid condition and I'm very slightly anemic so my circulation and blood oxygen is probably not the best. Try to relax and do something you enjoy to take your mind off of this. Keep going to the doctor, and continue exercising and know that you're not the only person with a bad spiro reading and no lung conditions!
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“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” -  Mark Twain

Offline ImObsessed

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Re: Im Seriously Worried about COPD! Need some Advice!! Failed Spirometry Test
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 10:23:29 AM »
Yea the more I think about it, the more I feel short of breath. I wonder if there are other reasons why one would fail a spirometers, other then copd
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Offline sixpack

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Re: Im Seriously Worried about COPD! Need some Advice!! Failed Spirometry Test
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 11:59:48 AM »
spriometer failing? asthma, stress/anxiety, bronchitis, a cold, sinus issues.... to just name a few.


my mom HAS COPD.  She was dx'd about 5-7 yrs ago.  Yep she smoked for 40 yrs before it happened.  She quit before it was dx'd.  She also has rheumatoid lung and had a portion of her lung removed last year because of lung cancer.  She was lucky that it was caught early.  Bottom line: Smoking never does a body good.  So I'm glad you quit.  Now you need to move on.  You cannot continue beating yourself up over smoking.  What done is done.  Going forward you can do the things that are healthy for your body. 


Finally-----obsessed..........................  you could go on freaking yourself out and running from doc to doc believing the worst............  OR you could get down to the task of working on your anxiety disorder.  Personally I think the latter would be the better option  :winking0008: 
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MOST anxiety occurs on a subconscious level.  JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed.  It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state

Offline tinam7

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Re: Im Seriously Worried about COPD! Need some Advice!! Failed Spirometry Test
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2012, 12:38:18 PM »
Don't know what COPD is but have had asthma at times, plenty x-rays, smoked (in the past), and now trust the old lungs to do the best they can.

Congratulations on going to yoga, takes some courage with the ladies. I try to welcome the occasional gents. To take a deep breath you want to first try and empty your lungs. And then pay no attention to others. Breathe in and out at your own comfortable pace. With yoga you are on your way to a long, happy life. I like your quotes. Namaste.
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Offline BadgerButt

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Re: Im Seriously Worried about COPD! Need some Advice!! Failed Spirometry Test
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2012, 12:47:25 PM »
You need to relax! Only the other day I was at college and a lady came in doing that spiro thingie on random passers-by. It was to educate smokers on how it affects the lungs. A friend of mine blew into it and it read fairly low, but she's not a smoker! Another friend of mine blew and she smokes and it registered normal.

Mine is always low. I smoked for four years but even before then I always had low readings (not majorly, just a little below average). It's not a biggie.

Doc has done x-ray and confirmed no COPD. That's all there is to it.

Congrats on quitting, by the way!
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Offline ClassicNerd

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Re: Im Seriously Worried about COPD! Need some Advice!! Failed Spirometry Test
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2012, 03:49:29 PM »
Asthma and bronchitis can cause abnormal readings, and I've heard even being overweight can effect readings from a spiro test. I've also heard spirometry tests are not very accurate, so if you received a lung x-ray and everything came out clear I'd be more inclined to believe that test and chalk my bad results up to anxiety. It's interesting that you took the test a bunch of times and it came up with different results. If you're not breathing properly, the reults can be abnormal too.

If your doctor isn't worried about it, then I wouldn't be either! Congrats on quitting smoking and living a healthier life.  :winking0008: Now all you need to do is follow Sixpack's advice and do something about your anxiety! As soon as I started treating my anxiety, my shortness of breath went away and I'm sure yours will too.
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“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” -  Mark Twain

Offline ImObsessed

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Re: Im Seriously Worried about COPD! Need some Advice!! Failed Spirometry Test
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2012, 03:52:00 PM »
I actually looked up when I did that Spirometry test that I failed, it was in 2005! 8 years ago. The last one I had was about 3 years ago. I like to think that true copd would have worsened a little in 8 years. I'm not really noticing any worsening of my breathing. But it's weird, like I would Immagine I looked a little yellow at the height of liver disease fears, now I'm looking at my lips and thinking they look a little BLUE (whiich is a sign of copd) ! Ugh
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Im obsessed with my health and my current obsession is my liver.

Offline ImObsessed

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Re: Im Seriously Worried about COPD! Need some Advice!! Failed Spirometry Test
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 08:03:42 PM »
Question: I had a Spirometry and chest x ray a little over 3 years ago. Do you think those results are still valid today? They were both normal (doc said)
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Im obsessed with my health and my current obsession is my liver.

Offline ClassicNerd

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Re: Im Seriously Worried about COPD! Need some Advice!! Failed Spirometry Test
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2012, 11:24:42 PM »
Hi I'mObsessed! Yes, I'd think they're still valid, especially if you say things aren't getting worse. It's funny what we we remember and what causes us anxiety. I notice my bodily symptoms and signs tend to shift to coincide with whatever disease I fear the most. My telangiectasia were definitely liver disease during the height of my hep c fears, and now that I'm back on scleroderma/CREST/connective tissue diseases, I'm seeing all of these signs and symptoms that defintely point to some sort of connective tissue disease (I have no pain yet, by the way - these are all cutenous signs). The evidence is overwhelming and I'm convinced I have a connective tissue disease. My acne became discoid lupus, and a banged finger that got pinched and bled under the skin a little was a capillary change indicitive of scleroderma.

My point is - please know you're not alone! My brain works this way too!  :winking0008: And although I'm sorry you're dealing with this anxiety, it is comforting to know that it's all just part of health anxiety. If you had COPD you would be sick. My grandfather had COPD and scarring of his lungs and he was quite ill and certainly didn't carry on for 8 years with it. It very quickly became debilitating and eventually took his life. The fact that you're still up and well enough to go to yoga classes, makes it highly unlikely that you're suffering from COPD!
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“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” -  Mark Twain

Tags: COPD Spirometry lung 
 

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