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 How long do your exacerbations last on average?
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Lori67
Rookie

USA
18 Posts

Posted - Jan 09 2011 :  9:15:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I feel like I'm finally coming out of my exacerbation that started in August. I think I really started to turn around after I got my nebulizer in late December. I've had a lot more energy and have been able to do the things that I want/need to do. I try not to overdo it and if I feel like I need to rest, then I rest. That being said, I've been wondering how long other people's exacerbations last on average. I know everyone is different. It would be good to know.

My husband and I had a real heart to heart about my COPD the other day. It was a good talk and now I know that he understands what I'm going through. I had sent him the topic Sick Lungs Don't Show. I told him that I sent it to several people and only 4 responded. I know that some people don't know what to say and that's ok. I feel like some people don't think it's as serious as it is or I'm overexaggerating. I told him that the best way I can think to explain my condition to anyone is to ask if they've ever had bronchitis. Then ask if how they think they would feel if they had bronchitis for the past two years.

Thanks for reading this!

jmrommes
Contributing Member

1223 Posts

Posted - Jan 09 2011 :  9:24:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Lori,

If you mean how long did it take to get back to where I was before the exacerbation, I think the longest it took was probably about three months. I judge where I am based on what I can do on the treadmill in 45 minutes. I didn't recognize the first exacerbation until I'd been having problems for well over a month (the only symptoms I had were that I couldn't do what I'd been able to do on the TM and my blood sugar was running about 20 points high). It took a couple of different antibiotics and a pred burst to finally get rid of whatever it was. After that, it took me about three months to get back to where I'd been before it all started. Once I was able to walk the TM at the same speed and incline as before it started, I figured I was fine.

Jean

Exercise not only lets me live, it enables me to have a life.
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CarolCA
Contributing Member

USA
3200 Posts

Posted - Jan 09 2011 :  9:46:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am curious. I have had a really bad drop in my saturation but don't seem to have much of anything else, like a bad cough, fever,etc. How do I know if this is an exacerbation or if this is the way it is from now on. I have started on Pred 30mg and Avelox since my doctor is out of town for another week and I don't want to see anyone else on call. My gastro did order a full blood workup which I will get the results of but that probably won't show much for lungs except maybe I high white count if it is an infection. Would you say that an exacerbation is usually an infection? I am hoping I can pull out of this. I, also, have a fractured disk in my back so exercise at this point is out and I have felt like I had a belt around my ribs until I took the prednisone. Very shallow breathing. Just wonder, Jean, what you think?
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Lori67
Rookie

USA
18 Posts

Posted - Jan 09 2011 :  10:07:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jean, yes, that is exactly what I mean. How long does it usually take to get back to pre-exacerbation condition.

Having COPD is such a learning situation. I hadn't had anything like this until I got sick with a cold in early 2008. Sinus congestion went away but the cough never did. I was diagnosed in August 2008. I took Advair for awhile and it helped but caused thrush. I really did pretty good till this past August. Granted, I only golfed twice this past summer. Didn't have the desire or energy. My 26 yr old nephew died suddenly and unexpectedly in September 2010 of an asthma attack. He was diagnosed 3 weeks prior after an asthma attack sent him to the ER. He was on the golf course with my husband. It was so tragic. When he died I was at the beginning of the exacerbation. This was really only the 2nd time I had such an issue. So, I'm learning about what I need to be aware of in myself. Know my triggers. Advocate for myself. When he died it freaked me out. I was so scared and emotional about it. I guess in some ways I feel like I owe it to him to take care of myself and educate others. I really feel like people these days think that if someone has asthma all you have to do is use your inhaler and you're fine. So not true.

My goal for 2011 is to get out on the golf course and enjoy myself. To play, have fun, socialize. I know it will be a different experience from years past but I'm going to do everything I can to enjoy my life and feel as normal as possible. Yes, COPD is on my mind ALL the time. But, because it's on my mind all the time, I feel like I will be better able to handle my disease in the future.
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Casey-CA
Senior Member

USA
782 Posts

Posted - Jan 10 2011 :  01:38:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Lori,
You have a really good attitude now and that is part of the battle we face.
I don't know that we ever really get back to pre exacerbation condition. Exacerbations
will take its toll on us, that is why we try to avoid them. If you begin and continue your exercising on your treadmill (good job by the way! wink.) you will improve but the time it takes will be on how good of condition you were in before your exacerbation.
Sorry, I know I am not giving a time line for you or a better response.
I am so sorry about your nephew. That is horrible. Emotions are difficult for us, but we always need to be aware of how we are eating, exercising and avoiding germs every single day now.
I don't think I heard you say what your FEV1 is? What is it? That has something to do with how long it will take you to bounce back and up and at em!
Do you have a copy of your PFT? We always try to get copies of our tests for our own records and so we know what our own condition is.

Casey formerly majseventh
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Casey-CA
Senior Member

USA
782 Posts

Posted - Jan 10 2011 :  01:41:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carol, you have really been having quite a time of it. I feel for you and I hope
you start to feel better.

Casey formerly majseventh
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CarolCA
Contributing Member

USA
3200 Posts

Posted - Jan 10 2011 :  02:11:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, yes, this has been the worst year of my life healthwise with one thing affecting the next thing and spiraling down from there. I just don't understand this drop the last few months as I have had no infection or any reasonable explanation. It seems to have come on so fast and now with my fractured disk I am not allowed to exercise and even walking much makes it worse. The pain is not nearly as bad as it was and they did say it can be healed but there can be some pain on and off because nerves are involved. I just don't get this big drop down to low 80's walking a very short distance and how long it is taking me to recover only to about 91. That has only been the last few weeks. My pulmo has been on vacation and I just didn't want to go to his fill-in as all they would do is order Pred and antibiotic, if that. My CT scan in Sept was fine and my MRI for my back showed only the fracture. I hate not knowing if this is permanent or not but am looking at it like it is.
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jmrommes
Contributing Member

1223 Posts

Posted - Jan 10 2011 :  10:17:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carol,

You really have had a rough go recently, and I certainly agree that many different things can affect and influence our general and over-all health. That fractured disk has certainly made life difficult for you, no question about it. I would guess that it's had an emotional impact because of not being able to exercise, and then seeing the reduced saturation levels and the anxiety that produces....it sounds like a really nasty downward spiral, with each thing feeding the next one.

As for whether it's an exacerbation or not, I don't know. I've had three "episodes" over the last seven years that required multiple antibiotics and a pred burst to get over. None of them started with a respiratory "thing" that seemed to go south. The first was the one I described. The second came when I tried spiriva....that turned out to be a disaster and ended with antibiotics and a pred burst. (I'm reasonably sure now that the reason it went so badly was because neither my doc nor I knew I should stop the combivent while taking the spiriva.) The last one was triggered by my husband's last illness and subsequent death, proof positive for me that stress has a huge effect on our health. Interestingly, knock wood, I've had NO episodes of anything (except sinus infections that stayed in my head) in the three and a half years since he died.

I had gotten into the habit of aggressive exercise (45 minutes on the TM at speeds up to 3.0 mph and inclines up to 8, sometimes twice a day when I was in major weight loss mode) and my first clue that things weren't right in each case was that one day I just couldn't do what I'd done yesterday with no problem and each succeeding day things seemed to be worse. So I know the kind of decline you're talking about.....quick and severe and VERY disheartening.

Can you do no exercise at all? I certainly understand no weight-bearing exercise, but I would think that chair exercises for your legs or something like a NuStep might work. Perhaps water walking is a possibility. When you do see your pulmo, I'd ask about some type of exercise you could do because I'm sure that part of what's going on could be improved with exercise. I sure wish you the best!

Jean

Exercise not only lets me live, it enables me to have a life.
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jmrommes
Contributing Member

1223 Posts

Posted - Jan 10 2011 :  10:41:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Lori,

I sure applaud your attitude, and would encourage you to make golfing every week or several times a week your goal. As you can see in my post to Carol, I think there is a huge connection between our mental and emotional health and our physical health, so certainly your nephew's death has had an impact. That said, I would encourage you to begin a formal exercise program. Being active, socializing, etc. is all well and good, but in order to do that you need a good, solid, aggressive exercise program.

What I'm talking about is doing something (walking, skipping, running, jogging, jump roping, biking, roller-blading....whatever trips your trigger) for at least 30 minutes without stopping every day. Now, you're probably thinking something like: This woman is bonkers....she expects me to do something for 30 minutes straight when I get winded walking from the parking lot into WalMart? Yeah, that is exactly what I mean. However, I know perfectly well that most of us can't do that from the get-go.....I couldn't.

So I began where I was and worked up from there. The point of exercise for those of us with COPD is to improve our endurance and to get ourselves into the best possible shape we can be in. The exercise makes the lung function we have much more efficient and muscles that are in good shape can do a whole lot more with a lot less O2......all that's great for us. So we need both aerobic exercise (the kind that gets our heart rate up and makes us huff and puff) and weight/resistance training to improve our muscle tone in upper, lower and core muscle groups. I walk the TM every day for 45 minutes, do a 30 minute weight workout three days a week and do water aerobics as many days as I can get into the pool.

Talk with your doc about pulmonary rehab. That's a formal program offered to people with COPD that combines planned exercise with classes in all things COPD. If you can get into a class, that's a great start. HOWEVER, and this is a BIG however, don't think that two or three times a week will do it. It won't. This committment to exercise is a daily committment......and I can guarantee you that while 45 minutes spent exercising daily may not result in your being able to golf every day if you want, it definitely will make everything else you do a whole lot easier. If PR isn't available, do your own....I did. Just make sure you have your doc's go-ahead to embark on a good exercise program and be sure you know if there are things you need to be careful of.

I credit my exercise program with my being able to work until my planned retirement a year ago, to being able to continue to consult with my former employer and work for another consulting company and traveling throughout the US and Canada (10 trips by air last year), to taking my grandsons on vacation every summer and working with the Iowa Lung Association and other organizations as a patient advocate for COPD. It's also the reason that I've been able to get back to where I was every time I've had a setback.

If you want more into about this, just ask.......

Jean

Exercise not only lets me live, it enables me to have a life.
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Davy9
Rookie

USA
18 Posts

Posted - Jan 10 2011 :  12:39:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As one reads the input here it is clear that COPD is very individual. It is complex often involving many systems. And having COPD does not keep us from experiencing the rest of life's health problems and the other wonders associated with aging.

So I think Jean put out the best synopsis of R-rehab. You work to get into the best physical and mental condition that you can. Your body will be able to do more work with less O2 consumed when it is tuned. How to get there, how to stay there, how to avoid exacerbations and how quickly you can recoup from an exacerbation are all quite individual. Jean has an excellent handle on her own situation.

I learned R-rehab at Loma Linda University. They have a very comprehensive program that delivers what Jean has accomplished. Seek something similar in your area and plan on working hard. Plan on studying hard, because there is much to learn that has little to do with physical exercise. Once you have completed the program stick with the routine(s) and apply your knowledge.

How quickly does anyone get over an exacerbation? How was their condition before the exacerbation? How severe was the exacerbation? How long was the exacerbation? It is an easy question ask but not so simple to answer.
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CarolCA
Contributing Member

USA
3200 Posts

Posted - Jan 10 2011 :  3:46:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Until 4 months ago I was having knee replacement surgery in March and everything was a go until I started having the pain in my ankles and feet walking which turned out to be PAD after much tests. Now that pain is gone but I still have the knee problem. Once they know that this fracture is healed and I am not sure how they really know this I imagine they will start some therapy. I do see an osteoporosis doctor the end of the month so will talk to him about what I can do. This is a 50% collapse of the disk and the fear is going to 100% before it is healed. It is the worst kind of collapse for people with COPD as it pronates the body forward therefore decreasing lung capacity. I think I am doing about all I can now without disrupting the knee, my back and my lungs further. Thanks for all your help.

Just to add. I believe that they would not let Penny do the NuStep because of osteoporosis when she was in rehab for her LVRS.

Edited by - CarolCA on Jan 10 2011 3:47:50 PM
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jmrommes
Contributing Member

1223 Posts

Posted - Jan 10 2011 :  6:05:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carol,

Interesting comment about the Nustep....do you know what about the/her (Penny's) osteoporosis kept her off it? I know they (Duke) didn't like their patients walking on a TM and wanted them to walk a track because it was more like the real world. Sure hope you get some resolution on your situation soon......it sounds miserable.

Jean

Exercise not only lets me live, it enables me to have a life.
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CarolCA
Contributing Member

USA
3200 Posts

Posted - Jan 10 2011 :  9:27:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I thought just that she had it in her spine but I assume she will be along to answer.
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benjamin-KY
Member

USA
107 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2011 :  6:51:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's horrible how one little exposure to too much smoke can start a exacerbation that lasts months. it happened to me searing a steak in too hot of a pan and effected me in just the wrong way to start a one month recovery. It's important to be as careful as possible when we have such delicate lungs.

If you take the advice of celebrities you get what you deserve.
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PennyPA
Contributing Member

USA
4710 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2011 :  9:40:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here I come...tagging along slowly. Just had the repairman in to replace the LP/propane detector in the "house". It's been beeping, loudly, off and on all day so we had to have the door open and it's cold in here!

Anyway, rehab at Duke did not let me do the nu-step because they did not want me bending my spine "inward" since that compresses everything the wrong way when one has osteoporosis. Carol said it right when she said "It is the worst kind of collapse for people with COPD as it pronates the body forward therefore decreasing lung capacity" although I don't know what the heck the word "pronates" means, LOL.

****************************************************************

You canít change the past but you can ruin the present worrying about the future.

The Bad News: Time flies as you get older.
The Good News: Youíre still the pilot.

Penny's Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

And Our Travel Blog After LVRS




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CarolCA
Contributing Member

USA
3200 Posts

Posted - Jan 12 2011 :  12:50:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
down or forward works,too.
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Scout
Contributing Member

USA
1011 Posts

Posted - Jan 12 2011 :  11:55:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Don't be striking any matches in there Penny!!! Have ya gotten it fixed yet? Where are you now? It's soooo cold here!

Connie-AR
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Scout
Contributing Member

USA
1011 Posts

Posted - Jan 12 2011 :  11:57:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
sounds like yoga Carol!

Connie-AR
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delaney
Rookie

8 Posts

Posted - Jan 22 2011 :  3:06:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

jean , is it possible to be having an exacerbation every 6 weeks or so for about two weeks at a time? that seems to be my norm for my infection an shortness of breath. also, i saw in a post you were diagnosed in 2000. jean may i ask what your fev1 was back then and what it is now?
delaney

quote:
Originally posted by jmrommes

Lori,

If you mean how long did it take to get back to where I was before the exacerbation, I think the longest it took was probably about three months. I judge where I am based on what I can do on the treadmill in 45 minutes. I didn't recognize the first exacerbation until I'd been having problems for well over a month (the only symptoms I had were that I couldn't do what I'd been able to do on the TM and my blood sugar was running about 20 points high). It took a couple of different antibiotics and a pred burst to finally get rid of whatever it was. After that, it took me about three months to get back to where I'd been before it all started. Once I was able to walk the TM at the same speed and incline as before it started, I figured I was fine.

Jean

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jmrommes
Contributing Member

1223 Posts

Posted - Jan 22 2011 :  9:24:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Delaney,

I suppose it's possible to be having exacerbations that often, but I'd sure be talking with my doc about what we can do to slow that down! It sounds like you're not really getting over whatever it is, just getting it under control for awhile before it flares again. That's way too often for my peace of mind.

My FEV1 in 2000 was 34% and it's still 34%. I credit my exercise program and attention to diet and weight control for that. My goal is to keep it at 34% forever.......

Jean

Exercise not only lets me live, it enables me to have a life.
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CarolCA
Contributing Member

USA
3200 Posts

Posted - Jan 22 2011 :  10:26:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This may have been discussed so sorry if I am repeating something but Lori have you had a CT scan? Did it mention Bronchitasis? Your syptoms sound very much like someone that has Bronchiatasis)sp) as they have frequent infections and are sometimes put on a very low dose antibiotic sometimes every day and sometimes 3 weeks a month or something like that. It is something to consider.
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Dave-OH
Administrator

USA
3411 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2011 :  01:10:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I will comment on this in the AM, as I have bronchectasis.

Dave, Forum Administrator
COPD Support, Inc. http://www.copd-support.com/
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CarolCA
Contributing Member

USA
3200 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2011 :  4:55:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
AT least you can spell it, Dave. I always mess it up.
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Dave-OH
Administrator

USA
3411 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2011 :  7:13:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, but have been busy. I take Azithromycin (500 MG) 3 times a week. It is not for its action as an antibiotic, but because it is also an anti-inflammatory. At my worse, I alternate 2 weeks on, 6 weeks off of inhaled antibiotic. Sometimes 1 month on and 1 month off. It is critical to treat with the right antibiotic. They culture on a regular basis and have a treatment course available and planned before I need it. Then they culture and make sure the course is appropriate. The advantage of inhaled antibiotics are:

1. More effective at lower doses
2. Less gastro-intestinal side effects
3. Can be take at much higher doses than oral
4. Only kill the lung bugs

Some of these seem duplicative, but the are critical points.

Dave, Forum Administrator
COPD Support, Inc. http://www.copd-support.com/
Your source for peer support and COPD Info

Chat room http://chat.copd-support.com
Mobile chat room for pads and phone Chat room http://chat.copd-support.com/m

My Site: http://lungresources.com
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Chuck-TX
Member

USA
79 Posts

Posted - Jan 27 2011 :  10:56:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
All this info is very interesting...and very helpful. I'm missing something, though - will someone please tell me what "exacerbation" is? Sounds bad...and something I need to understand. Probably explained somewhere but I've missed it.

Thanks.


Chuck

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

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Dave-OH
Administrator

USA
3411 Posts

Posted - Jan 27 2011 :  11:36:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It is when you either have substantially worsening symptoms or an infection.

"Exacerbation: A worsening. In medicine, exacerbation may refer to an increase in the severity of a disease or its signs and symptoms. For example, exacerbation of asthma is one of the serious effects of air pollution.."

"Chest tightness, difficulty breathing, persistent cough, increased sputum production and wheezing can indicate COPD exacerbation as a result of respiratory infection, allergens, pollution, the flu or pneumonia. According to the American Thoracic Society, respiratory infections cause 75 percent of the emergency room visits by COPD patients. Twenty-five percent of these patients test positive for bacterial infection, 25 percent test positive for a viral infection, and 25 percent test positive for both viral and bacterial infections, making it all the more difficult to treat. "

Dave, Forum Administrator
COPD Support, Inc. http://www.copd-support.com/
Your source for peer support and COPD Info

Chat room http://chat.copd-support.com
Mobile chat room for pads and phone Chat room http://chat.copd-support.com/m

My Site: http://lungresources.com
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Chuck-TX
Member

USA
79 Posts

Posted - Jan 28 2011 :  12:36:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Dave, for the explanation. Looking back, my first exacerbation was in 2003 when I coughed all night until almost passed out and was taken to hospital where they said I had COPD, which led to 02, inhalers, etc. Never really paid any attention to COPD until about one year ago when all symptoms I've been reading about here hit me suddenly. NOW I pay attention! Will stick around to learn more!

Chuck

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

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PennyPA
Contributing Member

USA
4710 Posts

Posted - Jan 28 2011 :  12:57:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And not everyone with copd will have exacerbations. I have never had one and I was first diagnosed with copd in 1985.

****************************************************************

You canít change the past but you can ruin the present worrying about the future.

The Bad News: Time flies as you get older.
The Good News: Youíre still the pilot.

Penny's Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

And Our Travel Blog After LVRS




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Scout
Contributing Member

USA
1011 Posts

Posted - Jan 28 2011 :  2:44:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I thought it was when you got sick!

Connie-AR
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Casey-CA
Senior Member

USA
782 Posts

Posted - Jan 28 2011 :  5:03:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Penny is bragging again! LOL
You will have one some day Penny, we all do.
Unfortunately.
An asthma attack is an exacerbation, a bout with bronchitis or pneumonia is an
exacerbation. Sudden symptoms of sob and just plain old general sudden decline of FEV1 is
an exacerbation.

Casey formerly majseventh
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PennyPA
Contributing Member

USA
4710 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2011 :  12:07:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't agree that pneumonia is an exacerbation because people without copd also get pneumonia. However, some people DO consider pneumonia an exacerbation so with that in mind, I've had one exacerbation - pneumonia - in hospital for 5 days (I think), home a week, and then back to work.

Casey, I do not agree that sudden symptoms of sob is an exacerbation.

****************************************************************

You canít change the past but you can ruin the present worrying about the future.

The Bad News: Time flies as you get older.
The Good News: Youíre still the pilot.

Penny's Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

And Our Travel Blog After LVRS




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Casey-CA
Senior Member

USA
782 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2011 :  04:07:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
http://www.webmd.com/lung/10-signs-copd-exacerbation

Pneumonia will leave scarring and will most certainly leave you weak and your lungs more damaged than before. So, I don't agree that it isn't an exacerbation. I don't think it matters at all that other people get pneumonia. Pneumonia will damage even the best of lungs.
Also, SOB is a warning that your symptoms are worse. Sudden and prolonged is what I should have said and we all know that a short burst of prednisone will help these symptoms in most cases, so the exacerbation is minimalized.



Casey formerly majseventh
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PennyPA
Contributing Member

USA
4710 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2011 :  1:21:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sob is a warning that your body is asking for more O2 than your heart and lungs can provide at that time. You're right, though, the "prolonged" is the key word in that sentence. And no, my lungs were not more damaged than before my pneumonia because I have emphysema and that damage was already caused by smoking. My FEV1 was the same 2 weeks after the stay in the hospital as it was on my previous pft some time before I went into the hospital. But,as they say, everyone is different.

****************************************************************

You canít change the past but you can ruin the present worrying about the future.

The Bad News: Time flies as you get older.
The Good News: Youíre still the pilot.

Penny's Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

And Our Travel Blog After LVRS




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delaney
Rookie

8 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2011 :  2:50:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
is there any type of medicine to help with the co2 retention? and what makes copd progressive? if you dont smoke how does it progress?
delaney
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jmrommes
Contributing Member

1223 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2011 :  5:12:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Delaney,

The typical prescription for Co2 retention is carefully regulated O2 and sometimes a bi-pap machine to help you exhale to get rid of the CO2. I don't believe there's any medication that is typically prescribed.......but I'm sure someone will jump in if there is something. Also, please don't think that being a true CO2 retainer is very common....it's not. Many of us will land in the hospital with high CO2 levels, but it's a concommitant with the pneumonia or respiratory failure or whatever got us to the hospital in the first place, and usually responds when we're treated for the problem that got us there. If it doesn't get back to normal with treatment, then you may have to be concerned, but leave that to your doc.

As for the "progressive" thing, here's the deal: everyone, whether they have lung disease or not, loses lung function as they get older. Someone 65 will have less lung function than someone 35.....that just happens. When we smoke or whatever, we lose lung function faster than our non-diseased counterparts because of the damage that's been done to our lungs. That's why we often talk about our lung function being a percentage....that's our lung function compared to someone our age, height, weight and sex without lung disease. My lung function is 34% and my goal in life is to keep it at 34%....in other words, I'm going to lose lung function, but I'm not going to lose it any faster than my non-lung diseased counterpart. The problem is this and here's an example:

If my non-diseased counterpart at age 60 can blow 10 liters (I'm making this up....it's way too high but it makes the math easier), I (at 34%) only blow 3.4 liters. At age 70, my non-diseased counterpart blows 8 liters, but with my 34%, I only blow 2.72 liters. If I live long enough, I'll get so low that it won't work any more. Does this begin to make sense? That's the "progressive" part.

Jean


Exercise not only lets me live, it enables me to have a life.
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CarolCA
Contributing Member

USA
3200 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2011 :  5:15:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Though I can't substantiate this I believe that those of us that have chronic bronchitis tend to have more damage even after we quit smoking. The constant trying to get mucous up and out has to cause some damage to our already compromised lungs.
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jmrommes
Contributing Member

1223 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2011 :  9:32:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carol,

I don't know that there's any more possibility of additional damage to our lungs from chronic bronchitis than from emphysema. One thing I should have said in my answer to Delaney is that because our lungs are compromised to begin with, there is always the danger that we'll get something really awful that does additional damage from which we can't recover. I know that some of the fungal infections that we can get do additional damage and I believe that some really nasty pneumonias can also. My guess is that people who have active bronchiectasis run the risk of additional damage because of the incidence of pneumonia....Dave can probably jump in here.

I didn't mean to make it sound like we can always maintain at the same place we are now. That's just my goal. I'm very aware that some bug out there may have my name on it and if we ever meet up, I'm probably not going to win. In the meantime, I'm going to keep on doing everything I know how to do to stay as healthy as possible and hope my luck holds. So far, so good....find some wood, quick!

Jean

Exercise not only lets me live, it enables me to have a life.
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bluzman
Member

181 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2011 :  10:30:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
wondering it seems that my breathing is always labored
even when i'm just sitting..or is it just that i'm more aware of my breathing ..prolly a little of both......
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PennyPA
Contributing Member

USA
4710 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2011 :  01:43:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bluzman, what meds are you on?

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Casey-CA
Senior Member

USA
782 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2011 :  02:20:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I knocked twice for you Jean~~
The progressive rate can be sped up by exacerbations and irritants to our lungs:
ie, smoke and smog.
The lack of a good diet and non exercise will increase the rate too. If you are constantly
showing a low oxygen sat that can cause you to get worse fast.
People with healthier lungs don't have the same worry that we do with bugs and such and that *worry* can cause us to get worse.

Casey formerly majseventh
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jmrommes
Contributing Member

1223 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2011 :  09:42:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Casey,

You're certainly right in that everything you cited can contribute to lower functioning. I believe that there's a difference between functioning at a lower level and increased structural damage to the lungs. My point is that the structural damage is done by whatever one is exposed to, and when one stops being exposed to whatever caused the damage, generally the structural damage stops. Things that can do additional structural damage are infections, pneumonias and continued exposure to lung irritants, as you said. I don't believe that low O2 does damage to the lungs; rather it's the other organs that suffer. Low O2 certainly contributes to lower functioning. The other things, like exercise, nutrition and stress all contribute to lower functioning, but don't cause additional structural damage unless they then lead to infections and pneumonias that can do damage to the lungs.

Maybe the distinction isn't important in the sense that it probably doesn't matter WHY you're functioning at a lower rate, the fact is that you are. The point of the distinction to me is to demonstrate that there are things that only we, patients, can do to try to avoid stuff that leads to additional structural damage. We quit smoking and avoid as many environmental irritants as possible. We get our weight under control, we watch what we eat, we exercise daily, we take out mes as prescribed, we get our flu shots and avoid people with bugs. These things aren't absolute insurance against getting something that will do additional damage, but they sure do lessen the liklihood of it.

Jean

Exercise not only lets me live, it enables me to have a life.
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