Dear COPD Coach,
I have COPD and have been stabilized for about 7 years now. All of a sudden I went downhill gasping for air. I went to my pulmonologist and he took breathing tests, put me on oxygen 24/7 and gave me a prednisone shot in office and on prednisone for 18 days. Now normally prednisone helps me breath better and opens me up, but no change in my breathing and being on oxygen 24/7 has not helped. He tried another medication me shaky, clammy and really upset my whole system. I had heart stent in 2007 and now wonder if that is the problem, but had blood work done in the ER room and did not show anything in the heart.
My question: is this normal, is this what I can expect from now on, after being stabilized for 7 years? I am overweight but I think it is as a result of the drugs and I do eat healthy. I find I never lose weight, but I do not gain. BUT and this is the big but when this breathing problem happened I gained 10 pounds but it could be the prednisone. My pulmonary doctor and my regular doctor seem to be stumped. Where do I got from here?
-Tough To Breathe
Dear Tough To Breathe,
First of all, kudos to you for keeping stable with COPD for seven years. You’re doing something right!
Before I comment, I just want to summarize what I understand you to be saying. You mention that you had a heart stent five years ago, and also that they did a blood test to check your heart in the ER. You don’t say specifically what they were testing in your blood, but that blood test may have been to check if you were in the process of having a heart attack at that time. From what you indicate, that test was negative. Your pulmonologist has taken the usual steps that normally get your breathing back on track, and it hasn’t worked and he or she is still stumped, as is your primary doctor.
We have written in past letters that there are a number of co-morbidities associated with COPD. A number of these co-morbidities can interact with COPD in very unproductive ways. It is never a bad to work with a variety of professionals to address just how a co-morbidity is affecting your overall breathing.
I hope this helps. Good luck to you, and I hope you find the problem and are able to address it and get your breathing back on track!!
The COPD Coach