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ACOS Asthma with COPD Overlap

I've had asthma for a number of years. In CT scans a few years back, the docs at U of M here in Michigan found emphysema in the lower lobes of my lungs. They determined that when I quit smoking 30 or more years ago, the emphysema stopped progressing. Whew. Mostly dodged that bullet.
In 2014 at U of M, a bronchial lavage was done that showed 78% neutrophils and almost no eosinophils. They also had me do a methacholine challenge test when I first went to U of M and I was found to be highly reactive.
A couple of years ago, my allergy/asthma specialist said I have COPD. A year or so later, he said nope, only asthma. So, this diagnosis of ACOS makes sense to me.
I've read a couple of past articles about ACOS on your site and am grateful for them. I'm hopeful of finding other folks with this diagnosis who may share their treatment and life experiences here.
I'm currently on Symbicort, 2 puffs twice daily; Montelukast, 10 mg. once daily; and my rescue inhaler is Ventolin. Even in the hands of fine docs, I've had problems over the years -- though no hospitalizations or ER visits -- which I now think were because my real diagnosis wasn't known. Once, I developed a lung infection that took 6 months on an antibiotic 3 or 4 days a week to cure.
I've been down for several weeks right now, because several of my infirmities have ganged up on me! A pulmonary infection set off my asthma and Type 2 diabetes. I tend to have diarrhea and nausea on antibiotics, so it took my primary care doc and I some time to find the right antibiotic for this one (Cephalexin, 500 mg. 3 x daily for 10 days; I'm on Day #3 or 4). I'm also on my second Methylprednisolone Dos-Pak in 3 weeks, one for my ACOS and the other for a bad flare of hip/knee osteoarthritis, and that helped my asthma a bit, too.
Oh, I'll be 80 years old in August and turned out around 70 to have been born with a defective aortic valve that was then replaced in open heart surgery at U of M and have had endometrial cancer that surgery took care of. The diabetic retina specialist I see at U of M says some of my asthma medicines caused the cataracts I developed in both eyes, which were removed about two years ago.
I like those shirts I see that say, "Old age is not for sissies."
I don't like giving my age, because it doesn't seem to be a drawing card for others and I feel guilty ever seeming to complain since I've lived so long, thanks to fine doctoring, raised my family and have enjoyed years and years of fun and love with six wonderful grandchildren and my 81-year-old pal of a husband.
My best to all of you, and I will be grateful for any of you with an ACOS diagnosis who share your stories. I love reading everyone's stories.

  1. Are all of you fellow patients used to surprises? I had one today. I've been reduced to phone and video visits with my docs for a long time during the pandemic. After e-mailing my ACOS doc at U of M last week, his office called this morning and said he'd see me at 5 p.m. today! I asked our son if he'll drive us (1 1/4 hours, IF traffic is good). Husband Dean's been helping in various ways all morning, and I know he's already tired -- at 81, no surprise there. Well, son Todd is amazing and agreed to do it. After the last month of steady sickness, I think some changes in my ACOS regimen may be in order. How lucky is this? I hope the universe brings good luck to you, too.

    1. Hi Sue! I’m so happy for you that you got in to see your doctor! My primary has been seeing patients right along, but some of my specialists had not. Now there’s a long wait for appointments. Good luck!

      Carol (moderator)

    2. Hi sue - like my colleague, , it's good to hear you are/were scheduled to see your physician today! What a terrific (and unexpectedly rewarding), surprise! Glad to hear you were able to make arrangements for the trip with your son. I will wish you 'good luck!' and ask that you please check back and let us know how this all worked out for you! Warmly,
      Leon (site moderator

  2. hello. Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing. You have had so many health issues, yet you fight the battle! You are so right that old age is not for sissies. I’m 66 and wonder what happened to the last 20 years. Never feel bad for complaining or sharing frustration. It’s healthy to get that out.

    We may have different diseases, take different meds and have different histories. It’s important that we let our doctors diagnose, treat, and advise. Yet,

    I look forward to hearing more and want you to know that you are not alone.
    Janet (site moderator/ Team Member)

    1. Thanks for your kind reply, Leon. I appreciate it. I've also been a member of the site for awhile, since before I knew about ACOS. I like it a lot, too. My husband and I have seen so much medical progress in our lifetime, and we look forward to seeing more. My heart goes out to the young and middle-aged folks who are trying to work and raise families and having to deal with these pulmonary illnesses. I know yours does, too.

      1. Hi again sue1941 (Diane), it's our pleasure here at Health Union to be available and of assistance when managing these conditions (asthma and COPD), on both of our community websites, and
        Thanks so much for both your input and your feedback. I'm so glad to hear you find our communities worthwhile and helpful.
        Leon (site moderator

    2. Hi sue, and thanks so much for your candor in sharing so much of your medical history and present condition managing Asthma/COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS), as well as several of your other conditions with the community.
      I am hopeful others in the community will review your comment and respond with their own anecdotal experiences managing asthma and COPD.
      We do have a wealth of material here which you said you've reviewed and enjoyed. I also thought you might find it helpful and interesting to register on our sister site, You will find similar (but different), articles which focus on ACOS published on that site as well.
      We're so glad you have found our online community - please know you are always welcome here.
      If there is anything we can do to assist you, please let me or any other moderator know.
      Warm regards,
      Leon (site moderator

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