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Diagnosed at 37

Hello community.
I have just been diagnosed as having COPD. I'm only 37, and I'll be honest, it's really got me scared. I smoked since I was 18, and switched to vaping 5 years ago. Besides my lungs, I am in relatively decent shape, but I'm terrified that this just cut my remaining life expectancy in half (or by even more). At the moment, the anxiety is far worse than the actual COPD symptoms.
Even if I'm able to slow progression, I feel like my odds of even reaching retirement age are fairly minimal.
If someone had asked me yesterday how old I expect to live, I could have confidently said 80. Today, I fear I might not make it to 50.
What can I expect the next 10 years to look like? 20 years?
Is there anyone here who was also diagnosed in their 30s?

  1. Hello Juno1225: I empathize with the initial anxiety your feeling. When I was first diagnosed I had panic attacks. I even called my kids and wife together and told them I had a horrible disease and had 10 years or less to live. That was from something I got off the Internet. That was 18 years ago and I'm still kicking. Try not to worry too much in advance of how the disease progresses. For me, the best thing I did was quit smoking and avoiding environments where the air quality was not toxic. Exercise and healthy eating are good too. This is a wonderful community for support and information. :0)

    1. Meant to say "avoiding environments where the air quality was toxic."

  2. Hi again, @GrandmaLin, and thank you for joining in this conversation. We are pleased that you have chosen to share meeting this person in her 40's a while back. We appreciate your impression of her in your chance encounter.

    Keep in mind that COPD does affect each person differently - and the progression of the disease can vary widely from patient to patient.

    Glad to hear this chance encounter and your impression provided you with an even better outlook for yourself. No one can predict the future and, like you, I am hoping you will maintain a positive outlook and 'can do' approach when managing COPD. It can go a long way - it's been said here in our community repeatedly!!

    You may be aware, too, there are lifestyles that can be followed that will actually help to slow down the progression of the disease. I thought, this article, on that very topic, might provide you with some additional insight: https://copd.net/living/progress-can-be-slowed/. I do hope you find it to be helpful to read.

    We are gratified to see that you have been a long standing, and participating member in our online community. For ease of reference, here is a link to our conversations with you over the past 3 years: https://copd.net/members/grandmalin/. Keep up the good work!!

    If there is anything we can do to assist you, please let me or any other moderator / team member know.

    Please know, you are always welcome here!

    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator COPD.net)

    1. Hi, This may not help any but I met a woman in her early 40s a while back. She was out side smoking and said she had been diagnosed 20 years earlier with copd. She was energetic and seemed in great health just looking at her. No breathing hard or anything. I was doubting her till she said she had to sleep in a certain way and a few other things that were familiar to me. Her motivation was that she couldn't let copd stop her, she had things she needed to do. I was amazed! I was only diagnosed a few short years ago and this woman was in better shape than I was. I too was thinking of a short lifespan ahead but now...I think i might be around for a little while. Or at least it seems possible now. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

      1. Hey juno1225

        I'm new to the forum myself.
        I was diagnosed after a workplace inhalation at 23. Life hasn't changed drastically except for my cardiovascular system really. All my excercise is strength and full body movements as well as HIIT -im talking 5 burpees at a time before I'm gasping. It helps me feel less panicked when I AM out of breath.

        Neets has great points especially about the breathing exercises. Try yoga why not? Biggest advice though get educated and be proactive with your doctor or therapist.

        Be up front with the people in your life too, this is an invisible illness sometimes people don't know how much it may suck.
        Cheers brother
        -Ian

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