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Nurse Practitioner said I'm "too young" to have COPD

I'm 42 and recently took a PFT and the FEV1/FVC was 0.69, non-reversible. I also took a bronchial challenge that may indicate I have some amount of asthma.

The nurse practitioner that I saw at the pulmonologist then said that he was certain I don't have COPD. My FVC was 110%, FEV1 96%, RV 127%, DLCO 90%. But doesn't non-reversible, sub-0.7 always mean COPD?

I have ~10 pack years of cigarettes, and probably close to 10 "joint years" of heavy cannabis consumption (just quit about 3 weeks ago).

I'm going to get a second opinion, but it's going to take a few months to get in. Am I freaking out over nothing?

  1. Hi . Congratulations on quitting! You have my respect. You are definitley not too young for COPD. Here is an article that addresses that very question: The fact that your doctor believes you are too young for COPD would be enough for me to seek out a second opinion. So, I am glad you planning to do that. When you make the appointment, you can ask to be put on the cancellation list. That might get you in sooner.
    We are not medical experts, so we can't really interpret your results. However, I can tell you that COPD is just one potential cause of an abnormal result. You would need further testing for an accurate diagnosis. You also noted that you only quit smoking cannabis a few weeks ago and had been a heavy smoker. From what I understand, your FEV1/FVC can improve over the next few months as your lungs recover. So the wait for a new appointment might not be a bad thing.
    If you do feel that something has changed and it makes you nervous or makes you feel unsafe, it would be wise to either call your doctor or go to the ER. Know that we are here for you and please keep us posted, if you don't mind. I will be thinking of you. Best wishes. - Lori (Team Member)

    1. Hi. Welcome to our community. I would like to add to what Lori said above. For reference, we do have an article that goes over the values obtained from a PFT and what they mean. I will attach that post here. ( I think this will help you better understand these results and what your nurse practitioner is basing her decision on.

      Additionally, understanding the significance of the DLCO in your results is important. We have a dedicated article on DLCO and its implications, which you may find helpful: (

      I would also like to address your question about reversibility. It's important to note that non-reversible pulmonary function test (PFT) results can also occur in individuals with normal lung function. Therefore, when interpreting your results, your NP or doctor will consider all your PFT results along with your personal history to determine if you have COPD or not. If you are curious to learn more about "what reversibility means" I will refer you to this post ( from our sister site.

      I hope these resources and brief response assist you in interpreting and understanding your test findings and empower you to engage in informed discussions with your NP or any future doctor you might encounter. What do you think? John. community moderator.

      1. Thanks, and ! This information is extremely useful

        I've been dealing with some mystery symptoms for the past 1.5 years that have been causing me a lot of difficulty in my daily life, especially around breathing. I think I may have latched on to COPD as an explanation, especially given my history of smoking. However, I think the problem is actually in my nasal passage (though unified airway disease is something I am concerned about). At any rate, regardless of whether I have mild COPD, asthma, both, or neither, the only thing I'm going to put in my lungs from here on out is fresh air.

        Thanks again, your responses helped me to calm down.

        1. Good morning You are welcome. I am glad we could offer some helpful insights. That's precisely what our community is here for. Additionally, congratulations are in order for quitting smoking. It's a significant accomplishment, and you should be proud of yourself for taking this important step towards better health. It's encouraging to see you making proactive choices, not only by quitting smoking but also by actively engaging with healthcare professionals to understand your symptoms. At just 42 years young, you're demonstrating a commendable commitment to your well-being. Would you be able to give us an update on what you learn? Wishing you all the best. John. community moderator.

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