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Poor PFT results and young. Scared of COPD.

Hi everyone,

I'm Ajeeth. I'm an international student in canada. 2020 had been downhill for my health. I started having shortness in breath and a very little cough in early February and March. But I managed it myself, thought it was temporary. But then in September it got a lot worse, for a week when I wake up in the morning, I'll immediately start coughing and then feel difficulty in breathing.

Doctors here thought it was asthma from my symptoms as it mostly came with breathing early morning cold air and seasonal. I thought so too.

Then I had to change my GP. The newer one didn't believe I could get asthma as I had a history of getting treated for TB back in India. He thought asthma would have presented itself when I had TB. Then he told me to get a PFT done here in canada. I did it December 2020 after waiting for 3 long months. I used my asthma maintenance inhalers only for a month, I was okay after that. I sometimes get little shortness in breath but nothing too serious for me to use my rescue inhaler.

My FEV1 is 56% and I am 25 and I have never smoked in my life.

Observations in my report said that my FEV1 is low and I didn't respond to the broncodilator. It said my results are consistent with COPD or Bronchiolitis. And said this can also be seen in long standing poorly controlled asthma. Clinical correlation required.

My GP wants to do the PFT again and this time he wants me on the maintenance inhaler. I'm very scared to death now. Its been a real shock to me to here about my PFT results. But my GP said he's not concerned about COPD and thinks chances of a younger person like me getting it is very very low.

I would love to hear from others who suffer from COPD if they have seen similar PFT results.

I'm worried that if I can lead a life with COPD and my life expectancy.

  1. Just posting this update on my condition if its informative for anyone.

    I have been on my symbicort for a month now and I took a PFT in pulmonary specialist office. At my first trial FEV1 was 73% but it declined rapidly in the next two trials. Post broncodilator there was a considerable change. Doctor told me that I have classic asthma and put me on symbicort 2puffs twice a day and a short course of Prednisone.

    Just an advice. If anyone is worried or anxious a lot about their breathing condition Please do reach out to a doctor or a specialist and figure out what it is.

    I hope I'll show improvements in my breathing with my treatment. Already seeing some positive changes.


    1. Thanks for the update Ajeeth!

      I am glad to hear that the specialist was able to give you a diagnosis and treatment plan that is bringing you some relief. Do keep us posted on your progress!

      Warmly, Melanie (team member)

  2. I have my next breathing test scheduled for February 1. One week from now. I'm on symbicort one puff twice a day and I feel a positive change in my breathing actually. I hope to see some positive improvements in my breathing test.

    Does anyone know if there anyway to measure FEV1 at home or assess anyway to know if my breathing has improved.

    I have placed an order to purchase this monitor that measures FEV1 and peak flow I think.

    I started blowing balloons daily. I have noticed I could blow a bigger balloon in one blow now after taking a deep breath.

    1. HI. Ajeeth . Thank you for sharing your personal experience with the community. Sorry you are having this problem with getting a proper diagnosis. COPD and asthma do sometimes mimic one another, so it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between the two. We cannot diagnose or offer medical advice over the Internet, for your own safety of course. I do have a question for you. The best way to diagnose asthma is to do a pre and post-bronchodilator FEV1. If the post FEV1 increases by greater than 15% this may indicate that you have asthma. Is this something you have discussed with your doctor? Just curious. John. Community Moderator.

      1. Thanks for your reply John.

        I was a given a Bronchodilator during my PFT but my FEV1 changes were only 3% ( 56% to 59%). Not very significant it seems.

        Observations in my results say that results are consistent with COPD or Bronchiolitis. It also said that this setup can be seen in long standing poorly controlled asthma.

        My doctor said he isn't really concerned about COPD and also I was suffering from acid reflux when I took the PFT. He said that could have also been the cause for these results. My doctor also said that its usual to for them see some abnormal results like these which cannot be reproduced. He has also requested for the testing lab hospital if they can reproduce the results. I don't know what that means.

        My doctor has referred me to a pulmonary doctor for opinion and I'm on my maintenance inhalers now. He asked to repeat a PFT again.

        Its been just 3 days of using my maintenance inhaler and I could feel a positive change in my breathing.

        I have been treated for TB before and I haven't faced any breathing difficulties like this during my Treatment or after that. I started having these episodes only after coming to canada and each time its worse than before.

        I didnt seek treatment until I felt very worse in sept 2020, when I had my worse difficulty breathing episodes. All my episodes kinda seemed seasonal.

        I kinda feel all this might be because I failed to treat my asthma long before but I don't know. I have a CT scan and a a PFT scheduled. I hope to see some better results.

        I'm so scared now. I have a lot of anxiety issues. Hope I get some answers soon.

    2. Just confused if my condition is poorly controlled asthma or COPD, any kind words would be appreciated 🥺

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