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Breathing Issues and Frequent Illness in Childhood and Young Adulthood

Did you have breathing issues when you were young? I sure did.

I remember having colds, bronchitis, and the flu all the time. My sister and I seemed to be the ones that were more sick than the rest of our family.

Allergies and sinus infections

It never failed. Every spring and fall, I had allergies that turned into sinus infections. Even if I didn’t know the time of year it was, I could tell by those darn infections.

Those sinus infections are awful. I have a picture of myself that I took a few tears ago when I had one. I needed a big laugh, and that picture did the trick.

My eyes are red, droopy, and watery. I have my nasal cannula in, but I have Kleenex shoved in one of my nostrils because it ran nonstop.

The night before, both nostrils were running like a faucet. I had to put on a face mask cannula to put the Kleenex on both sides. If I remember correctly, I went through two boxes of Kleenex and had to use a roll of toilet paper.

Relief from sinus infections and improved respiratory health

That has happened so often over the years that I can’t even count how many. I will say, though, that I haven’t had one since I started using the 7% sodium chloride nebulizer treatments, and I hope it stays that way.

Those treatments help to get that phlegm out before it can cause infections. It sure helps to get all of that gunk out.

Have any of you used this and found it helpful? It also helps keep those lung infectious away as well.

One of the other problems I had during my school years was running in P.E. class. I never could run far or for very long periods.

I would always get so short of breath and have rib cramping. I know now why that is, but I had no idea what it was when I was younger.

I think some of my teachers just thought I was lazy, but that just wasn’t the case.

Uncovering a genetic connection

Later, in my twenties, I worked as a CNA, and I started getting short of breath while doing my work duties. Turning patients in bed, changing the bed linens, and many other things.

Little did I know that I had a rare genetic liver disorder called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency that can cause lung and/or liver problems.

In the COPD world, many call it genetic COPD. That is why my sister and I have had so many problems over the years.

I got both bad genes from my parents, but thankfully my sister only got one. She is considered a carrier, although carriers of Alpha-1 can still have problems (not always, but they still can), unlike other genetic diseases, which might carry on the gene.

She still gets sicker than others, has had pneumonia many times over the years, and has even had seizures from high temperatures, but as far as she knows right now, she does not have COPD.

I do wish that she would get a lung function test, though. I have read that most who find out about their COPD are usually at 50% lung function by the time someone diagnoses them, so who knows?

So, how about you? Did you have early-onset of breathing problems?

Maybe you should be tested for Alpha-1 if so. For free testing or more information on Alpha-1, you can visit the Alpha-1 Foundation website. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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