COPD Knows No Age
Last updated: June 2023
The longer that I’ve been in this COPD world, the more opportunity I have had to talk with others that have COPD. I may have met only a few dozen or so younger people that have been diagnosed with COPD. I never kept count, yet I still chat with a few of them.
Exposures leading to COPD
One frustration that I have heard is, “I’m only 20, 30, or even 40; my doctor says that I’m too young to have COPD”. How sad that is? Their own doctor doesn’t stand by them. Thankfully, they were able to find a doctor who cared, listened, and tested accordingly. When talking with these individuals, they told me about what they had been exposed to in their lives. Most never smoked. Yet, some contracted COPD. Through discussion, I learned that most were exposed to some or all of the following potential triggers:
- Second-hand smoke
- Other environmental exposures
Can you think of any other common ones we should add to this list?
My experience with exposures
Unfortunately, I was exposed to a number of common COPD triggers as well. They include:
- Smoking was my choice, for a number of years.
- Chemicals and dust were job related.
- Sleeping and being in buildings with diesel vehicles were job related.
- Being around fires and chemicals was job related.
- I was a city girl - lived in a town of 23,000 people - yet visiting and being on the farm brought chemical exposure.
That said, I was diagnosed with COPD when I was 54 or 55. As someone who chose to smoke, my COPD sadly makes sense. As I learned more about my COPD, so do the effects of my work exposures. For a very short time I lived in an area of pollution too.
My heart goes out
My heart really goes out to the younger people with COPD. As mentioned earlier, some doctors have challenged their younger patients because they don’t fit into a particular age category. Sadly, I have seen other COPDers challenge the younger COPDers as well, on various sites. Thankfully though, not for some time. I once read about even younger people who have COPD. I don’t remember the source and haven’t talked with anyone, so this shall go no further until there is something to back it up with.
It’s up to each of us to help and support each other. That can be one on one or in a group setting, such as these sites. It could be just listening to what's being said until you are confident enough to speak out on the sites.
If you or a loved one has COPD - no matter what age or diagnosis - we are here to support and help educate you. We are not able to diagnose, your doctor would be the one to do that. However, we can, and will, be here to travel the journey alongside you. Wishing you all a breathe-easy day/night!
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