Patient Comments: Emphysema - Symptoms


What symptoms did you experience with emphysema? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Tonette, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: June 12

I am a 77 year old female recently diagnosed with advanced emphysema. I smoked from the age of 15 to age 50, so that adds up to 27 years of not smoking and not being subjected to cigarette smoke. My parents both smoked throughout my childhood, so that doubles my years of inhaling cigarette smoke in one form or another. I had seen a cardiologist two years ago, and was tested in every way one can be tested, and came out with a clean slate. I am nebulizing and inhaling medications, and I feel just fine. I am not short of breath and was not short of breath prior to the diagnosis; that is, until I woke up one morning and could not inhale. I ended up in the emergency room, and from there, the diagnosis. My pulmonologist says I am in an advanced stage which is evident when considering the testing that has been done. Please, if you smoke, stop. I cannot emphasize that enough! I did quit, but not soon enough.

Comment from: oldbrd42, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 10

I have had bronchitis, coughing, a touch of asthma, wheezing, and pneumonia 3 times. I have never smoked, not 1 cigarette. I was diagnosed with emphysema from a chest x-ray last week. What stage the emphysema is can be seen from the x-ray.

Comment from: JACKSON, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

Last December I was told I had mild emphysema. I was shocked, I had only had minor breathing problems at times. However I had smoked for 17 years when I was very young and had quit over 38 years ago, when I developed asthma. I always heard your lungs were cleared 5 years after you quit smoking, but they don't tell you the damage is already done! Mild is not mild, I am on oxygen all the time.

Comment from: Maria, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 05

I was floored today, to be told I have emphysema; I have never been a smoker! I am 59, have had bouts with bronchitis all my life, and the cough that lasted several months was what pressed the doctor to do the x-ray. I don't know where to go from here; guess I need to see my primary care physician to find out for sure, because I just cannot believe this diagnosis! I have moments of lightheadedness once in a while, and my hands tend to go to sleep, even as I sleep. I wonder if these things could be caused by emphysema.

Comment from: Ninka, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 05

I am 69 years old, and was hospitalized this past January because of severe shortness of breath. I was diagnosed with an Exacerbation of COPD. Surprise, surprise. It took 6 days of nebulizer treatments, and lots of meds and inhalers, oxygen, etc. for me to be able to catch my breath. I quit smoking the day I went to the hospital, and have not picked up a cigarette since. I had a close call, and decided that there wasn't a cigarette in the world that was worth more than my life to me. Now I am left with lung damage which is permanent, and have a hard time breathing especially at night. My future doesn't look very bright anymore. Please, if you smoke, do anything you can to quit before it's too late. And if you don't smoke, please don't ever start. I wish I had listened when they told me to stop. It's too late for me, but may not be for you.

Comment from: Mouse, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: March 04

I lost my husband to an easily preventable cancer 6 years ago and now my 2nd husband has early emphysema. He"s said for years he"ll probably die of it because his mom has it, but did he quit smoking? No! Now I"m scared that once again I"m going to be watching a beloved husband die a slow and agonizing death. My husband smoked 35 years or more and lost most of his teeth due to the damage it causes and looks 20 years older than he is. He"s always been mistaken for a man in his 80s since he was in his mid-50s (he’s 61 now). He coughs a lot and wheezes during lovemaking. He"s also stressing a lot watching his mom suffer through the final stages of emphysema. When he was first diagnosed, I sent away for a refillable e-cigarette for him to try and wean off cigarettes (going from full nicotine down to water vapor). It worked, thank goodness. But now I constantly worry - what is "early" emphysema; does it always progress (his doctor said he won"t, but I don"t know if I believe him). I"m scared of losing him and need to know what his and our future is! I"m also angry because everyone knows the risks and still they smoke! My sister-in-law is also in the last stages and I remember her very angrily saying she refused to quit. Now it"s too late for both her and my mother-in-law.

Comment from: [email protected], 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 01

At age 60 I was diagnosed with advanced emphysema. I smoked on and off for 40 years. I led a rich and active life and never thought I would have any kind of lung disease. I was in total denial. Now at 62 I recently stopped smoking cold turkey. I spent a year playing games with the patch. I have never tried any medication to help my emphysema. I need to find a good pulmonologist to honestly help me deal. I have been losing weight, muscle tone, and always feel exhausted. Everything "hurts." I also have advanced Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that attacks connective tissue. And the kicker is I miss my cigarettes. What a horrible addiction!

Comment from: Pan, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 20

I am 43 years of age and have been through a very traumatic few years. I was suffering shortness of breath particularly at night. I asked the doctor for a chest x-ray thinking it could be anxiety. I was diagnosed with emphysema only three days ago. I have two daughters and recently separated from my husband. I need to give up smoking. Time to meet the challenge. I hope I can.


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Comment from: CryBabyLana, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 28

I have been dealing with this STUFF since 1977, when I had my first spontaneous pnemothorax - collapsed lung- since then I have had 3 lung surgeries and lost count after the 15th chest tube-I use all my calories to be able to breathe. I was labeled with Bullomous Emphysema, COPD with Chronic Bronchitis and Pneumonia, they also threw in something about fatigue and depression. I am no better now than I was at 21. The doctors can’t tell me what caused me to get this STUFF, except that I am slender, small frame and had bronchitis, colds, pneumonia, the usual kid stuff-growing up. I need a good Doctor in the Arlington, TX area.

Comment from: Lisa, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

I first noticed a rapid heartbeat during any kind of movement, not even exerting myself. I had shortness of breath, a change in my voice, along with having difficulty talking for more than a few moments. Also, I am very pale.

Comment from: minimary, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I was just told yesterday I have emphysema. I was a light smoker and quit 28 years ago. Guess it doesn't matter – I still smoked one too many. I have known for a couple of years something was wrong, but finally addressed it with my doctor about a month ago. Now that I am aware of my problem, I can only follow my doctor’s advice and take care of myself the very best I can.

Comment from: celt5678, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 17

I am 57 and was just diagnosed with emphysema. I felt like I was short of breath in February and got a horrible cough. Doctors took X-rays and gave me multiple regimens of anti-biotics. Nothing helped. I had smoked for 44 years. I stopped smoking in my car and went from a pack a day to four cigarettes a day. At the end of July I stopped. Now I get the diagnosis, and was finally was sent to a lung specialist. He saw it right away in my x-ray. Well now it starts

Comment from: Sandy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 06

I am 46 and was recently diagnosed with COPD and Emphysema. I smoked for 32 years and quit immediatly upon my diagnosis with the help of Chantix. I still struggle at times with not smoking but it is no longer an option. I often hear how young I am to have this diagnosis. I feel foolish as I am a nurse of 23 years and knew better. I try to maintain a serious exercise regimen however I am finding the SOB limiting. I worry about the quality of life I will ultimately have eventually burdening my children with my care.

Comment from: croozter, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 13

how does humidity react to emphysema?

Comment from: worried wife, 25-34 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 13

my husband is 30 years old went to hospital with shortness of breath and painful to breathe. Afterwards we found out his lung collapsed, then needed a CT scan, then he had blisters on his lung that needed scraping to being diagnosed with emphysema. All in the past 3 weeks.

Comment from: 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 02

I have been diagnosed with moderate emphysema. My symptoms included shortness of breath, dizziness, lack of oxygen to all body parts, numbness of fingers, no energy, no appetite, fatigue, and bloodshot eyes. I’m living in a place that has mold and mildew in the air conditioning unit. I also smoked a pack a day for 20 years.

Comment from: syndie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 09

I am a 55 year old lady and recently found out I had emphysema. I have been trying the lozenge revive and it works, as long as you remember to take it instead of a cigarette. I feel like I am choking all the time. Since 2003 found out I have a heart condition, along with high/low blood pressure. Then I get told I have colitis/ischemic colitis. Too many diseases I am fighting. Anyone have some clue to helping.

Comment from: hrehr, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 29

My brother was diagnosed with emphysema, and all I read about is how smoking causes emphysema. MY brother never smoked, but he is an industrial plumber. He has been doing it for over twenty years and the doctor told him that it was cause from his work. I would like to know more about the other toxins that can cause emphysema.

Comment from: lynn054, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

I found out this January that I have a mild case of emphysema. My doctor said it won’t get worse as long as I quit smoking which I did. It’s now been 4 months that I quit and I feel great even thou I have trouble breathing sometimes and none of the inhalers work. It changes my voice and its annoying but at least it won’t get worse I hope. I quit due to I want to see my grandkids around me and now I have a new one going to be born in January.


COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the same as adult-onset asthma. See Answer
Comment from: chuck2737, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 17

With emphysema I've experienced weight loss, shortness of breath, cough due to sinus infections, and a lowered immune system.

Comment from: kitcat, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I was diagnosed with severe pulmonary obstruction. I have been on oxygen now two years. I was told I am stage 4 emphysema. I am only 52 years old. I have had 2 major strokes. I smoke and I just can't seem to quit or want to. I am tired ALL the time now. Breathing is getting hard to do. I am scared.


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