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Readers Respond: What Type of COPD Complications Have You Experienced?

Responses: 38

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Updated May 01, 2014

Complications of COPD can be serious and even life-threatening. Share your experience about what types of COPD complications you have suffered from and what consequences, if any, occurred as a result of them.

Achilles Tendon Rupture From Levaquin

I've had COPD for about 10 years but wasn't diagnosed until 3 years ago. I quit smoking, took my meds, did everything the doctor told me to do. I ended up in the hospital in October, 2011 with severe bronchitis and advanced COPD exacerbation. The discharge doctor prescribed me Levaquin which caused my Achilles tendon to rupture within 48 hours. I had surgery to repair it with the podiatrist having to use a major calf muscle for that. Rejection and severe infection followed causing me to be non-weight bearing on that foot for 4 months. COPD was hard enough to deal with, but now it's next to impossible to make it through a day. I've had to return to work, a desk job, but it still entails a lot of walking making me out of breath and my foot in great pain most of the time. Please stop smoking, eat healthy and find a really good pulmonologist to help you with this disease. It can be managed with medications and oxygen when necessary.
—Guest Virgo

Code Blue

I coded 5 times from COPD, and CHF in 2010, causing damage to my brain, I now get treated for Alzheimer's and dementia, I have seizures and many other problems. The coding was scary because each time I was on the vent and the last time I almost died completely to the point of not coming back. Since they fitted me for CPAP at night, and I sleep with it and oxygen, I have not had the problems I used to have. It works well to disburse oxygen through my body. I'm on 24 hour oxygen also. I'm in Stage IV of COPD and late stages of CHF, diabetic, mini strokes from lack of oxygen to brain, 5 chronic and 2 terminal illnesses.
—Guest Rebecca Castle

Respiratory Infection

Every year at the same time I would come down with a respiratory infection. It always occurred during the holidays. This year I was seen by an allergist who told me I not only had COPD but also respiratory infection that albuterol would not help. I've been seen by 2 different doctors who both prescribed different medications. I have lined a shelf with them to try and keep track of what to take and when. I've always been very active, quit smoking a year ago but suddenly find myself out of breath when I carry anything to the point that I must use a rescue inhaler.. Its scary for me and new. I too find that my legs hurt. Nobody will address that and I see others comment that they too have this problem. I have to look forward to the doctor visits ahead to find out what I can do. Right now, I just hope to feel better whatever it takes. I'm trying to be positive but we take a lot for granted.
—Guest gmcgahee

Exacerbation of Symptoms Once Again

My lung specialist and I decided to try the antibiotic route once again this year. I took Azithromycin for over a month and had a very good winter, exacerbation-free if that can be believed! After taking the same drug in approximately the same manner/dosage as last year, I came down with very nasty lung infection! Ugly!! Been treating me with Doxycyline with not so good results! My lung specialist phoned in a stronger antibiotic (supra?) which I shall pick up today! Almost forgot to mention that I also contracted a cold from hell 3 days ago further complicating matters! I`ll be alone once again this Christmas fighting for my life because I smoked!! Full time O2 can`t be too far away. Any smokers reading this; it`s just not worth it! You do not want this; you slowly become feeble and dependent!! I see this happening to me and I`m only 62! The price of smoking is just too dam high! You can quit....I did too late!
—Guest denis

COPD, Hypoxia, and Emphysema

My mother has found out last August that she has COPD, hypoxia, and emphysem. I have tried to talk to her about quitting but she has said something is going to kill her. I have only known her for three years. I was taken from her when I was just 6 yeas old. But she has a grandson and I have told her if she wants to see her grandson grow up she needed to make some huge changes in her life and if she wanted to see me have children . She has another daughter and he is my nephew . She has been lying to the doctor about her smoking and he keeps telling he she needs to quit she will go through 3 to 4 cartons in a month . In a day she will go through 3 packs .She is also a diabetic she is also on oxygen and their are mornings she will wake up and say she has a headache but she will take that oxygen off during the night. What really concerns me is her dad died from lung cancer and her brother died from pancreatic cancer . Cancer runs in our family. She has been smoking for 40 year or more .
—ealewis88

Pulmonary Hypertension/Heart Failure

I smoked for 35 years, until April, 2009 when I was hospitalized for edema, SOB and fatigue. The cardiologist and pulmonlogist diagnosed me with a small heart attack, CAD with a stent placed in RCA, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Type 2 Diabetes, Mild COPD, Pulmonary Hypertension, and Right Heart Failure. So don't wait to long to quit smoking or you might end up like me.
—santoy

COPD and Pneumonia

On March 01, 2011 I had double Pneumonia. I also have COPD. Well, I had an attack where I couldn't breath and told my wife to dial 911. The Paramedics arrived about 5 min later. By the time they came to my bedroom to get me, I had already passed out. When they got me to the emergency room at Sacred Heart Hospital, my right lung collapsed and stopped my heart. I was in a Coma and on life support for 8 days. After I came out of the Coma my doctor told me that they had made up their minds to remove me from live support if my lung wouldn't inflate on their last attempt. Lucky for me, it did. I was a smoker but haven't smoked since. If you smoke, stop...its not worth going through what I went through. I just turned 60 years old.
—Cariboub

Heart Disease

A few years ago was diagnosed with PAD, resulting with painful ulcers for almost 2 years. Now just edema and painful legs and feet. Last year was sent to my now cardiologist, was diagnosed with heart disease and A-fib. A couple of months ago, was sent to pulmonologist, that told me a have COPD. Looking back, with all of the past illnesses, it seems to me that they were all in correlation to each other. Even now though as I finally know what is causing the SOB and some of the dizziness and the coughing, and the so tired that I just want to go back to bed syndrome. It's just another med to have to take, in hopes that it will relieve some of these wearisome symptoms. Good luck to the rest of you. Praying they find a cure.
—susanbon

High Blood Pressure

Have had this horrible disease for 14 yrs. I am on liquid oxygen 24/7 .Have high blood pressure which started about 2 yrs ago. Yes I smoked to for a long time! Take multiple meds plus anti-depressant. I still stay depressed. Seems there is nothing else to help. You feel like you are just waiting to die. Have had many episodes in the hospital. Prednisone and antibiotics or IV steroids, which are worse than the COPD! Please people don't smoke!!!! This is a living hell....
—GuessDiane

Pain in my Legs

I have COPD, Type II diabetic, chronic back problems of which I have been fused from L2 to S1 and no longer can walk. I have been in a wheel chair for the past 3 years. I have neuropathy in both legs and feet due to the TYPE II Diabetes. The only thing that helps the pain is my doctor gave me a pain medicine called "OPANA". It works in stopping the pain in my legs and feet as long as I am laying down after I take it. If I get up the pain will return even if I take the OPANA. However the relief I get when laying down is well worth taking the medication. You might have your doctor check you blood sugar and also check and see if you have neuropathy in your legs and feet. Hope this helps.
—Guest Bill

COPD Exacerbation

I was diagnosed with COPD about 11 years ago. It's the number 3 loss of life in the US today. I am really having a hard time with it also. Just spent 6 hours in the ER with an exacerbation from hell. My back is so sore from coughing that I just can't anymore. Maybe death would be better than this. The pain is so god awful. I know one thing, I can't take much more.
—Guest bkndhrtd

Smoke From Forest Fire

I have had COPD for twelve years and seemed to be getting along pretty well until we had a huge forest fire and lots of smoke for several months four years ago. I stayed in all summer and got very little exercise. Since then I have been on oxygen 24/7 and am SOB all the time. Now I have developed a dry cough and it has become a worry. It seems the smallest thing has become stressful and depressing. I am on an antidepressent and 3 inhalation meds along with the Albuterol and oxygen. I also have type 2 diabetes. I am always working on a diet. Hoping for a better day.
—Guest markej

Tired of not getting better

I have had a persistent cough, tightness in chest, shortness of breath, pain in my left rib that takes my breath, fatigue and just received a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The Dr. sent me for a sleep study. I have a PH Bravo test next week. I have had ekg, echo cardiogram, stress test, my heart is fine. First Dr. said I had a cracked rib. That was 8 months ago. Rib is no better, cough is worse to the point I have been sick since Christmas Eve. I am tired of not getting any answers. The second Dr. decided that I have chronic bronchitis, I am now on my 3rd antibiotic. Nothing is helping. My husband keeps wanting me to go to the emergency room, but the last time I went there they admitted me and did the heart tests and sent me home the next day, without checking on the rib pain. My fear is that I will go back to work in a week and still not be able to get through the day without driving everyone crazy with my horrible cough. I work long hours and just collapse when I get home.
—Guest JoyceP54

Living With COPD

I've read all these letters & the only thing I do not understand is all the suffering, I have COPD & am on oxygen 24/7 & really get along quite well with it. I can't play basketball mind you, but I do my housework & tend to my personal needs. I do not understand why some of you suffer so. I don't cough except when the mucus hits my throat & then it's one little cough & it's over. I hope you all find comfort but might suggest you go to a different doctor like I did Cheers♫♫
—Guest Dixie

Edema and More

I have COPD for at least 12 years, but diagnosed about 5 years ago. No treatment suggested by any of five doctors/physician. I smoked heavily for 50 years, stopping a few times for brief periods, once for a year on gum. Treat myself with bronchodilators. Stopped smoking six months ago (on gum). Discovered deep breathing, really emptying lungs till I can't feel breath on back of my hand, and breathing in fully. This helped. Cough and phlegm all gone after two months not smoking. Shortness of breath sometimes bad mostly I can manage to go shopping, walk 100 yards. But, other odd things: swelling of both legs, especially on m feet, but this slightly less since stopping smoking (on occasions had to struggle to get my shoes on); over last four years my skin has become very dry, thin and flaky, when it used to be very oily. Many a-night I have pai hich develops wherever my legs/feet rest (I now use cushions for them). Restless Limb Syndrome began about ten years back and is still intermittent
—EastwoodA

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