Hey Everybody! Sorry to get technical but I worry sometimes that what happened to me could happen to you guys and if it could be prevented it's worth it! Anybody that has a history of smoking should be aware of a test called spirometry. I never heard of this thing till I was ALREADY diagnosed with COPD! But half of people with COPD have not yet been diagnosed and like all chronic diseases early diagnosis is critical to positive outcomes! Well, here goes;
If you have a chronic productive cough ( with sputum anything but clear), shortness of breath, wheezing, and/or smoker's raspy voice, especially AFTER you quit smoking, then you should ask your doctor to give you a spirometry test! My doctor KNEW I had constant coughing for years and still never suggested I take the test - I had to tell him that I wanted it!(found out about the test on the internet!) That's because my lungs were overinflated. If you ever hear a doctor say that your lungs are overinflated they mean you have emphysema and you darn well better get a spirometry test! It's best for anybody who's cough doesn't clear up after 6 weeks quit to get this test! Most likely your doctor has this machine in his office and can do the test that very day and the results are instant. It doesn't cost much to take the test either and it will tell you if you are inhaling and most important exhaling properly! You just breathe as hard and fast into a tube as you can and the machine measures the air that comes out and compares it with what can be expected for your height, weight, and age. So if you are even a little suspicious that something just isn't right - Ask your doctor if you can take this test! You want to know as soon as possible if everything's fine or not! O.K. done preaching but I do wonder why doctors don't think to give this test more often when they know their patients smoke or smoked. Any ideas on this one, medical people out there?