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Shortness of breath, severe panic attacks. Chest X-ray shows inflation of lungs. Stopped smoking years ago. Fatal form of COPD?

Hi, I recently started experiencing shortness of breath accompanied by sever panic attacks. Despite the fact that the frequency of the attacks has decreased my breathing issues persist. Symptoms include feeling of being chocked, unable to draw a full breath of air, breathing has become a conscious and laboured effort. Results of my chest x-ray show an over-inflation of my lungs as I was advised by by GP today. Treatment with a respiratory specialist has been arranged but won t take place before March . I should mention that I did smoke for ten years on and off but gave up fully and successfully three years ago without ever presenting respiratory issues until November last year. After some research I came across the information that most lung inflations are associated with emphysema which will result in death. Can you let me know based on the above history how likely it is for a 28 year old female ( BMI 18.5) to have developed a fatal form of COPD? Many thanks, Katharina
Asked On : Mon, 4 Feb 2013
Answers:  2 Views:  95
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
hello katharina,
welcome to healthcaremagic
from your brief history that you have written to us, causes of hyperinflated lungs are
-emphysema or asthma
- copd due to chronic bronchitis
- asthma bronchitis
- smoking.
you have a positive history of smoking for ten years which has predisposed you to the hyperinflated lungs on chest xray, you might be having chronic bronchitis that lead to copd or emphysema.
i would suggest let the respiratory specialist have a follow up and prescribe the appriopriate treatment.
wish you all the best takecare.
Answered: Wed, 6 Feb 2013
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General & Family Physician Dr. Md. Harun Ur Rashid's  Response
Hi, Katharina. It is good to hear that you have completely stopped smoking and this will definitely brings good impact on your health.
First, I want to mention that COPD is a disease of old age usually 6th decade where the patient usually smoke lifelong. So, it is a less probability for you to suffer from COPD. The patient with COPD coughs a lot and produces sputum most of the time of the year. You didn't mention any history of cough.
Now come to the problem of breathing difficulty. Panic attack itself can cause it without any lung diseases. Other possibilities are Asthma, Bronchiectesis..etc etc. For a definitive diagnosis consult with a pulmonologist.
Emphysema is a severe form of COPD and the paient usually die from respiratory failure. Don't worry, I believe you are not suffering from fatal form of COPD. Hope, this helps. If you have any other query then don't hesitate to ask me. :)
Answered: Wed, 6 Feb 2013
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