If doc says you've got "COPD" from smoking (tho quit 23 yrs ago), is that emphysema?

In case you smoke and think you're fine, hubby has been FINE. Woke with a headache, found he had a fever, and now has been diagnosed with COPD. He asked HOW? Doc said from smoking,  all that damage was hiding.

My question is, isn't that a nice way of saying emphysema? He doesn't have a history of anything chronic, not even colds. 

8 Answers

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  • 3 weeks ago

    good question. i think you're right. 

  • Edna
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)  is an "umbrella" term for a number of respiratory conditions that could be chronic bronchitis; or chronic, recurrent pneumonia; or emphysema, or (some doctors say) asthma.

  • Jason
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a catchall term for when emphysema and chronic bronchitis are found together. You can have more of a bronchitic component or more of an emphysematous component. It is less common to find emphysema alone so it is most often lumped in under "COPD", but COPD isn't strictly synonymous with emphysema. 

    Most importantly: Unless he has had a pulmonary function test, that is NOT a proper diagnosis. You cannot be said to have "chronic OBSTRUCTIVE pulmonary disease" until you have demonstrated obstruction on spirometry. Fully 30% of people with "COPD" were not diagnosed by spirometry and of that 30%, more than half did not have COPD once they did have spirometry performed. Doctors see "smoking history" and slap the diagnosis of COPD on the chart without doing the proper testing. It's bulls**t. I see it all the time in my lab. I can't count the number of people I've had come in for a test with "COPD" on their chart, we do the test, and they have no obstruction -- or worse, they have another problem entirely and they've been getting treated for "COPD" instead of what they actually have. Doctors are horsesh**t at diagnosing COPD. Drives me nuts. 

    Until your husband has a formal pulmonary function test in a proper PFT lab, that is not a diagnosis. At best, it is a presumptive diagnosis. I strongly suspect he does not have COPD at all and he definitely doesn't until he's had the right testing to prove it. 

    Best wishes.

    Source(s): Respiratory therapist (B.S., RRT, RPFT) -- I run the PFT lab at one of the largest heart hospitals in the world Working on my master's in nursing
  • 1 month ago

    COPD is progressive and can't be healed. What he has now is a souvenir from past bad habits.

    • Edna
      Lv 7
      7 days agoReport

      COPD isn't a "souvenir from past bad habits". Doctors aren't sure what causes a person to develop COPD. 

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  • Byrd
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    COPD can be emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis. You can find lots of info at a magical place called Google.

  • 1 month ago

    Copd is a general term while emphysema is more specific. It’s like the difference between green and lime. Green is just the general color while lime is more of a darker, deeper green. 

  • 1 month ago

    What your doc says is right because my wife suffers from COPD to my friend.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    COPD is a general term that includes emphysema. The COPD acronym means chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is a general term that now includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, certain types of bronchiectasis and by some doctors and researchers, asthma. Consequently, emphysema is a type of COPD.

    • Jason
      Lv 7
      4 weeks agoReport

      Bronchiectasis and asthma are not COPD. They are obstructive disorders, but they are not classified as "COPD". That is specific to emphysema and chronic bronchitis when they are found together. There are five obstructive disorders but "COPD" only includes emphysema and bronchitis. 

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