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Ask Dr. Muneeb Ali Your Own Question
Dr. Muneeb Ali
Dr. Muneeb Ali, Intensivist
Category: Cardiology
Satisfied Customers: 5621
Experience:  I am a certified critical care specialist with experience of working in cardiology for over 2 years including CCU and CSICU
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Does periodic chest congestion (mostly in high humidity)

Customer Question

Does periodic chest congestion (mostly in high humidity) automatically mean COPD. Moved and had an appt. with a new cardio. Short in time, but declared I had COPD. Neither my first cardio (who did a stent protocol in 2006) or my primary declared same. Was prescribed ventolin which I hardly ever used for seven years. At this point (again, high humidity), I still only use it on occasion--once, twice a week, if that.
JA: How long have you been dealing with the issue? In general, how has your health been lately?
Customer: My latest labs with primary (August 2016) indicate my only prob was being low on calcium. Other than the fact that I am recovering from a shattered hip procedure 10 months ago, my health is fine. My age will be 77 in December. Yes, I am a smoker. Quit in May 2015 which lasted until three months after hip surgery; couldn't cope with abject pain and learning how to be old. Grit it out generally with ibuprofen but still having prob quitting the smoky bars. Annoying as it happened to be a snap last year.
JA: OK. To minimize me, please click the down arrow at the top right corner of this box.
Customer: Is there a long wait for a response. Just making sure I'm on track with the process.
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: No, I think that's pretty much it. I'm just major chagrined with the cardio that had minimal time with me decided on COPD and I was looking for verification w/o searching for another doc right now.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Cardiology
Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 7 months ago.

Hi,

Im sorry to hear about your symptoms. Can i ask do you have any shortness of breath apart from chest congestion? Any productive cough? Have you had a chest xray done? What about spirometry? Do you have history of smoking?

Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 7 months ago.

Sorry i meant to say how long did you smoke before quitting?

Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 7 months ago.

Since you seem to be offline, ill leave a response here which we can discuss later on

Well COPD is not a diagnosis which can be made on simply periodic chest congestion. There is a criteria for the diagnosis to be made. COPD is composed of a number of diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and in addition COPD is usually a progressive disease meaning that it may get worse with time. Now if you have symptoms like productive cough for 3 consecutive months for two consecutive years then you can be labelled as a case of chronic bronchitis however even then further investigations would be necessary to label you as COPD definitively.

Usually a suspicion of COPD may be made on a clinical history and evaluation however it has to be confirmed on further testing. The first step would be a chest xray which can show signs like hyperinflated lung fields, tubular heart or flattened diaphragm. In addition in order to definitively diagnose COPD, spirometry needs to be done in every case. This would tell us what is the state of COPD and whether the patient has a obstructive lung picture on the spirometry or not. Simply stating that a person has COPD is not enough, there has to be evidence to back up that statement which has to be obtained from a full clinical examination, chest xrays, CT scan of the chest, Spirometry.

So in your case if none of these things have been done, then labelling you as COPD is premature. it is possible that the periodic chest congestion is due to another cause like allergic asthma or seasonal asthma. I would suggest a visit to a pulmonologist to determine if you have COPD or not and i think he will tell you the same thing that further tests are needed before he can label you as COPD.

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