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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Need help and info on chronic obstructive lung disease
Date: 16 Mar 1999 05:42:53 GMT

In <36ed57d0.3600781@news> (John Silverman) writes:

>Hello.  My father has had severe coughing for several months now, and
>after visiting a couple of doctors we found out he has what's called
>chronic obstructive lung disease (I hope this is the correct technical
>term).  I just  talked to one of the doctors my father visited and he
>told me that the coughing is due to scarring of the bronchial tubes
>caused by previous infection (pneumonia).  The doctor prescribed
>Combivent (an inhalation aerosol) for a month (two puffs every 4 hrs).
>Here's some info on my father.  He's 79 and has never smoked during
>his life.  He was in the Middle East about three years ago for a
>couple of months and cought bronchitis there.  He took antibiotics and
>recovered from the infection.   About six or seven months ago he
>started coughing badly (with a lot of phlegm coming up) and had
>trouble breathing.
>My question is, is this disease permanent, and will the Combivent drug
>cure him?  Also, why did this coughing start six months ago and not
>right after he caught bronchitis?  (I'm not even sure if there is a
>causal connection between the two.)  Also, when he takes the Combivent
>drug he experiences difficulty breathing for about an hour or two
>right after.  The doctor told me he should reduce the intake to one
>puff per hour (instead of two).  Is this drug dangerous and could it
>make his condition worse?
>I'm really nervous about my father's condition and would appreciate
>any help or advice.   I just hope it's not life threatening.
>Thank you very much.

   Chronic bronchitis in nonsmokers (one form of COPD) is caused by all
kinds of things, but a major one in the elderly is chronic aspiration
(little amounts of acid regurgiated in the night and breathed).
Sometimes by the time it's found it's too late to do anything about it.
 However, your dad needs to undergo approprate tests to see that this
isn't the underlying cause of the damage, since there is much to be
done to make sure it at least doesn't continue.

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