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Skiing with COPD


jetpilotg4
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how is skiing related to COPD?

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About Horton

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@UWSkier Thanks, I had brought this up mid summer really before understanding what was going on with me, and after 7 months of seeing pulmonologists, cardiologists, and a handful of other specialists I still don’t know completely what’s going on. However most of the bad diagnoses are off the table, thankfully, but I’m not much better than I was in August. What’s still on the table is COPD and The possibility of a paralyzed diaphragm.

 

@Horton my symptoms were and still are shortness of breath when exerting myself, and difficulty breathing while in water up to my chest.

 

Just reaching out to fellow skiers who may have faced similar symptoms in their pasts while skiing or otherwise. The only people who understand our universe and how it revolves around 6 red buoys are the folks right here.

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@jetpilotg4 are your symptoms only present while skiing? Or is it any exercise based exertion? While I can’t speak for skiing with COPD I do have Cystic Fibrosis and my lung function is in the low 40’s. I am huffing and puffing and coughing quite a bit at the end of each pass, however, I know that skiing is great for my lungs. The skiing helps to open them up, and allows me to take deeper breaths. I would say that continuing to ski won’t hurt you but can only help you.
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@jetpilotg4, I do not have the sort of problems that you are experiencing and I am not medically qualified to give any advice, however being stubborn and not willing to give in, I personally would take the same approach that I have taken before regarding injuries where I have been told to stop skiing, slowly try to re-train your body start with small excersions until it becomes more comfortable, even stand in the cold water for small periods of time, try to control the breathing.

I maybe talking out of my backend, but trying to do something is better than doing nothing especially if heart problems etc have been ruled out, anxiety, stress and various other things can cause all sorts of issues.

I wish you the very best and truly hope you can find away around this problem.

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I’m only about 2% familiar with COPD however from the little bit I do know is the similarities the symptoms share with Cystic Fibrosis. Like Kimberly said, with CF that coughing and huff/puff is good and encouraged. The pulmonologist really encourage saltwater activities and environment, maybe ski in saltwater (gasp!).
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If they think it's COPD, then treat it as same and see how you feel. Get on a good daily maintenance inhaler such as advair (there are many similar inhalers, tho all are pricey--see which covered best by insurance), then also a rescue inhaler to use as needed.

 

You may find using the rescue inhaler (usually an albuterol variant) BEFORE you ski allows you to ski with less shortness of breath. We use this strategy with our exercise induced asthma patients...use the albuterol inhaler before practice and play rather than waiting for the known shortness of breath to occur.

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I have been diagnosed with COPD. Never been a smoker. They say my COPD was brought on by years of poorly controlled asthma. There are times (usually cold water/wet suit combination) that I really have difficulty getting enough air in. As @6balls says use a bronchodilator inhaler prior to skiing. Has your Pulmonologist prescribed any maintenance medications? My best results have come with using Breo and Incruse. Quite costly however. Good luck. Difficulty breathing is is hard and few people realize how tough it is.

Diagnosis should be relatively easy if you have a good Pulmonologist. A breathing test performed before and after administration of a bronchodilator should eliminate the question of a diaphragm problem.

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