Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Emphysema

08/18/2008

Question:

My wife is 65 and smoked for 20 years but stopped 25 years ago.Recently she was diagnosed with "mild Emphysema".We have consulted a pulmonologist and cardiologist. Her heart is very strong per cardiologist. We exercise by walking and at the gym . She is approx. 20 ponds overweight(5`9"). We have , untill this diagnosis, hiked at 8000` to 10,000`with no obvious symtoms untill last year when she experienced chest pains at night(8000`) while trying to sleep which started us down the diagnostic trail.We have been advised not to let her O2 level get below 90 and therefore not go above 5000`. We just got back from a visit to Lake Louise Canada and stayed at a hotel at 5600`. She seem to be ok and her O2 levels were approx. 92/93 during the day while active and approx.88 at night while sleeping( first night dipped to 85 but recovered back to 88 within a few hours) and was 93 most mornings when we awakened. Question: Given the above what are the issues with altitude? What are the potential problems with her O2 at various levels(ie 85 t0 90). Are we playing with fire? Should she work to reduce her weight?Is vigorous exercise beneficial long term?

Answer:

If your wife has no cardiac disease, her oxygen levels dropping to the 85-90% would not to be "playing with fire". Losing some weight may actually improve her oxygen levels at night. Exercise is also beneficial.

For more information:

Go to the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Gretchen   Whitby, APRN Gretchen Whitby, APRN
Nurse Practitioner of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University

Phillip T Diaz, MD Phillip T Diaz, MD
Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University