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Dr. Phil, MD
Dr. Phil, MD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 58383
Experience:  GP in the United States
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I am concerned about my mothers health and no one in the family

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I am concerned about my mother's health and no one in the family can get her to share what is going on, which is of course her choice. Her GP also gives cause for concern as he seems very casual, but this may of course just be how she reports the exchanges. She recently had what she describes as a 'very bad cold' for which she was prescribed eight steroid tablets in one dose per day and a 'different' inhaler (she uses a bronchodilator as a matter of course). It sounds like a 'diagnosis' of COPD to me, as I have never heard of anyone being given a large dose of steroid like that for a cold. I will probably be unable to discuss it with her as she is becoming very difficult, suspicious and argumentative although not forgetful in every day things. I am not asking for an answer to this perennial problem of an aging parent, but wondered if you could tell me whether you think my thoughts on COPD are likely to be right - I can then tip off my aunt, who lives nearer to my mother than I do and sees her more often, to watch out for exacerbations and perhaps accompany her to the doctor to find out more, primed with the right questions to ask. My mother has never smoked but has lived all her life with 40+ a day smokers who smoked in the house.
Hello. I'm Dr. Phil, licensed and practicing internist. Excellent service is my goal.

Thanks for this question

I'm sorry about your mom

I think you are definitely right on with the COPD thoughts. And if she has a history of smoking or second hand exposure then this lends even more creedence to the theory.

Generally large doses of steroids are used for inflammation. Sometimes if someone has reactive airway disease that lasts for a long time then steroids can be used but not too frequently.

I would strongly recommend PFTs or pulmonary function tests when she is at her baseline. This will give an official diagnosis of COPD and can quantify mild, moderate or severe.

Sounds like you are right on the money though

I hope this helps.

If you have more questions, just reply. :)
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX very helpful because now I can give my aunt the tools she needs to keep a bit more of a close watching brief. These episodes have been going on for quite some years and my mother always has an excuse - she has been in the garden, dusting, that kind of thing but of course with the UK weather just now (you may have seen news of our flooding) going out has not been an option. She has extremely high BP, takes in less than a pint of fluids a day and is generally very unwell as well as showing personality changes so perhaps the COPD is the least of her worries, but it is nevertheless the one which is giving the current high level of concern to the family. Unfortunately I live a long way away and can't go and stay with her long term, so I need to get some kind of regime in place long distance.

You're very welcome on this. :)

I'm very sorry she is having such difficulty

The steroids can sometimes cause mental status changes too but in COPD lack of oxygen can do it frequently.

I hope my information is helpful

Please don't forget a positive rating for me.

I hope this helps.

If you have more questions, just reply. :)
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