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My fiancé is a 31, physically healthy, active, 3x war vet with ptsd and tbi. They sent him to a specialty tbi clinic yesterday. His family has a healthy background from what I know. They live long lives. We were planning to have more children...is all this gone now?

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I worked with a woman whose father and mother married very late in her father's life. Many of her relatives were scandalized that this "old man" would start a second family so late. "That poor baby will wind up with only one parent at her graduation." And they were right. Her young mother died of cancer while my friend was still in high school. Her father went to her high school and college graduations as a single parent -- and was himself taking a few college classes in his mid-nineties.

None of us ever have guarantees. It is wise to consider the odds and try to predict most likely outcomes, but, really, when all is said and done, there is an element of risk in every marriage, and in every family.
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First and foremost, since you say your fiancé “may” have COPD, you need to find out if he actually does, and exactly what kind, what is causing it, before you make yourself nuts with worry. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult. And those lung diseases are usually separated into two groups; Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis (each of which can be caused by many things from smoking to air pollution and other causes). Neither are curable, but while people with Chronic Bronchitis don’t always die from it, people with Emphysema usually do live a shortened life span with lessened quality of life, end up dying from emphysema (or complications caused by it).

That does not mean Chronic Bronchitis can NOT kill you, because it can. What it means is, if Chronic Bronchitis is managed properly and if the patient is otherwise healthy (no other health issues), lives a healthy lifestyle (does not smoke and eats healthy foods, for example), and lives in a healthy environment (little to no air pollution, for example), they can sometimes live long enough to end up dying from something else (getting hit by a car, unrelated cancers or stroke, or anything else that often kills relatively healthy people every day), they can live relatively well, with not too much loss in quality of life, into their 80s or 90s in some cases.

But emphysema, no matter how well it is managed, almost always ends up being the cause of death for the patient (or they die from complications from emphysema such as the flu or heart disease) and severity of the disease as well as quality of life always decreases with each year. For example, a person with emphysema can easily die from getting the flu, especially if they’ve had emphysema for a long time, because emphysema always gets worse over time, causing lungs to be more damaged and the damage can NOT be repaired.

Depending on what caused the emphysema and when it first caused symptoms will help doctors determine how long a patient may live, but since most people get emphysema before they’re 50 – 55 years old, most die within 5-10 years of the first signs of the disease. And, as I mentioned, most people with emphysema have a lesser quality of life over time (lack of energy and strength, unable to breath w/o medications, need to breath with the aid of apparatus or through a breathing tube/mask that supplies concentrated oxygen). People with emphysema usually have a significant loss of strength and ability to breath each year and that process can be sped up by just about anything that causes problems with the lungs or heart, or by living an unhealthy lifestyle, or by living in an unhealthy environment, not taking meds, etc.

My mother lived to 79 with emphysema. She passed a few weeks ago. She was diagnosed with emphysema about 18 years ago, and it got progressively worse every year. She lived a lot longer than her doctor’s expected, but her quality of life was greatly reduced with each year, and especially in the last 4 years of her life. There was a sudden change in her ability to breath and do things about 12-18 months ago, and that's when she knew her time was very limited. During her last year she barely had enough energy to change her clothes. Others with emphysema may live only 5 years after the first signs, others may live 25 years – it all depends on your overall health, your lifestyle, your environment, the initial cause of the disease, and how it’s managed/treated, plus maybe even your dna and family history may play a part. But yes, unfortunately, I’m sorry to have to say, emphysema (one type of COPD) is considered to be a “fatal” disease.

This link to the Mayo Clinic will lead you to some very easy to understand information about COPD. Follow links for more information about each type of COPD, causes, diagnosis, treatment, etc. But please, before you get yourself overly upset over something that is a “maybe”, please ask your fiancé to get a final diagnosis ASAP and ask him to let his doctor talk to you in detail about his condition and treatment.... I wish you good luck and happiness.

mayoclinic/diseases-conditions/copd/basics/definition/con-20032017

PS) Something you may not want to think of, but maybe you should, is life insurance. I would get life insurance for him BEFORE he is officially diagnosed. This may or may not be helpful in how or if they will pay if he dies from COPD complications, but if you have a family it’s something you should consider ASAP.
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I know it's scary. Many people lead full, long lives with COPD. Find out more about what the cause of the COPD is, what treatment options are available. He may not have severe symptoms for many years yet so don't jump the gun. He's young and being active can help him to stay strong. Good luck.
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I am 91 years old and diagnosed with COPD a couple of years ago. A recent test showed that my condition has improved a bit. I also have congestive heart failure and am diabetic, controlled by diet, but am still mobile and enjoying life so all is not lost because of your diagnosis. Do all that your doc recommends, including religiously taking your meds, and look hopefully ahead. Smoking was my downfall and I gave those cancer sticks up over 40 years ago but still not before damage had been done.
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Here is some info that may be helpful realnatural/doctor-says-that-magnesium-helps-prevent-influenza-copd-and-improves-sleep/ Second opinions are often helpful and suggestion to see a pulmonary specialist seem very wise. Do not be discouraged!
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As a retired RN who has this condition in family members, I recommend getting him under the care of a pulmonary specialist right away. These doctors are experts at treating lung conditions and know all the latest and best meds. My husband goes to one, and before every visit, he gets some type of pulmonary function test that prints out a report for the doctor, and a chest xray. The doctor has recommend specific meds/inhalers etc for him that have helped tremendously. And, of course, you would then be getting an accurate diagnosis as to whether or not this WAS COPD. And, I would say, if there's any chance that at his young age, whatever the lung problem is, if it's related to damage in the military, then he would be able to look into VA benefits for it, or if related to some other work since then, he might be eligible to take part in a law suit, or be eligible for disability as a result. Therefore, a totally accurate diagnosis and history taking as to 'cause' would be helpful at his young age. But as an RN, I agree with everyone else here....COPD, if this is the accurate diagnosis, at his young age, is fully manageable, provided he doesn't smoke or do further damage to his lungs, and is under good care for it. No reason to be scared of outcomes...but reason to move forward to get a 'for sure' diagnosis and get under care of a specialist for his lungs.
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My dad who is now 85 was diagnosed with asthma in his 50 and Copd in his 60. He uses a nebulizer 4x daily for the asthma and sleeps with a cpap machine at night. After you get a second opinion, educate yourself about his diagnosis, talk to his doctors, etc. I don't think it is as bad to manage and treat as you believe. Good luck
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My mother is almost 82 and lives with COPD. She smoked 42 years, 2 pks a day. She quit immediately when diagnosed. She was diagnosed almost 25 years ago. She's only been using oxygen heavily for the past 2-3 years. Mom worked up until she was 78 years old, not by choice. The point is, with proper diagnosis and maintenance he can live to see newborns graduate college! Do not consider life over because of the diagnosis.
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I did not mean to imply that COPD is not a chronic, debilitating disease, only that it is manageable, especially in it's earlier stages. IF the posters husband has COPD he should still have many years left to him, and that alone should not prevent him from being a good father. It is the combination of the COPD and his other problems that concerns me, and why I tried to advise the poster educate herself and consider all possibilities.
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First job have that diagnosis reconfirmed. I
I have never smoked but a recent CT scan noted changes in my lungs "suggestive' of COPD. Note you said "probably" has COPD. Did he have exposure to any nasty chemicals while in the militarty? He is very young for the diagnosis but I personally would be more concerned about his other medical problems before adding to the family. medicine and treatments advance all the time so he could be able to look forward to many years. however COPD does eventually advance and it will be an increasing burden to care for him for many years ahead so adding to your family may not be the best for you or your children, present or future.
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I hate to burst your happy bubble, but COPD is a chronic, progressive disease which gets worse over time and eventually leads to death. Of course, the symptoms are manageable and can be treated but there is no cure. My father-in-law had COPD and lived for a good 15 years with the condition from his mid-50's to his early 70's. My mother is now 87 and also has it in addition to the dementia and congestive heart failure. I don't think she will die of the COPD even though she refuses her inhalers to treat it. I think in her case with her diabetes she is more apt to go from a heart attack or stroke. (She has had mini-strokes or TIA's previously according to doc). There are two types of COPD - COPD with emphysema and COPD with chronic bronchitis. COPD is almost always caused by smoking, btw, so if he hasn't already he may want to quit so that he will be around longer for you.
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COPD is not an automatic death sentence, it can be managed just like his other illnesses. I am curious about the diagnosis and what could have caused such lung damage in someone so young? You should learn everything you can about his COPD and take his health into consideration if you are planning to have children, not because you are going to lose him but because it would be irresponsible to not explore all the possibilities.
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