I Am 35-Years-Old and Have the Early Signs of COPD

Aymes Sarah
5 min readFeb 23, 2020

Vaping is not consequence-free

Photo by the CDC on Unsplash

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease. COPD is a chronic lung disease that worsens over time. It is sometimes referred to as emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

Until yesterday, I thought of COPD as an “old person disease”.

I’ll start at the beginning

Yesterday morning I woke up with sharp pains in my chest. It was happening when I was breathing deeply and moving. When the pains became worse, I drove myself to the local emergency room. I was convinced I was having a heart attack.

The nurses triaged me and the doctor ordered chest x-rays. It turned out that the pain was from a temporary condition called costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the rib cartilage. Although it is painful, costochondritis is an acute ailment that typically resolves itself quickly.

A rude awakening

This was good news, at least I wasn’t dying.

Relief washed over me, and then the doctor showed me my chest x-ray.

He said, “Do you smoke?”. I replied, “I quit four years ago, but I vape heavily”. He said, “I can tell by the results of your X-ray that you are vaping, you’re showing early signs of COPD”.

In a lung X-ray, a normal diaphragm is smooth at the bottom. The X-ray of my lungs revealed my diaphragm to be jagged underneath. This is an early sign of COPD. My X-ray looked similar to the image below but not as severe.

X-ray photo courtesy of www.emedicine.medscape.com

I am only 35-years-old. I was completely shocked and totally devastated. How could I do this to my body? Why did I kid myself into thinking vaping was safer than cigarettes?

I was so proud of quitting smoking after 13 years, but I remained blind to the fact that I was only switching to another bad habit. Replacing one deadly vice with another.

What is an e-cigarette?

An e-cigarette is a battery-powered pen-shaped device that changes liquid nicotine into a vapor…



Aymes Sarah

Wife, mother, and researcher of a myriad of subjects. I love to write about anything and everything! Writer for The Startup, Better Marketing, & The Ascent👊