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Emphysema Signs on CT Scan
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Emphysema Signs on CT Scan

About 1year ago I had a CT scan done and it showed small signs of emphysema and the doctor told me that if I quit smoking then there would be no long term affects. After this I developed OCD, severe, and continued to smoke for the past year maybe 1.5 years.

Has my emphysema worsed to the point that I can't reverse the ill effects or prolong it if I quit now and began exercising and taking better care of myself. I have been very sick with the OCD for about 3 years and am on
the following medications currently


I have gained over 60 lbs in the past 3 years and my exercise level is 0. I tried walking the othe day and had to stop twice because I was out of breath and because my left hip hurt so bad.

I do have a CT scan scheduled for this week and have quit smoking but I am very concerned I am only 43 and my  mother died of emphysema.
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You ask:  “Has my emphysema worsed to the point that I can't reverse the ill effects or prolong it if I quit now and began exercising and taking better care of myself.”

It is very unlikely that smoking, even heavy smoking for 1 to 1.5 years, would further damage your lungs to the extent, that the benefits of smoking cessation would no longer be available to you, especially at the age of 43.  You should make every effort to quit smoking now.  If the amount of emphysema on CT scan a year ago truly was minimal, you should definitely be able to preserve good lung function.

CT scanning is an expensive way to quantitate emphysema.  You would do well to ask your doctor to order pulmonary function tests (PFTs).  This is as good or better a measure of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema, can be done at one year intervals at minimal expense and provides a good quantitative measure of progression of emphysema.

That you have CT signs of emphysema at age 43 and your mother died of this disease raises the question of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, an inherited disorder that, especially with smoking, leads to rapidly progressive emphysema at an early age.  You should ask your doctor to test your blood for this disorder.

Good luck with your smoking cessation efforts, even if only to cut back.  Every additional cigarette smoked per day makes a difference.
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