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Does emphysema progress on its own?
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Does emphysema progress on its own?

Am I to understand that emphysema is a disease that will progress on its own, no matter what you do? I have quit smoking, but it worries me that the emphysema will get worse and there is nothing that will cure it. I do not want to live a life in which you have to struggle to breathe at the end stage. 8 months ago, I was diagnosed with what the doc said was a touch of emphysema, and he also said that it may get better over time if I stop smoking. I am not sure exactly what he meant, but I know emphysema is not reversable. I just wonder like everyone else first diagnosed with emphysema, and that is "How long do I have to live?" I have a wife that seems to think that it is not serious and she smokes. After a few months of being persistant, I managed to get her to only smoke in 2 rooms of the house. Don't anyone even try to tell me to play king kong to her about it, cause it is not easy to convince a smoker to not smoke in their own home. I used to be a smoker, so I know. I just hope that I will have a good many years left. I am 51 now, hope to make it at least 20 more or better.
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26 Comments Post a Comment
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285927_tn?1380802356
If you were diagnosed as mild and you since quit smoking, chances are the damage will reverse itself.  Yes it is a progressive disease but smoking accelerates it. Quitting smoking puts it down to normal progression, so you will probably never have a major problem with it. However, that includes inhaling second hand smoke.  I understand about smoking, I am one.  However, your wife also needs to understand that this disease is a killer and not to be toyed with. If she is smoking in the home have her do it near an open window or even get a smokeless ashtray. Every little bit helps.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am going to the doctor today to take the breathing test again to see if the emphysema has changed any. I hope it will be good news. My wife thinks that my emphysema is not serious, therefore she is not concerned. But I explained to her that second hand smoke is like I am still smoking. I might as well talk to a brick wall. If I get worse, then I will blame her, but I already done it to myself for smoking in the first place. Wish me luck.
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1000946_tn?1253811447
Good luck at your appt.  And let us know how it goes.

My Dr said I didnt need a specialist yet because I have no symptoms.  I've noticed many don't see a dr.  
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285927_tn?1380802356
Good luck with the Dr. appointment, let us know the results? Make sure you get a print out of the spirometry if he does one?
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Avatar_m_tn
I just got back from the doc's office. He said my test was better than his. I then asked does that mean I have no emphysema? He said no, you do not. I felt like 200 pounds lifted off my shoulders. I am so happy. I was so worried for months. Quitting smoking improved my breathing. Thanks for the support everyone.
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1000946_tn?1253811447
OMG Im Sooooo HAPPY for you!!!!!!!!!!  Who told you that you had it in the first place???

That is great news!
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285927_tn?1380802356
I am soooo happy for you! I know the kinda weight you speak of! You got a second chance, do not start smoking again! Congrats!
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Avatar_m_tn
breathing test I did 8 months ago, doc said i had a touch of emphysema. he said if i stay away from smoking, it may get better. Only thing is, i live in southeastern north carolina, and the humidity is terrible. I smoked for 35 years, so it will take a few years for my lungs to clear. But, that is better than living with emphysema. Kinda hard to work outdoors in the heat and humidity. I wish all of you the best.
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1000946_tn?1253811447
Im confused how can you have emphasyma 8months ago and not have it now?  
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285927_tn?1380802356
If it was just a touch and/or mild, and he quit smoking. It sometimes reverses if in the mild form only. At the very least by quitting smoking, progression drops to normal. However, if you are in mod or more this does not happen, but will still slow in progression if you quit smoking. I think that is how the doc explained it to me. lol
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Avatar_m_tn
You got it right Teko. It will still take years for my lungs to repair. I wish I had never began smoking. I was healthy for many years, but now, I see where the smokes sneak up on you. I was lucky.
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Avatar_m_tn
I got told at the age of eighteen that i had mild emphysema. I have never smoked but i have suffered asthma since the age of two.I went for an x.ray at the age of fifty two and got told i had mild emphysema, so do not give up hope
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Avatar_f_tn
My husband has been diagnosed with empysema. He hasn't ever smoked nor to his knowledge worked with chemicals that could cause this.He has been to  two of the  finest pulminoligists in our city and both agree with the diagnoses. His CT scans show many small and large blebs, and he struggles for breath at times, tires easily, and his complexion turns a pasty white. This started in July, 2010. Before this he  was extremely active. Now he has to rest after lacing his shoes. He has always taken excellent care of himself, always had his yearly physical exactly when  he was supposed to and now so suddenly this disease has come seemingly out of the blue. His physicians are baffled, as are we. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this?
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757137_tn?1347200053
Your husband may have been exposed to toxic inhalants without knowing it. What most people do not realize is that organophosphates are commonly used in venting systems (heating and air conditioning) to kill germs. I developed COPD in this manner. I lived in a very fancy apartment that did not have windows that opened and fell prey to a poisoned venting system.
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757137_tn?1347200053
Does he work in an office? How is it ventilated? When I got COPD it also came on very quickly. If it had been caused by smoking, it would have been a more gradual process.
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Avatar_m_tn
i have bronchitis enphysema chronic asthma i have not smoked for 35 years was told before christmas then in january told it had progressed quicker than doc expected ot to only they said i have copd
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Avatar_m_tn
i have bronchitis enphysema chronic asthma i have not smoked for 35 years was told before christmas then in january told it had progressed quicker than doc expected ot to only they said i have copd
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't understand your wife, does she really understand what is wrong with you, to-day I have been diagonosed with it and i quit 14 years ago I am gutted what i have done to my self, i know how hard it can been to quit it was one of the hardest things I have done but boy I am so proud of myself that i did, I don't know your wife but if she loved you she would not smoke in the house or around you  
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Avatar_n_tn
It is a very narrow minded statement to say, "If she loves you she would not smoke".  We might wish that to be true but you can love someone and not be able to quit.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was diagnosed with copd, I have never smoked in my life but was in the hospital a couple weeks ago because I could not breath. I am 51, grew up in a house hold where both parents smoked, left home at 19 and have  not lived with anyone smoking in the home since yet I have copd. I have lived in the country most of my life, worked outdoors and have tried to live a healthy life yet have the diagnosis. If the people you live with know that you have an illness and that what they are doing like smoking is killing you, if they loved you they would make sure you were not exposed to it if they could help it, ie, smoking out side the home and not in the car. I realize that quitting is not easy, but it is a choice as to where you smoke though. I don't think it is fair that I have never smoked and yet have copd, but it is more so unfair if I am around someone who smokes and they are aware of my illness yet still light up in front of me. That is not a friend, and they do not care about you if that is the case.  I have not been told that it would get better. I understand that it will progress and there is nothing I can do about it and that is just the way it is, but please, if you do smoke and know someone else who suffers from copd, please consider what they are dealing with and do not light up around them.
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Avatar_f_tn
Does anyone know what can actually reassure us that we definitely do not have emphysema. I was tested in 2004, the same yr I quit smoking after 20yrs, in that time I had quit for 6 months, and a few other times, couple wks here and there. Dr. ran chest x-ray which was clear, then PFT tests, in which I was told I blew above average, then finally a CT W/contrast dye, and it was clear. Dr. called and said You do not have emphysema. However, 2 wks ago was told I had 4 leaky heart valves, and irregular heart beat, and also INCREASED LUNG PRESSURE! My mind went immediately to emphysema, because of past scare. But Dr. said he wanted me to do sleep study. However I do not read anything positive about INCREASED LUNG PRESSURE. Only worries me more. I`m hope it is only paranoia now. However, How can we ever be comfortable with an answer? Also, with all of those clear tests in 2004, should I be worried about emphysema. By the way, the Doc scared me into quitting, Thank GOD!!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I understand that being a past smoker myself, it does **** you off when someone tries to tell you to stop smoking in your own house. I smoked for 12 years. I quit 8 months ago because it was causing anxiety problems for me. I am a worry wart and I was so afraid I was going to die from it. I have a child that depends on me to be here everyday so that helped me to quit. It has been a struggle don't get me wrong but I know the outcomes are worth every second of struggle. I will never touch another smoke. As for your wife, she definitely needs to understand that your life is nothing to gamble with. This is serious and she should take the necessary steps to ensure that her smoking is not interfering with anyone's life or health. If she wants to smoke that's on her. I know it is hard to stop. When I stopped my boyfriend still smoked in the house with myself and our child. I preached to him everyday about quitting. My child even told him to quit. He was so against quitting. He felt that it was his life and he would do what he wanted. I thought I would never get him to quit. The good Lord had my back, my boyfriend put his smokes down 2 months after I did and we are both smoke free now. We love it! For all of you smokers out there, there is happiness after quitting. I promise. It will be rough the first couple of months but you can do it. I thought I would never be able to put them down but I did and I am so happy that I did. As for the husband with the wife that won't quit smoking in the house. Try to find something that you can talk about the will encourage her. Sit down and have serious talk with her. Such as our grandchildren need us to be here for them, our children need us, you could get emphysema just as well as I did, etc. If you have the dreadful very important health talk it may change her mind. Good Luck!!!!! Have faith!
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Avatar_m_tn
Your husband should have a 'Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Defiency' test done. This is a rare genetic disorder where their is a lack of a protein in the blood called, alpha 1 antitrypsin or AAT. ATT protein is mainly produced in the liver and its main function is to protect the lungs from inflammation caused by infections or inhaled irritants such as tobacco smoke. The low level of AAT in the blood occurs, because the AAT is abnormal, and cannot be released from the liver at the normal rate. So, over time, as adults, can cause liver disease. So is important to have your husband checked for this genetic problem, since no one knows what caused his emphysema. AAT causes the same lung symptoms as emphysema symptoms. Also, I have heard that there is an infusion that can be performed where they put the AAT proteins into the body (probably a yearly basis), and therefore help with these symptoms.
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Avatar_m_tn
Your husband should have a 'Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Defiency' test done. This is a rare genetic disorder where their is a lack of a protein in the blood called, alpha 1 antitrypsin or AAT. ATT protein is mainly produced in the liver and its main function is to protect the lungs from inflammation caused by infections or inhaled irritants such as tobacco smoke. The low level of AAT in the blood occurs, because the AAT is abnormal, and cannot be released from the liver at the normal rate. So, over time, as adults, can cause liver disease. So is important to have your husband checked for this genetic problem, since no one knows what caused his emphysema. AAT causes the same lung symptoms as emphysema symptoms. Also, I have heard that there is an infusion that can be performed where they put the AAT proteins into the body (probably a yearly basis), and therefore help with these symptoms.
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Avatar_m_tn
Do you mind letting us know what kind of test your doctor took?
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Avatar_m_tn
Stop smoking doesn't necessarily mean your emphysema will slow down. I quit smoking 4 years ago after 40 years. My lung volume was 76% 2 years ago. It's now down to 56%. That doesn't lead me to believe it's slowing down at all. I am going to try some supplements and see what happens with it. I don't have anything to lose. I'm also going to Temple Hospital in Philadelphia
to see what they recommend.
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