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How early can a person acquire Emphysema?
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Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) involving damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. Discuss topics including causes, symptoms and treatment options.

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How early can a person acquire Emphysema?

Hi! I was very abusive to my health until I had a very bad panic attack - fearing that I might stop breathing or my heart might stop. From then I started being very conscious of my health. My Cardio diagnosed me with hypertension, and diabetes t2. None of which triggered or caused my Panic attack. I still feel some tightness in my chest though but after I got a thyroid test, blood gas test, blood chemistry, 24-hour portable ECG, Echo cardiogram, and chest xray, I was only diagnosed with GERD. I am now on medication for GERD, Hypertension and Diabetes Type 2. I am a heavy smoker and an asthmatic. Or WAS a heavy smoker because I quit 2 days ago. My concern now is, Do I have COPD? I am 5'5 tall, 230lbs (lost weight from 280lbs). I feel some shortness of breath every now and then but when I try to check if I'd have a hard time breathing out all the air from my lungs, well I get them all out in about a second or a quarter of a second more. I am 27 years old and I do not want to die at 30 or 40. I'm not married yet but I am planning to. If I have COPD, which may be at the later stage by the time I have kids, I do not want to be sick as I watch my kids grow up. Is it possible for someone to get COPD this early in life? Even if the answer is NO, I will not be smoking a cigarette more. I am hoping this is just an asthma attack. My shortness of breath comes with a cough and phlegm. My cough is not so bad and it goes away about 2 days after maintaining a cough medicine and Salbutamol Inhaler. It is not that frequest - say once, twice or even none per month. I also experience chest tightness but the doctors ruled out heart disease and ischemia because blood o2 and co2 levels are normal. My physician said that it is just heartburn (related to GERD). I'm sorry for writing this "novel". I just want to know if at this age, will I be able to get Emphysema or COPD? And do I already have it? Or is this just another episode of my anxiety attacks?

Thank you ever so kindly!
Tags: emphysema
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hello and hope you are doing well.

Recent studies show an increase in the occurrence of emphysema and COPD in the younger age group. The commonest cause for COPD is smoking. This is diagnosed by spirometry. The lungs age with smoking as in comparison to the person’s age. If you stop smoking at this point, the lungs are not damaged any further, though the damage that has already been done cannot be reversed. So, giving up smoking would be first step towards controlling COPD.

Controlling your symptoms is actually a combined approach. Well, like I mentioned, the first step would be to quit smoking, to prevent further damage to the lungs. And also immediately on cessation of smoking you will not see any improvement. If there is bronchospasm, this can be relieved by bronchodilators. To improve lung function practice breathing exercises.  And any infection of the lungs, need to be tackled immediately.

Hope this helped and do keep us posted.
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1306047_tn?1333247191
I had COPD at 33.  I am now 40.  Spirometry was my method of diagnosis.  I can feel it every day every breath.  
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