I have been diagnosed with mild emphysema, I have drastically cut my smoking down to maybe 4 or 5 cigs a day, and hope to give up totally soon, with the help of patches. My question is , if i give it up altogether , have I already done the damage from years of smoking 40 a day, or do my lungs have a chance of recovering? I knew a bloke who gave up smoking 20 years ago only to contract emphysema 20 years later.Thanx for your help and advice. regards from manz
I too was recently diagnosed via an EBT CT scan with "early emphysemateous changes" on my lungs - I'm going in for lung function tests later this month. I'm 51 and quit smoking a little over four years ago. The first thing I'd do if I were you is to just quit those 4-5 cigs a day. I tried that for a year or two before I quit and sometimes 4-5 becomes 7-8 and 9-10. Do a couple google searches on emphysema and look up close at lung blebs and bullae - realize that you've most likely got some of them on your lungs and you'll realize that you're nuts to even take one more drag of a cigarette - let alone "only" 4-5 whole cigarettes a day. There does not seem to be any progression guideline or timeline of how quickly emphysema worsens. The one consensus research finding about the disease I've found is that quittting smoking is definitely better than continuing to smoke.
Mild emphysema is diagnosed By a PFT test. Mild Copd is based on your FEV1/FVC ratio. It does not tell you everything. Your DLCO value called diffusion capacity (or oxygen transfer) tells more about your ability to oxygenate. Your FVC (fast vital capacity (deep breath)) and FEV1 (airflow) is how much you exhale in one second. Your lungs are like a tree. There are Branches (Bronchioles), Leaves (Alveoli= air sacs (balloons that expand) and blood Vessels (capillaries) surrounding the air sacs. The air sacs are like a bunch of grapes and if you were to cut into them, they look like sponge. When you loose the walls of your grape. You now have one big raisin. It no longer expands like it use to. You also loose the blood vessels around your grape. If you were to cut into your sponge, you would have a hole in it. A sponge with holes does not hold water. Therefore, your lungs will no longer hold fresh air. The dead air cannot get out because the branches are obstructed. The blood vessels are gone so oxygen can no longer get into the body, and C02 cannot get out. The branches are inflamed, scared or paper-thin. When the branches are paper thin they shut down on you before you can fully exhale. There is also a smooth muscle surrounding the branch, if you loose this muscle your S.O.L. If you loose your blood vessels, you are also S.O.L. The reality is emphysema will kill you over many, many, many, many years. You may get more and more short of breath. Your skin will start to look ugly. You will not be able to take a shower by yourself. Eating will be difficult, it is hard to breath and eat at the sometime. In addition, the 02 bottle will be hard to carry because of the shortness of breath. It is the new fashion statement with all the aging baby boomers. Therefore, you will not be alone. STOP SMOKING! Take RESPONSIBILTY of your own health care. This disease will be your families problem not just yours! Start exercising everyday! Keep your weight down a BMI of 25 is ideal. Eat right and take care of yourself. If you are obese, this gets even harder. If you have mild copd then there may be a lot of hope if you stop now. Remember your lungs look the ashtray you are using.
I hope this helps. If you cannot breath, nothing else matters.
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