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Decline in FEV1/FVC ratio over time
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Decline in FEV1/FVC ratio over time

Hi;
I recently asked a question, but expressed the FEV1/FVC ratio incorrectly. Therefore, I am resubmitting this question and wanted to find out how fast FEV1/FVC declines over time in a ex-smoker for the past 12 years ( 10 pack history). Note for the past 2 years i have had 3-4 colds/year that go into my chest, however, I have a 3 year old child. I am 47 years old. Also, my Mom who smoked for 40 years has COPD.

My GP Doctor said I had hypersensitive airways, and although my FEV1/FVC are in the low normal (70-75% range) he would not diagnois me with either COPD or asthma (tested for it too).

FVC - 115%
FEV1 - 98%

FEV1/FVC - 71 (It appears that I am 2% away of be diagnosed with mild CODP which is of huge concern)

FEF25-75% - 56%
PEF - 125

Questions about FEV1/FVC ratio:
Is the low-normal ratio a cause of concern?
Does this ratio remain the same over time or does it decrease?
Could ratio been impacted by seasonal mild sniffles?
Is there anything I could do to improve it (I don't smoke and try to avoid all exposure)
With mild COPD, how does it progress for non-smokers? Is it more-than-likely to lead to a moderate level and how quickly?  My Doctor showed me the Fletcher, Peto Curve and thought I did not need to worry as I don't smoke anymore.

I am feeling quite anxious about this as our family passions are all related to physical sports (skiing, hiking, jogging).
Thanks again,
Michele
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Answers to your questions about FEV1/FVC ratio:
Is the low-normal ratio a cause of concern?   Absolutely, not a cause for concern.

Does this ratio remain the same over time or does it decrease? The ratio slowly decreases over time and the table of normal predicted values takes this into account.

Could ratio been impacted by seasonal mild sniffles? Yes, especially since your doctor described your airways as “hypersensitive.”   That hypersensitivity, is usually described as increased bronchial hyperreactivity.

Is there anything I could do to improve it (I don't smoke and try to avoid all exposure)  No, there isn’t anything you can do, unless the borderline ratio is on the basis of asthma, in which case an inhaled long-acting bronchodilator might improve your FEV1.

With mild COPD, how does it progress for non-smokers? Is it more-than-likely to lead to a moderate level

and how quickly?  The problem is usually expressed as yearly rate-of-loss of FEV1.  The rate for non-smokers is, on average, 30cc/year.  For active smokers the rate may be 100cc/year or more.  When one stops smoking, the rate of loss progressively diminishes until, after 5 years, the rate of loss approximates 30cc/year (the rate for non-smokers).  

The truth is that you do not have to worry, having quit smoking.  Please stop worrying.   Your lung function is fine and should remain fine, the rest of your life.

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