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Prognosis of early stage emphysema
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Prognosis of early stage emphysema

My husband was recently diagnosed with early stages of emphysema. He is 52 yrs. old and has been a smoker for over 30 years. He did quit as of 3 months ago. We have an appt. with a pulmonologist in June, but are trying to find out some information. Is early stage emphysema usually treated and if so by how. What is the probable outlook for say the next 10 years, if you get regular medical attention, good diet, exercise, etc. My husband seems to think this is a death sentence and he will probably be dead in the next 2 years. I have read a lot of information on the internet, and many places say if you quit smoking in the early stages and practice overall good health habits, you can live a normal life span. Can anyone give us any insight into what is ahead for us. We have 2 teenagers, and are extremely concerned about our family. Thank you.
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All but the very mildest COPD/Emphysema should be treated with inhaled drugs (bronchodilators).  If your husband's disease truly is mild or even mild to moderate, his prognosis is very good, and he should be able to lead a normal life, with a normal or near-normal life span. This is true only if he never smokes again and avoids high levels of all pulmonary irritants, including bad air pollution.
Thirty years of smoking, especially if smoking a pack a day or more, is a lot of smoking and he may have had some irreversible lung damage/loss.  Pulmonary function tests will provide a quantitative measure of lung lost and lung function remaining.
As described, this is an opportunity, not a death sentence.  Congratulations to your husband on quitting smoking!
The term COPD is an abbreviation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  COPD is a general term used to describe the chronic lung disease linked with cigarette smoking and worsened by contact with industrial dusts and other toxins.  This is also called emphysema.  It is a disease that worsens over time.  There is a relatively irreversible decrease in airflow and permanent destruction of the airsacs in the lung.
3 Comments
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Hi!  I have severe emphysema from no known cause.  I was diagnosed out of the blue at age 42.  My docs agree that I can probably live a long and full life and it IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE.  Since my diagnsis 5 years ago, I have been able to do more & feel better with appropriate treatment, exercise, and good general health habits.

Please be reassured that your outlook is correct, but your husband's doctor needs to explain this to your husband.  The main thing to do is avoid all infections and get a pneumonia & flu shot, exercise, eat properly & take good care of himself.  Also, ask his doctors to test him for Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, since that will require additional treatment.  More info about it is here:  http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=35014

You can read some great info at www.NationalJewish.org, particlularly their MedFacts and Understanding series.  You can also read some great info at

http://www.copd-international.com/COPDAdvocate/copdsurvival.html

Good luck!  Your hubby will do fine, with your wonderful support and encouragement.
Aloha,
Starion (going strong at age 47, still with severe emphysema & severe chronic asthma)
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Avatar_n_tn
Your outlook on this is so positive, i wish my husband had this outlook, weve been dealing with asthma and cronic (chronic) bronchitis for almost 20 years, and now he has been diagnosed with moderate COPD at the age of 41, he has a bad attitude and does not want to change his ways(smoking) He has a 7mm module on his left upper lobe, The doctor thinks it is benign, but wants to do another CT in 3 months. Can you give me some pointers on what I can do to help him through this besides nagging, That has not worked at all!!!!
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A related discussion, Emphysema at 43 and life span was started.
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