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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

COPD and age: Onset, life expectancy, and more

Listen doc, I don't have COPD. I've been smoking for 30 years without any problems and now you're telling me I suddenly have COPD? I'm skeptical. This is not an uncommon position of many current or former tobacco smokers presenting with shortness of breath and being newly diagnosed with COPD. The reason it takes is a long time to become symptomatic from progressive loss of lung function is because we are gifted with excessive lung capacity. In essence, we are born with one extra lung. So, to develop symptoms like shortness of breath with minimal activity or at rest, we need to lose the equivalent of one whole lung or a bit more. That loss occurs over the years of smoking and at some point that smoker hits the tipping point and symptoms manifest. To preserve your quality of life, quit smoking before you become symptomatic.
from Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD

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