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Author Topic: Lung Recovery  (Read 11680 times)

Offline Ylide

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Lung Recovery
« on: 05/11/2003 09:51:00 »
Does anyone know about how long it takes a nasty smoker's lung to clear up?  Say a person smoked cigarettes moderately for about 10 years...how long until lung function returned to normal?





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Offline bezoar

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Re: Lung Recovery
« Reply #1 on: 05/11/2003 12:25:53 »
If I remember my lecture on that from nursing school correctly, one puff from a cigarette can paralyze all the cilia in the lungs, those hairlike projections that mobilize and move all the mucus upward so you can clear your lungs.  That's why you don't want to give smokers a cough suppressant, because the smoker's cough is the only way they have to clear their lungs.  

I understand that the cilia will grow back over several months, but then they have the job of clearing all the junk out of your lungs, which is why, when you quit smoking, at first, your smoker's cough gets worse.  How long that takes I guess would depend on how much junk is in there, but I would guess 6 months to a year would do it.  However, nothing will cure the emphysema.  Obviously, if your lungs are clear they will function better, but the emphysema will still be there.

By the way, I heard one time that you have to lose 50% of your lung function (one whole lung), before you even begin to feel short of breath.

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Offline Ylide

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Re: Lung Recovery
« Reply #2 on: 06/11/2003 03:06:47 »
Thanks for the info...I didn't know about the 50% lung function thing.  Scary.  

What, precisely, does emphysema do?  My grandmother has it, and I know it's a degenerative lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe, but what are its physiological effects?  How long do you need to be a smoker in order to get it?  Are genetics a factor?

Thanks again



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Offline cuso4

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Re: Lung Recovery
« Reply #3 on: 06/11/2003 11:44:11 »
Emphysema is where the alveoli in the lungs get damaged by substance found in cigarette (Tar perhaps). As a result, gas exchange take place less efficiently leading to breathing difficulties. As far as I know, emphysema is not a genetic-linked disease. Chris will be able to give you more detail.

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The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Lung Recovery
« Reply #3 on: 06/11/2003 11:44:11 »

 

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