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I quit after 35 years, will my lungs ever get better?
An_206839 posted:
I am 51 years old and quit smoking (cold turkey) 10 days ago after 35 years and I am shocked that I am not going completely insane. Now that is not to say that it doesnt bother me, today I nearly had a melt down due to an urge to have a cigarette, but it passed in a few minutes and I did not harm anyone, just kidding.

My question is this, since I have smoked for so long and never quit, not once, will my lungs ever get any better? I have no idea what shape they are in except to say that I get winded extremely easily and no, I have not been to a doctor in years other than for the normal womens tests. I am actually a rather healthy person, considering. I thought it was going to be alot more difficult than I am experiencing and am glad for that. So does anyone have an answer for me? I would appreciate anyones help.


Jonathan Foulds, PhD responded:
When smokers in their 50s stop smoking, they will experience an improvement in their lung function over the first year. All of us have a gradual decline in lung function from age about 25, as our lungs gradually lose some of their elasticity. But for smokers the decline is twice as fast. When you quit smoking, the rate of decline in lung function will return to that of a never smoker, after that first year when it actually improves.

Simple message is that as a smoker there is nothing you can do that will have a better effect on your long term lung function, than quitting smoking and staying quit.

If you want to read a bit more about a really great study of this, click here .

Note that when stopping smoking you should NOT suddenly stop taking any medications you have been prescribed for your breathing. Rather you should inform your healthcare provider that you are quitting and only change your meds on their advice.
zeetz replied to Jonathan Foulds, PhD's response:
I also quit after about 37 years and for some time afterward i found that i often felt like i couldn't get enough air in my lungs and needed to take deeper breaths like forcing a big yawn. My doctor told me this is normal and could last 6 months to a year. Apparently it's not uncommon based on other online forums i found. It's now been over a year since quitting and despite mild emphysema my lungs feel much clearer and i don't get winded easily. I also don't stink - at least not of stale tobacco smoke.
Good luck to you and keep in mind how much you were spending annually on those things and that as good as that second-hand smoke smells, it's still not worth it.

jwe1981 responded:
I have been quit for 6 months and do feel healthier and like my breathing is better. I still get short of breath so I was worried. Good to know that this may be a little longer process than I thought to regain some lung function. I smoked for almost 15 years. Looking forward to continued improvement.
cinders12345 responded:
I saw this was posted 4 years ago and wanted to ask you how it is going. I quit smoking a month ago and I'm also in my 50's (late fifties). Would love to hear from you now with any advice you can offer.
yoggi1961 responded:
nabikib replied to yoggi1961's response:
First, lose the capslock. Shouting at people is just rude.
Second, you don't have to do any such thing. You can stop smoking, wait a few weeks and then go see a doctor for any still lingering problems.

God, Birth and Death are the only three sure things in the universe. Everything else is optional.
AveraLee replied to yoggi1961's response:
Ok so I am not even going there on the rude cap lock. With that being said, you are right and wrong all at the same time.

You are correct that a person who smokes should go and see their Primary Doctor. Once at the doctor's office the smoker will be asked for a history of their smoking habit by a nurse, she/he will ask questions like how much does the smoker smoke daily, does the smoker get out of breath easily, does the smoker exercise regularly, what is their food intake and many more questions. As to seeing the doctor for knowing if the smoker lung function and breathing will improve, is just a small piece of the smoker's puzzle of the doctor's assessment of what needs to be done and not done. First of all when the smoker goes to the doctor they already know they have a problem, and the majority of smokers who decide to see their doctor, have already decided to quit smoking.

The smoker who does quit not only needs their doctor, but also needs the support system of family and friends in order to be successful. That's not to say that a smoker has quit with out a support system, there have been many who do. It's nice to have a support system rallying behind the smoker so that their chances are good to stop smoking for life.

What you are totally wrong about is the statement of you think a simple X-Ray will be enough. The only thing an X-Ray, does is show if the smoker has any type of lung infection, some tumors, masses, collection of fluid etcetera. That X-Ray does help the doctor assess the condition of the lungs, along with a whole host of test done to rule out what may or may not be going on in the lungs. I should know I have recently stopped smoking and was in the hospital for eight days due to my chronic lung illnesses. Many test were preformed right along with the X-Ray.

I am thinking you should have done some research before you replied to the original question, but that's just my opinion.

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