Smoking 20 years of middle-aged people quit smoking, lung can restore to what extent?

Yesterday, a good friend of many years called Dr. Fu and told me that he had emphysema and bullae in his physical examination. He was very worried. He wanted to quit smoking and worried that his lung could not recover after quitting smoking late.

there are many cases like this one. When I was young, I felt that smoking didn’t matter. When I was middle-aged, I suddenly found that some bad terms appeared in the physical examination report, such as emphysema, pulmonary bullae, ground glass nodules and so on. I began to worry about it and wanted to quit smoking. However, I worry that quitting smoking has no effect, because I often hear that lung injury is irreversible, and the lung can not be recovered after quitting smoking. Is that true? Old habit, Dr. Fu still likes to talk with data.

first of all, we can be sure that smoking can cause lasting damage to the lungs. It is known that there are more than 4000 kinds of harmful substances in the smoke inhaled by smoking. Most of us have never heard of it. Only tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide have been heard. However, it does not mean that these harmful substances do not exist. In fact, these harmful substances in tobacco exist objectively. After entering the lungs, they will significantly damage our delicate lungs and cause a variety of lung diseases, such as emphysema, pulmonary bullae, ground glass lesions, and even lung cancer. Once these lesions occur, it is really difficult to cure them. That’s why many people believe that after smoking for 20 or 30 years, their lungs can’t recover.

However, the actual situation is much better than people think. Although smoking cessation can not make the lung recover completely, it can improve lung function greatly.

when it comes to lung function, we should talk about more than a dozen indicators of lung function, such as forced vital capacity, minute maximum ventilation volume, maximum mid expiratory flow rate, average passing time of forced expiratory spirometry, and so on. If Dr. Fu uses these indicators to illustrate the problem, it is estimated that we will have to mark them out directly. Let’s talk directly about the scientists’ conclusions.

our lungs have a very strong reserve capacity. A healthy lung, even if half of them are not working, only half of them can meet the basic needs of the human body. Therefore, in the first ten or twenty years of smoking, although smoking has caused a decline in lung function, smokers do not have any bad feelings. However, if we use professional lung function testing equipment to detect lung function, we will find that some lung function indicators have been abnormal.

people who have smoked for less than 10 years often have no symptoms of discomfort, but some indicators reflecting small airway function, such as MTT, have already appeared abnormal. However, after quitting smoking for several months, these indicators gradually returned to normal, and there was no significant difference between them. This shows that the early lung damage caused by smoking is reversible. Therefore, the earlier you quit smoking, the better.

people who have smoked for more than 10 years have more abnormal lung function, which is directly proportional to the time and quantity of smoking. At this time, if you quit smoking, most of the lung function indexes can not completely recover to the healthy state, but compared with those who continue to smoke, there will be obvious improvement. In fact, even the super old smokers who have smoked for more than 40 years can improve their lung function as long as their lung function has not yet failed. Therefore, smoking cessation can also improve lung function.

of course, these are theories. What is the actual situation? Dr. Fu has an anesthesiologist brother who loves long-distance running and can finish half horse. At the same time, this brother is also an old smoker. He started smoking in University, almost one pack a day, and has been smoking for nearly 20 years. Once, he told me that he was tired of running recently, and his performance dropped obviously. He felt that he was weak in middle age. Dr. Fu believes that years of smoking have damaged lung function, leading to a decline in running performance. For this reason, the two people argued, and with the help of the people next to them, they made a bet: the brother quit smoking, while maintaining the current intensity and frequency of running, to see the results after three months. The bet is a meal of crayfish.

Dr. Fu, an anesthesiologist friend, was also a ruthless man. He sincerely invited me to eat crayfish a month later, because his half horse performance returned to the level of five years ago.

I’m a licensed doctor in nutrition. I’ve focused on weight management and disease nutrition treatment for more than 20 years. If you think I’m reasonable, just pay attention to me. Here are a lot of practical and interesting nutrition and health knowledge. 08/16/2020