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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Non-Progressive Emphysema

09/18/2009

Question:

After having an MRI health screening,it was reported that I have mild emphysema and although this cannot be reversed it is non-progressive and should remain so if I continue with my very healthy life-style eg.gave up smoking 5 yrs ago,regular exercise=swimming,yoga,pilates,daily breathing exercises,aqua-aerobic classes,I also follow a mediterranean diet.Bearing all this in mind is it really possible to have non-progressive COPD?

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness and for your question. The definition of COPD is a disease state characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. The airflow limitation is usually both progressive and associated with an abnormal response of the lung to noxious particles, most commonly cigarette smoke. 

The severity of COPD is measured by a breathing test called spirometry and specifically the FEV1 or the amount of air that can be exhaled in one second. As part of the normal process of aging, we all experience a decrease in the FEV1 as we get older. For people who smoke with COPD, this loss occurs faster and on a steeper curve than normal. Some people quit smoking and still have significant progression of disease. Others may quit smoking early in their disease and the rate of loss of FEV1 goes back to normal over time. So, it is possible to have stable disease for some people in that regard.

For more information:

Go to the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Michael E Ezzie, MD Michael E Ezzie, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University