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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Normal Spirometry with Mild Emphysematous Cha

01/20/2011

Question:

what can it mean if a ct (not high resolution) shows mild emphysemous changes, but a spirometry test show everything normal? i am extremely over weight and wonder if that could affect anything. i am a 47 year old. smoke 18 years ago. thank you for your time.

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness and for your question. Mild emphysematous changes mean that you have developed damage to your lungs from smoking. Tobacco smoke causes damage to the small air sacs in the lungs by destroying the walls of these tiny air spaces. When the air spaces are destroyed and become bigger, the term used to describe the change is emphysema. 

A CT scan shows the picture of your lungs and spirometry measures the function of your lungs. In some people the picture shows disease, but lung function is normal and in other people the picture of the lung is normal and the lung function tests show significant disease. There are different effects of smoking on the lungs in different people. In addition, when people are obese, this can have an effect on lung function testing. The best thing you did for your lung function was to quit smoking. Losing weight will also help your breathing in the long run. Good Luck.

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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