Old Lungs

When I saw my resp. team last week and they did my spirometry etc. they told me I had 67 year old lungs. That's more than double my actual age.

What does this actually mean? Is it a reversible thing just as an indicator of current health (asthma not great at the mo - back on 40mg Pred, but can be much better) like PEF or something more stable indicating long term lung damage?

If they're 67 already, where does that leave me in future - will they continue to age at double the normal rate - well what would that mean when I'm 50 and have 100 year old + lungs? :( Sorry if this is slightly morbid, I'm feeling a bit crappy, I blame the Pred. Going to take a slow walk to the shops and buy some real Smarties to cheer me up. :)

7 Replies

  • sorry I have absolutly no idea!! I have the same thougts though as when i dont mine on tues they told me it was just under 2.5 which is less that half of what it should be>?! slightly worrying, so any help or advice would be great!

    with regards to the real smarties, skitttles now do blue in their packs...great way to get a buzz!! worked wonders for me in hospital two weeks ago!!!

    hope things get a bit better soon!!

  • I don't know how reliable this is, but a couple of years ago I saw a TV programme which took people with really bad lifestyles, generally young, and used this fancy machine and some tests to show them the biological age of their lungs, liver etc from smoking and drinking.

    Then they'd have them go away and change things, and go back after a month or two and have all the tests done again, after which the ages had quite often gone down. So it may well be that the age lungs are now isn't fixed andit is possible it could go down. Did they say what criteria they based it on eg predicted lung function etc of a 67 year old? Because I am sure that would change if you did get things back under control.

  • I would ask ur consultant to explain it for you. I was upset at 27 my lung age was 77 . A friend had said that some machines give ages dependant on tracing and readings at that time my asthma was really bad and in middle of a flare up..... She Said if lungs improve and better readings then this age would reduce which makes sense..... But don't know how true it is .... All further test have been done on a machine that doesn't predict the ages thankfully

  • I've never had my age (or lung age!) predicted from spirometry!

    One of the things that I've found having spirometry regularly at the Brompton is that my results vary massively according to how well I am. For example, my FEV1 (the amount of air that it's possible to blow out in the first second) was 2.25 on Monday last week, when I was doing well. This is very close to the predicted value for my age and height. A few weeks prior to that, when I'd been doing not-quite-so-well, my FEV1 was 0.89. Obviously, that's quite a big difference in a short space of time.

    Lots of the symptoms of asthma are reversible, as you know, though over time some people do get scarring and a certain amount of irreversible symptoms. I'm sure you know that from peak flow readings - they can vary massively between when you're well and not well.

    I don't know exactly how lung-age is calculated from spirometry, but I would ask your consultant to explain it in more detail if you're concerned.

  • You can calculate your lung age here:


    Its based on predicted vs actual results for lung function.

  • Yes Ratty it is reversible. Earlier this summer my FEV1 was 1.19 which according to that site (which - no criticism of you, Me - I think is fairly meaningless) gave me a lung age of 105 (!) but now it's improved to 1.72 ie 83yrs. So within a few weeks my lung age has reduced by 22 years. You can see how daft it is. My lungs are apparently still 24 yrs older than the rest of me (59) but I think this is a skewed way of looking at it & completely pointless and unhelpful. It merely shows that ""on the day"" your lungs weren't functioning as well as they should. Well, we asthmatics know that. On a good day, it'd be totally different.

    I think it was very stupid and extremely unhelpful for your resp team to tell you this. It's just made you worried and depressed, when you have enough to cope with. What was the point of that? They should at least have talked to you about its significance and asked how you felt about it. Sometimes people make these careless, throwaway remarks without thought to the effect on the person sitting in front of them. In my view it shows a complete lack of understanding and empathy & I'm really cross on your behalf. Try to stop worrying Ratty. When you've reduced the pred & feel better you'll realise this kind of statistic is meaningless. Just concentrate on getting well & have lots of smarties!

    love polly x

  • ps I see that website is intended to help physicians scare smokers into giving up. Says it all doesn't it!

    I think you should write to your consultant and mention that you were told this, and by whom - they really need telling that asthma is depressing enough without thoughtless people making you feel worse x

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