Family smoking and COPD: Does any one... - British Lung Foun...

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Family smoking and COPD

drd4 profile image

Does any one know of any study that compared people with COPD and those without and whether their parents or people they lived with smoked. My parents were heavy smokers and we lived in a small one room apartment. My father worked from home. I have two friends, same age and same sex, who smoked more and longer than I did but their parents didn't smoke. Neither has COPD. Could there also be a genetic link?

39 Replies
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Well I think there is! My husband has severe Copd - so did his mother. Though they both smoked. TAD x

That is so interesting . . . I was talking to one of my sisters only yesterday about how our parents smoked, . . about the clothing drying in front of the fire on the fire guard, creating damp/moisture, the cold and damp bedrooms, army coats on top of bedding to keep us warm.

My father with DIY on removing, what we know now as a health hazard, removing and sawing up old asbestos, we sat by and watched. All the chemicals we used to clean etc etc etc . . . I think some of it is not inherited but subject to our upbringing.

Gosh does anyone remember the Army Coats on beds, and the irons as hot water bottles.


newlands profile image
newlands in reply to Is4bell4

yes i do jack frost on the window s all those lovely patterns

happyfeet59 profile image
happyfeet59 in reply to Is4bell4

Army coat on bed and brick wrapped in cloth as hottie. Heated in oven at side of open fire/ range.

delilah profile image
delilah in reply to Is4bell4

Yes I do Is4bell, lost my parents during the war but I was lucky as my Nana brought me up. An army coat & a hot water bottle kept me snug during the fiercest of winters but ohh how I hated the layers of rough scratchy blankets plus the weight of everything.

Is4bell4 profile image
Is4bell4 in reply to delilah

Grins, we were four in a bed, two up two down . . too much kicking between us to worry about the scratchy blankets. Have to say they never kept us warm. My father used to put a candle underneath a flower pot to heat the room. AND no not the the plastic ones. :0)

Thanks very much for this study on genetic factors. Interesting that they found the amount and initiation of smoking is genetically linked, not just smoking per se. Theoretically according to this study, I shouldn't be at risk because I started smoking at age 28.

Must be something else as well, though, with regard to lung diseases because not every heavy smoker has a lung dad was a heavy smoker all his life, he had COPD. He also worked in Southampton Docks, going into the holds of ships which carried asbestos in hessian sacks. He used to say it was like working in a snowstorm. Many many of his workmates developed mesothelioma, the lung cancer related to asbestos exposure. Dad had pleural plaques, signs that he had asbestos fibres in his lungs, but didn't get Mesolthelioma, so I guess there there must be some sort of genetic trait at work there. From the age of 18 months to 9 yrs we lived in a pub - Mum used to open the bedroom windows to let the smoke out.........both Dad and my husband smoked up until 1997, but I have never smoked. So far, at 66, I have no signs of lung disease despite having passive smoked nearly all my life. (I know, I am rtempting providence there....) not does my sister, also a non-smoker. Both of Dad's brothers had TB during WW2, both smoked. No doubt one day they will unravel it all, but there are obviously so many factors. My husband has pulmonary fibrosis, he smoked heavily; his Dad had it, didn't smoke but worked with flour all his life as a baker. My husband's cousin has it as a result of asbestos exposure - it seems there is a link there, but it needs a trigger. Gill

Suzy6 profile image
Suzy6 in reply to Gidge

One of my brothers was in the Engine rooms on ships in the Royal Navy he has lung problems. Told us there was asbestos dust everywhere they didn't realize the dangers and used to playfully throw it over each other.

Hi everyone, yes my mum and dad chain smoked for years, and I was sat amongst it. I have never smoked in my life, but used to go to pubs and clubs when smoking was allowed and you could cut it with a knife sometimes. I also worded with mental health clients and althouogh they would smoke and then call me into the room, the nicotine was obviously still there. I just wish I knew for certain what has caused my fibrosis....the doctors say they don't know, but every time I suggest something they way oh no it won't be frustrating. If I could find out for sure (which I won't) I could have a rant and rave but would know!!!! I have said before on here about theTresemme extra hold hairspray which was very fumy and my daughter had advised me for a couple of years to stop using it and I would not listen. I took that to the consultant, but he poo pood the idea???? My condition has gotten a lot worse and I am to get an OT in the house soon to assess me for a chair lift. I do not want to leave my present home, I am happy here but I know it will need adapted. Genetics? yes I have been thinking of that lately too, I need to try and get answers of exactly what my mum died of, they said it was heart failure but I know her lungs were in a state too....she was on that many medications, including long term steroids which did a lot of damage to her bones, that is why I will not take them, I have osteoporosis too. Anyway folks I have rattled on long enough. We all very much need answers on here, these diseases are frightening, and I would not wish it on anyone what we are all going through.

Suzy6 profile image
Suzy6 in reply to naturelover

No Narure not rattled on. Released your feelings, which is good for you. Take care, hope you get some answers soon.

naturelover profile image
naturelover in reply to Suzy6

Hi Suzy, thank you for your kind words. I know everyone cares about one another on here, and it is nice. I have a doctors appointment with my own GP this afternoon, he is great to talk to, I am very down just now, also think I have had a chest infection the past few days or so...but have been taking doxycicline since thursday morning, had 10 of these in the house, so thought it sensible to take them rather than have to get an emergency appointment, and maybe end up in hospital again because it worsened. It is my 5th day on them so he will either tell me to continue take them all, or maybe give me something else....they are obviously working anyway so I seem to have done the right thing! By the way I can recommend rehab to everyone too....the physios are great, there is a lot of help and info to be had. I do hope everyone gets the chance to do it.

my father smoked a pipe all through my childhood and we shared a one roomed one bedroom "digs" friends father smoked a pipe too, but she never smoked cigarettes which I did for a while...both of us have lung problems. Her mother has emphysema and never smoked.

But everywhere you went there was tobacco smoke until quite recently.

Incidently my father in law worked with asbestos, lagging boilers when he was young, and he lived to be 100.

naturelover profile image
naturelover in reply to knitter

My goodness Knitter....that is amazing about your father in proves that we are all so very different and our bodies can react in different ways to substances.

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I agree stitch .. A rember when there was fog like pea soup everyday its easy to blame smoking but jobs and industry plays a part .. There is quite a few people in Liverpool started action against asbestos works that burnt down and poisoned quite a few people who devloped cancers lung disease .. Then you have manchester airport and all the parafin fumes and all those fish that died in that lake that was poisoned by rubber of aeroplane tyres when landing.

But you dont here about that BUT you do here about smokers all the time

naturelover profile image
naturelover in reply to Hidden

I agree daz, I have never smoked but the other five people in rehab are all smokers....but it could be anything at all, the doctors just emphasize on smoke. It is tunnel vision all of the very frustrating.

My mom had COPD like me she worked at the DEPO { army base } her job was to issue stores to the soldiers all over the world. I would be about 12 years old when a building in the DEPO caught fire it was made of asbestos I remember the thick black smoke from it and the council cleaning up the asbestos that went for miles.

Mom lived till she was 87 and smoked up to the day she died.

Am smiling reading this....that is incredible about your mum....a lot of us on here are proving points about causes but no-one listens from the medical points of view. There should be lots more research put into lungs and the effects everything creates.

Someone on hear has COPD never smoked but was a dress maker and had a lot of dust off the fabric another subject on hear is alpha 1 it is a condition with the liver which also gives symptoms of COPD I'm going to see my GP about this tomorrow I'm sure my Mum had this.

Oh dear, please let us all gets worse with the lung conditions and all the unanswered questions. I have really gone downhill lately and broke down in my GP's office today, I am back at the hospital on 13th Dec and going to ask for more tests, something is niggling me and it won't go away. I am already on antibiotics and agreed to take 10 days of steroids which goes against my principles....but I am trying to be sensible as so very breathless - a short blast will not do me the same harm as long term on the things.

I have gone from level 3 to 4 which is vast I feel like an old lady yet in my mind I'm still 21 I'm trying everything I can I'm going to go to the gym for a induction tomorrow so I can use the bike I'm restricted because of my lower spine and I'm petrified of getting the flu dammed if you do and dammed if you don't I hope you feel better soon

Ah thank you. Yes I know what you mean about feeling old. I am 66 but still like rock bands and dancing...I am young minded inside but this awful disease makes you feel about 90!! I hope you get on ok at the gym, the rower is a good one to use. Yes you have to look after your back and use the machines correctly. What is wrong with your spine if you don't mind me asking?I am lucky I have gym equipment in one of my bedrooms at home. I have to have my oxygen on but when I feel well enough I can go up there and use them. I have also been going to rehabilitation for the past couple of weeks and it is encouraging. We do simple exercises and the physiotherapists are great to talk to and I have learned quite a bit. You should have a course in your area? Let me know how you go.

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I was brought up in a house full of smokers mum dad and four older sisters all smoked in the house they did that in the 60s !! We wouldn't now am sure, but the chest physician I seen did ask about passive smoking and said it won't help and probably helped my condition along from an early stage ! Lost 1 sister at 43 lung and brain tumour 2 stopped smoking and 1 still smokes, mother died mid 50s and dad still here at 87, think genetics and environment do play a big part

naturelover profile image
naturelover in reply to Hidden

I agree Boo-Boo

Eventually, smoking catches up wit you. Some later than early. I have never smoked, but my father did for the 19 1/2 years I was living at home. At the age of 40, I started getting short of breath, then I was diagnosed at the Brompton Hospital as having bronchiectasis.

It is very unpleasant. Like many of us, I catch infections really fast. I used to cough an enormous amount of mucus until the consultant prescribed me antibiotics for life.

Despite all this, I have confidence that once you stop smoking, this is a turning point. You won't get better overnight, but if you take care, eat properly and practice some exercise, you will prevent the disease from progressing fast.

Indeed, ask your doctor to support you stop ping smoking. Adopt a positive outlook and see how it goes! And tell us more of your progress. You are unique, in so far as you have become aware of what's happening to you and there are good prospects for you to diminish the progress of your illness.

Sohara profile image
Sohara in reply to helingmic

Hi helingmic, as a life long Brochiectasis sufferer, I was interested in you saying you are on antibiotics for life....I have of course been on and off antibiotics for many many years , Amoxicillin mostly ....what antibiotic are you on? and what dosage? I have heard that the Brompton is THE hospital to go to, and have often wondered if I should try to get to see them.

So it interests me that you are on constant anti biotics and not just when you have an infection

Love Sohara

helingmic profile image
helingmic in reply to Sohara

Sohara, Because there's lots to say about me, I shall write to you in a private message. See it there :-)

Hi helingmic, Love your positive attitude....I am trying hard to be positive just now....never smoked kind of worries me that folk can be prescribed antibiotics for life....they kill all the good bacteria off in your body as well as the bad. I was advised to take acidophillus tablets full of good bacteria a long while ago and take them every day, usually one a day..but when on a course of antibiotics take two a day as ended up with inflammation in the bowel a good while ago...the consultant was puzzled because I have a healthy vegetarian diet....I knew it was the 10 months of antibiotics that caused it....but doctors will not admit to that. Take care my friend, and ask about those tablets, they will help your body...I take the Solgar ones which I am told are the best. I am also a therapist, so study food and nutrients etc.

Hi have read my previous stuff on are teetering on the truth here, formaldehyde is lethal for one., and it is widely used. Side effects of meds....also lethal in a lot of cases., but people are stuck in a catch 22. All the chemicals around today in everything were not around years ago. I have had to cut out all the cleaning products....especially anything with Febreze in, does everyone know that is lethal to the lungs?? and it is turning up in almost all the cleaning products., air fresheners for cars etc. Even flash floor cleaner that I liked has this added to it!! Going back to inhalers.... I had to come off seebri inhaler recently, I tried it from 9th to 25th Nov but the side effects were horrible and doing me more harm than good. There is a lot of questions we all need answered Stitch...but I am afraid we are often banging our heads against a wall. The government still rates aspartame as safe, for goodness sakes, and it is far from is now in a lot of foods and drinks and sometimes disguised as another name. The only safe sweetener is Stevia from plant origin. Look up Sweet Poison on the internet and you will see what I mean. Anyway I am getting off the subject of our lungs....speak to you soon xx

Yes of course, I agree...

as a child my step-father used to throw my out as far as he could in the Thames at Runnymede. I used to wonder why no-one else was in the water. I now know there wasn't a living thing in that river for many many years.

Bas-ard! Perhaps that contributed to lung issues, that and his b....... pipe.

I worked for years as a photographer using badly ventilated darkrooms. Also had a major exposure to DDT in my 20's which triggered asthma which i'd never had before.

Chemical pollution is hard to escape - not long ago a waitress came to our table and sprayed the whole surface under our noses with neat Mr Muscle before we had a chance to stop her. And she was very defensive when we told her how bad that is.

Chemicals have a lot to answer for - they should be included as both cause and co-factor in disease in medical training.

"What doctors don't tell you" is a journal which gives you a lot of info and has a good search facility.

peege profile image
peege in reply to O2Trees

wow, of course, they're always going around with a spray bottle to clean the tables in cafes, even M&S who should know better. Theirs is in an unmarked container.

WDDTY should be standard reading for GPs.

I recall reading up about unleaded petrol when it 1st came out, breathing fumes and transdermal are both horrendous.

O2Trees profile image
O2Trees in reply to peege

Yes WDDTY is a good read. And M&S should know better. Its standard health and safety practice to spray the stuff directly onto the cloth rather than on the table which then gets into the air. But catering staff never seem to know and we've had quite nasty stand-offs with people. Bt then some people are really nice and thank us for explaining.

oh dear, Trent as bad as Thames.

It wasn't until you mentioned banned river swimming that I twigged on the poison connection.

Several times I nearly drowned, in hindsight perhaps that was the idea. He could'nt swim nor could mum or sisters.

I smoked 3 years as a student and 3 years in 40's.

Are your sisters well then?

Hidden profile image

whatever childhood exposure and adult exposure, if you have been a smoker its likely this causes additional lung damage, I am pretty sure its a combination of toxin exposure.

One grandfather smoked and he was a baker, he was diagnosed at age 38 with emphysema and the doctor told him he should change his job and stop smoking. This grandfather did neither of the things the doctor advised at the time but later did go on to work in an office, I think the flour dust did prevent him from continuing as a baker.

He died at age 78 in a very bad way, suffocated really, he smoked to his dying day but was very ill for 10 years previously.

Two things to be learnt from this story, listen to your doctor and always stop smoking when recommended.

As has been said many times before smoking is not the only thing that causes lung damage but it sure doesn't make healthy lungs..

That is why i try to drink bottled water only. Yes your doctor should have explored things in your diet....but of course they don't...

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