Emphysema Life Expectancy: What is the... - British Lung Foun...

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Emphysema Life Expectancy

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What is the life expectancy for a 20 year old male who has just been diagnosed with emphysema. Previously a smoker from age 14, but has been smoke free for 10 months prior to diagnosis. In otherwise good health, and exercises often.

23 Replies

Keep exercising and off the smokes and your life expectancy will be as good as anyone else!

If you are on meds keep taking and do everything else medics recommend.

This is a really good site where you will get lots of answers. Look at old posts. Treat other sites with caution, lots of MISinformation out there!

how long is a piece of string? thats the question your asking. Sorry to hear u have this dreaded disease, like you i started smoking at 14, i gave it up after my doctor telling me another and it will kill you.I was 56years old then laying in hospital bed the day after a Heart Attack,I did no need telling a second time. but about 3 years after that my breathing got worse paid him another visit cos of chest probs and he said he had been expecting me sooner,HE organised some tests for me there and then and yes i had COPD, and over next couple of years breathing got bad, . and i am where i am today. now i ca\n only tell you when you get follow up on this please do it and get stuck into it ,i know you will not feel like it exercising is not easy when short of breath but you will benefit from it,now i am 83years old ok not in best of health but i am here, i see my wife everyday, and she has been brilliant with me over the years .u will get plenty of replies to your question and all the guys will be trying to help, take heed of what you read there will be lots of good suggestions for u. take care don't worry about that piece of string,when its time u will know

good health happy days no good Being miserable. when u wake each morning say THANK YOU GOD FOR LOOKING AFTER ME THROUGH THE NIGHT .

Hi, a warm welcome to this site.

I'm no doctor but I think 20 is very young to be diagnosed with emphysema/copd.

Perhaps you were brought up in a smoky astmosphere like many of us were?

If I were you I'd call the BLF helpline for advice and guidance on what you should be asking of your medics. There may be an underlying reason why you have it so young.

As you can see above, you can live to a ripe age with COPD.

It normally shows in your fifties, when, for most it can progress to a very very debilitating life with constant health issues along with the shortness of breath, lung infections, low sats depriving your other organs of vital oxygen.

With doing all the right things people have reduced their level of Copd. Exercise, eating healthily, avoiding smoke, pollution, chemicals, excessive dust, mould and folks with coughs n colds - and taking their inhalers etc regularly.

Go to doc at first sign of a chest infection/bronchitis - never wait for an appt. if they ask if it's an emergency appt say "yes, I have emphysema, think I have an infection and need my chest listened to urgently".

Get the annual flu jab asap, I think you're now entitled free from GPs or get it at Boots, Tesco, Asda for a small fee (cost of a pack of cigs). The pneumonia jab wouldn't go amiss either & that's supposeded to be for life.

Please, please don't smoke again! Well done for giving it up - the very best thing :)

I'm really sorry if I've painted a bleak picture, I only want to show you what's possible if you don't take action now. You have a great opportunity to change things. It's not bleak, you can still have a wonderful, exciting & fulfilled life.

That BLF number Is 03000 030555 Mon - Fri 9 - 5 they are fantastic, very knowledgable.

Wishing you a great, healthy & happy life. P

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Good Morning! As others have said how long is a piece of string. Having said that I think you have some very good advise from peeg and I would re-iterate to ring the helpline, they have some very useful information. The very best of luck, TAD xx

Hi there, congrats on quitting the cigs. Peeg is right in her excellent post that you are very young for a copd/emphysema diagnosis. Have you been tested for Alpha-1-Antitrypsin? This is a form of copd which is genetic, caused by a missing enzyme (think its an enzyme), and it often explains why younger people have emphysema symptoms. There are some ppl with this on the forum, hopefully someone will see your post and give you better info than i can. But again, the BLF helpline will be able to give that.

Good luck :)

As for your first question "As long as you want!" is the answer as there is no hard and fast answer.

The longer you stay of the cigs the better I was a 40 a day many in 1992 and not smoked one since. My GP has said he now considers me a non smoker :)

Keep up the exercise. I am not a believer of no pain no gain. Pain means stop or slow down, push yourself and carry on with life.

My father was diagnosed with Leukaemia when he was 50 he passed away at 83.

My wife has been told a number of times I will not see the night through! Still here :)


Be Well

Like you , I was young when diagnosed (16 actually) and a non smoker. I am now in my 60's and though not able to run, jump or skip I live a fairly active life and am probably as fit as many folk my age. So good luck for your future and congratulations on giving up the ciggies.

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Hi nice to meet you and welcome to the site. I can't add to the great advice you have been given except to say I agree you are very young to be diagnosed with emphysema. I would make sure you get the full battery of tests to see if there is something else going on. Hopefully not.

coughalot x

Hi 230996

Well two of your answers are coming from a couple of Octogenarians, so that must mean something, and don't forget that we stopped smoking later in life compared to yourself.

I plead with you my young friend. Do not ever smoke again, no matter what it is that helps you remain a quitter, do it, then stay that way.

Look forward to great grand children and all those wonderful discoveries that you are going to see.

You're a lucky young man. Remain positive, you have over 50 years to catch us up so go for it and the best of luck.


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Morning, u've had some great advice but to comment on 02trees, 20 is very young for emphasema, I' have the Alpha 1 antitrypsin defiency ZZ phenotype, it's genetic from birth that ur parents would have passed onto u, do either of them have symptoms or been diagnosed the same,??? and it's caused by lack of the enzyme antitrypsin produced in ur liver that helps protect ur lungs from infections, which then causes damage at an early age, I would ask to be tested and am shocked if they don't/ haven't due to ur age, I'm 41 and was told I'm to young to have emphasema but now they know I have alpha 1 it makes more sense with all the illnesses I've had since birth relating to my lungs. it's a simple blood test, although there is no cure and treatment is the same as for copd u will be monitored closely. If u don't have alpha 1 then no smoking, eat healthily and exercise will halt it's progression and even improve if u look after urself and u can live a normal life. Hope this helps if u want more info regarding Alpha 1 u can google it or simply ask me and I will try and help in answering. Take care x Sonia x

Hi yes get the alpha 1 test. I am alpha one, was tested at 49 as my doc did not think it was smoking related. The medicine has helped , I keep slim, exercise, no smoking and stay away from those who do!! Yes I was told should live a normal life, although very steep hills a problem! Keep active and singing is good, easy on the alcohol too, to keep liver healthy. Get flu jabs and pneumonia jab. Don't worry. Enjoy life, and help is always available from the lovely people on here!

Hi, I am a 64 year old who has battled bronchiectasis lung disease all my life, my granddad had emphysemia from being a young man in his twenties and lived until he was 71 when he died of a stroke in 1961, had it been today and and he had been able to receive the care I have he woud no doubt have lived longer but the most important thing for you is not to smoke and avoid polluted air.

I am sure you have every chance of a long life xx

Boy! you are going to get some great advice on here! I will just say you will have a long and full life if you take care - most importantly of all, DO NOT SMOKE!! I smoked most of my life, and so wish I hadn't :x Anyway, welcome and enjoy yourself!!!! Keep well :)

I'm no 'authority' on life expectancies, whatever the situation, but it would seem to me that at your age, the situation is completely reversible within a few years given your continued abstinence from the evil weed and development of healthier habits.

Congratulations on ridding yourself of a useless, destructive menace such as smoking.

Hi, can't add anything to what others, I'm moderate and I don't have that many symptoms yet. What I would like to tell you is that there was another very young man on here a few months ago. He has a blog and I was only looking at it the other day but, I'd only stumbled on it again whilst checking past posts. Maybe, one of the other members can remember his username.

Don't bother reading anything on the internet, The USA stuff is aimed at scaring people into buying their drugs. (They don't get them free like we do). Well done you for quitting smoking, that's the biggest hurdle. Your fitness is a big bonus too and together, they are the top tips for managing this disease.

So, stick to this site for any questions and keep up the good work. x

230996, with your determination to give up smoking and the exercises, about 90 - 100! Keep well and do your exercises, even when you are 65 like me! :-)

230996, with your detrmination to give up smoking and teh exercises, about 90 - 100! Keep well and do your exercises, even when you are 65 like me! :-)

I think you are wise to have packed in smoking, tobacco has been proven to be the cause of lung damage, when I was 20 I thought smoking was cool, what a foolish person I was!!! I was so 'hooked' on nicotine I carried on smoking till I was 49 then went to the doctors and was found to have severe emphysema, nine years on they tested me for Alpha1 A D.... and yes I have it and smoking kind of ensured I'd be genetically inclined to get emphysema and not just be a carrier of the 'gene' but I didn't know...a simple blood test.

Find out about nutrition and what you need to be eating, because it will make the biggest difference... and walk everywhere, if you have a car,drive somewhere nice and walk for miles every chance you get, take in big lungfuls of fresh air and keep your mind focused on being well and living a long and happy life ( I am :) )and..I'm sure you will! huff xxx

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Hi 230996 ; Nothing left to say is there !! You have already got the best advice that anyone could ever give you, so the ball is in you court now. Stay smoke free, and away from others that are smoking, get your flu jab and check any chest infections as soon as possible. you are very welcome to stay on this site, and join in with any questions or comment you may have, we are all friends here, and try to help one another as much as possible. Take care of yourself and you will have many years in front of you. Cogratulations on kicking the Cigs. Malk.

Best advice you already have. Stay off the fags or it will get worse. I was diagnosed with emphysema at 33 and had Alpha 1 Antitrypsin deficiency confirmed at 40. I am now 54 and have been returned to full health thanks to a double lung transplant in 2012. If you don't have A1AD then with just 6 years smoking you should go on to live a full and normal life. If you are A1AD then it's best to know. There is a brilliant organisation at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham. It's called ADAPT and it's searching for a cure for A1AD. You'll need their help to get your local doctor to respond correctly to help you. It is a progressive illness and currently a transplant is certainly the best option. But that will be many years ahead and other better treatments will surely come almond. You'll find the ADAPT PROJECT online and you don't need a GP referral. I hope sincerely that you don't have it but I strongly suspect you have. I wish you all the very best and if I can help you, please don't hesitate to message me. Get the test done as soon as you can and good luck.

Suedink profile image
Suedink in reply to AlBlownout

Hi I'm new on here, it's great that you had a transplant, how does that happen ? Do you have to be referred? I have severe COPD, diagnosed 2 years ago, I'm 54 and still trying to come to terms with it, very hard at times but I do try to stay positive..

Hi one piece of device is to have emergency medicine on hand. I have an antibiotic and steroids just in case. I have had a flu jab but you never know what comes into house. See you GP,, its better to start meds if you are going to have an infection. The sooner you start the meds is definitely a must, your GP SHOULD GIVE THEM O YOU AND THEN YOU PUT THEM AWAY JUST IN CASE.

Well 230996 you have had a lot of replies.

What are your thoughts? It's all up to you now.

Good luck.

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