Large lungs : Hi everyone hope your day... - British Lung Foun...

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Large lungs


Hi everyone hope your day has been good, I’ve a question I want to ask as it’s coming into my head all the time, while I was getting several breathing tests done a few months ago I was told the specialist that did it just blurted out oh you have really large lungs? What does that mean he said sorry I thought you would have known this as I’ve just done a few tests to confirm it and I’m not the one who should be discussing this with you it will all be explained when you go back to see your lung specialist? NO it wasn’t and I thought this was a great thing having big lungs that would help me breath better in future, Lung Dr said it’s not good to have big lungs but it’s not something I’m concerned with at this time. He won’t give me answers and I’m now getting more concerned about it. I have copd asthma and other health problems at the moment I’m worried about having large lungs I have chronic bronchitis any info please would be appreciated thanks 👍❤️

16 Replies


Some reading for you.

Good morning Shazab

They will be many here on the forum with large lungs. It is often caused by airtrapping. If you have had a full pulmonary function test it will show in the section of the test that shows Total Lung Capacity. TLC will be over 100% predicted. And there will be an increase in Residual Volume. RV is what is left in the lungs after full exhalation. My RV is now over 200% predicted. I have Obliterative Bronchiolitis, which is a rare condition. Other conditions produce similar results. I believe that those with Emphysema who are suitable for lung volume reduction surgery will be considered for that operation if their RV is over 180%.

I hope this does not add to your anxiety. I am a great believer in knowing what is going on. For me power lies in knowledge. Once we know what is going on inside our rib cage we can learn how to deal with it.

All the best


Izb1 in reply to Katinka46

I agree with you Katinka46, I deal with things better if I understand what the problem is. Irene x

Shazrab in reply to Katinka46

Hi Katina thanks for everything you’ve shared with me I was getting a pulmnory function test every month then every 3 months now my lung specialist has decided every 6 months , I have no clue to what all the tests were even for or what they showed and was never told except on the slip of the specialist who said about having large lungs. On my last appointment my hubby asked for a copy of all the tests results I’ve had done since 2016 the dr said yes she would send what she could so I’m expecting them in about a week ...actually I don’t think I’ll get every test result but it might help me reg the answers I’ve had. I must tell the truth that I’m still very confused with all the reply’s what I can get out of them is it’s not good to have large lungs . I’m sorry I don’t even understand the illness you have I’m quite confused ?? I have chronic bronchitis copd asthma and was told 2 months ago I’ve also got scaring on both lungs is this the cause of larger lungs . Again Thanks for your reply I’m not able to understand though exactly all your saying but do appreciate you taking time to try and help me 🌹🌹

Hidden in reply to Katinka46

I just checked my pft numbers. My rv is 241% and tlc is 150%. Rv/tlc is 160%. Does that mean my lungs are the size of a small SUV?

I have long lungs and they are hyperinflated too....I have asthma/ COPD.

My rib cage has changed shape over the years, got bigger.

Never heard about this until recently when I had a chest X-ray which said - hyperinflated and asthma COPD etc. GOOGLING I found out if your likely to need lung volume reduction surgery in the future the inhaler Spiriva Respimat May help prevent - I’ve just started using this again. Don’t know my RV but could look it up. Basically the lungs have lost a degree of their elasticity and stretch I understand.

Yes, my chest measurement has expanded by 2 inches since diagnosis with COPD in 2015. It doesn't affect me at all, except for having to get bigger clothes. I use singing exercises to help me empty my lungs as fully as possible.

My Consultant called it a "Barrel" Chest which signifies COPD, and the Lungs just hanging there, the Lump at the nape of the neck is because of Steroids.....Since Diagnosis I have gone from Size 10, to Size14/16. I battle now to Exercise(which I love doing) to keep the weight Down as much as possible, if I get too Big they can take me off the Transplant List. I have recently bought a Bra extension as the fastening was getting to tight, though not with Muscle Building. The Muscle I once had,(mainly Arms) has been gradually reduced through the Steroids, apart from age and gravity. My Consultant has confirmed this when I asked her. Carry on Doing your Best, Breathing & physical Exercises are a Must. I feel a Lot Better because of this. Good Luck. Carolina XXXX

Hi Shazrab

I was told years ago that I had large lungs. My Dr told me this after an X Ray. He said I had large lungs which means I’ve got a tendency to emphysema. I have mild asthma and at the moment I’ve got Aspergillosis. But I was quite cross when he told me about the emphysema as I didn’t have it and if I was a great worrier I could have been worried to death now. If you get problems with your large lungs then that’s the time to deal with it. I hope that helps.

LVRS and EBV (Valves) are now approved via NICE . That means those with severe lung disease and 'large lungs' are able to go forward for assessment to have the procedures done . The TLC/RV (residual volume) and Total lung Capacity should be on all your breathing test results so ask them for copies and keep them, that way you can compare your own results, keep a check and see the differences! Most emphysema patients who are severe get this as we 'trap air' so we get air in but don't manage to well in getting it out..and the hyperinflation is bore out of this via the lungs they are usually 3 times larger than an average normal and end up sitting in the diaphragm. Bending and such becomes a driven task in itself. Your upper body shape changes as outlined above your wider and fuller but you're skinny everywhere else as we lose weight and have to contend with muscle wasting in the latter stages of disease ..For a woman its difficult with bra's full stop I have not worn one in years! I use bra extenders and get all of mine in the softest cotton I can with second skin feel (when I do need to wear one) I have AATD and have seen many, many changes in my body with this...Its part of the package. If you do not understand the breathing test results 'ask them to explain matters' that is what they get paid for! You need to be in full control of you and advocate for you. I wish you well my side on this is alpha folk don't get the same duration on the result with Valves around a good 12 months or just over not a lot in the scheme of things but we are still happy to go through should we feel its going to benefit and it does in many cases...I will most likely do so at next years assessment, I am approved for them. We are exempt from the surgical route in most cases too risky! I have been urged to forward to Valves and I am still considering, as I have over the years walked daily and found a regime that keeps me stable my lungs were destroyed on diagnosis but I have continued to make the best of a bad prognosis which proves exercise and dedicated daily exercise helps us . You should be being assessed at this point or they should be monitoring you on oxygen levels so you might want to ask them on this to, as you mostly need supplementary and oxygen at these levels... good...luck!

Hidden in reply to flo1

AATD myself. Stage 4 with Fev1 25%. Find myself hunchback.

Hi Apeter good to know another alpha here! I have been living with stage 4 many years and was diagnosed with just two left to live back a decade now proving them wrong/!!! and loving it, kicking life and me and fighting like billy bugger as there is no cure and no sense in awaiting one but getting on with it and what you do have is vital..I was diagnosed with 22% fev aged 46! gas transfer 26% I turned 57 in June, walking daily with my pooches helps me beyond anything mankind has brought out for us as yet, and I refuse to quit or give in ..nothing much left in there but guts and determination to fight until I can't and go look at TX time...I hope you are coping ..its a hideous disease and one that should be out in the public domain we are not rare just rarely diagnosed and we have a human right to birth testing! I run a group for aatd patients if you are interested let me know via pm happy to support and help a fellow brother, sister alpha out. :)

Dilly2 in reply to flo1

What is a aatd. Thanks floe1

Forgot to mention I quit the smokes and moved to coast after the initial prognosis bounced up to 42% fev in the space of one year but the gas is still a problem, saying that I know we progress and age is a biggie factor and no amount of much of anything can hold back our time scale as alpha's unfortunately but fighting helps I am currently around 33, 35% fev mark and around 24% on gas good day but hyperinflation is biggie for me all distinct hallmarks for alpha's and basal lung disease bottoms gone, long gone..hope you pm me x

Alpha One Antitrypsin Deficiency, a genetically inherited metabolic disease a sister disease to CF..and one your born with through 2 defunct genes from mum and dad, most of us have severe lung disease earlier ages around 40 and 45 and in some cases earlier than this..We are liver patients that cannot expel the biggest protein the body makes essentially its job is to protect our lungs in time we succumb to destruction and disease and have a high risk of cirrhosis as the protein backs into our livers..hope this helps you.

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