British Lung Foundation

Recently been told my lung age is over double my age in years? what,how and what to do?

Hello to everyone,Hope you are all well today:) I was diagnosed with COPD quite a few years ago(aged 32) but just told it was a progressive step up from having my Asthma,due to smoking,given different meds (spiriva, symbicort and phyllocontin)and after a year or so was discharged from the consultant,as I was managing very well,I recently moved house and had a new doctors checkup,where they did a spiromotry which revealed that although Im 39yrs, my lungs are 83yrs! Had an x-ray which showed no significant changes since 2007(last x-ray till now).Waiting for a CT scan next,but feel in limbo,What does this mean for the future?Is there a future? and if so how much of one is there? sorry for being dramatic but im shattered and untill I get the tests done I dont know if they will put me back to the consultant or just leave me to figger it out,I have noticed changes in my energy/tiredness for over a year but put it down to work stress(healthcare for elderly mentally ill) and the moving to new area and the hard work in doing the move.I now am realising that its down to the COPD.I try to live an active life,I work part time but do lots of charity and voluntary work,I am a scout leader too and do lots of camping and scouting type activities,like Abseiling,Kayaking,Hiking etc but I have struggled more with this in the past year or so also, I know life is going to change but Im just not ready yet! If anyone can help me figger out what if anything the lung age thing means,please inform me,They gave me a print out of the spiromotry with all the numbers and graphs on but I dont know what it all means either,so any enlightenment is very much welcome... Thanks Lisa

The ability to reply to this post has been turned off.
13 Replies

Lung age is just a way of putting the results of a spirometry test into simple understanderble terms (and to scare you into stopping smoking probably).

I'm 46 with a lung age of 142. while I'm not as active as I would like life still goes on.

I think in my case I do the best with what I have got, was told only have about 20% lung capacity - someone who is 70+ years that was quite a while ago. Do what you can Val

Thankyou Val. Best wishes. Lisa

Thanks Stitch, I agree this would be a good idea,if and when they refer me back to the hospital. Lisa

Hi yellow90, Thankyou very much for that,for some reason I thought lungs of 83 meant that they were old age and ready to pack in, but from all the reading on here,I see that its more like they are just ageing quicker than me and have a while to go yet!!! Reading some of the stories here,I am very lucky to be as active as I am,although I know Im slowing down,I can now start to better plan for my future. Thanks again Lisa

Hi there Lisa,

You ask if there is a future when you have copd, OF COURSE THERE IS.I think that you do very well. There are a few things you can do, give up the weed (if you have`nt already done so,) continue to be as active as possible, take your medication as directed and stay positive. You must have a sense of humour working in the care sector, I worked in it for 18 years and we always said that having a sense of humour was 70% of the work. Keep smiling. I was diagnosed three years ago and found it very difficult to accept but eventually I have got my head round it. I have tried to find out as much as I can about the disease myself and am still learning, being a member of this website helps as well because you hear how other people cope and overcome any problems or issues they may be experiencing. Hope this has helped you.

Good luck and keep in touch

Regards Linda.

Thanks Linda, Yes your right,I have an amazing sense of humour!!! always smiling!! I do get a bit down sometimes and I guess I just got caught up in thinking about myself and my own problems,I very rarely do this,always put others first,its why I do the job I do! I am finding this site a real help,you guys are giving me more than my healthcare team right now,but hopefully when I see them,they will provide me with all the help and advice I need. I am on the program to stop smoking ,although I usually only have 4 a day,but soon I WILL smoke none at all. A big thanks to everyone who has written and answered me on here,you guys really are helpfull and friendly. Hope to chat again soon, Lisa.

Hi Lisa,

I had TB in my 20s and by the time I was in my early 30s I had the lung capacity of a 73 year old. I'm now 58 and have no idea what 'age' my lungs are, only that I'm catching them up!! I know it's easier said than done, but please try not to get too hung up on the numbers, go with how you feel on any given day and keep being as active as you can - it slows down the progression.

Take care.

1 like

Hi ? I'm having a spirometry test next week so was reading a few posts yours interests me more because I am 55 have had TB finished treatment in September 2015. Within 3 mth started to feel unwell again, kept telling doctor but was not taken seriously in fact one Dr laughed and said what you actually had TB (this on a telephone consult) I asked him to look on the computer which he did, and was gobsmacked that I had told him the truth! But it has still taken a further 12 months to get an xray. The receptionist rang last week to advise me to come in and have this spirometry test done. But as the TB meds were interupted for a week early on, and Doctors in Oldham don't seem to realise TB is becoming a problem again (was told this by TB consultant) then am genuinely concerned as to reason for this test. I have again lost a lot of weight and the night sweats are as bad as before. Do these symptoms also occur in COPD? sorry to bother you but yours was the only post that had TB mentioned I can see its been a while since you posted. Kind regards.

Hi Lisa

You've had lots of good advice. You are doing a lot with working part-time, scout master and also 2 other charities, I would say let one of charities go if you are now finding you are tired all the time and finding things more difficult to achieve.

As Linda says yes there is a future. What it means to you depends on how well you manage your symptoms and how well you look after yourself. Do check out BLF's DVD living well with COPD.

If you look after yourself, as has been said, take meds as prescribed, eat properly, exercise daily, avoid people with colds or flu, get your annual flu shot, get the pneumonia vaccine, get any lung infections treated asap, avoid all pollutants, smoke of all kinds, aerosols etc etc. You can increase your chances of having a good quality of life even with COPD, if you learn as much as you can about managing your your symptoms and how to preserve your lungs, its all in your favour.

Lots of info on BLF's main site and a few good blog entries on this site too.

Good wishes for your future health.


Thanks Tru, I have been visiting this site for a few days now and have certainly learnt alot already. You are right I do manage well compared to alot of people on here,and as you say I might have to let some volunteer work go,not scouts though,this I love and will continue for as long as possible with it,but the charity shop and the elderly / infirm friendship group may take a back seat.Would really like to give up work but thats not an option as I still have both my boys at home and they still cost me a fair I only work part time ,but often find it difficult to manage someone elses physical disability as well as my own,an office job would be great!! Anyway,everyone on here is great and I thanks each and every one of you for the advice and support,who knows I may be able to share that too with someone when I learn a bit more!! I am going to speak with the COPD nurse at my surgery to see how much advice she will be able to give.

Thanks again. Lisa

Hi Lisa

I hope you are well.

Just to mirror other answers to your question - lung age really does not mean anything in relation to severity, staging or prognosis.

It can be used as a tool by health professionals to encourage people not to smoke.

It is easy for me to say but try not to worry about this - your chest x ray showed no significent changes and it sounds like you keep active and fit. Try not to panic.

I hope this helps.


My husband is going through something of the same he is 56 and was told a month ago his lungs were of a 80 year old, never smoked a day in his life, very worried.

The ability to reply to this post has been turned off.

You may also like...