Patient: I have recently quit smoking (approx. 2 mos.) I am now 61,have been smoking since I was 16(45 years) but am in relatively good health except for my lungs. I am sure I have COPD but have not been diagnosed. I know longer cough like I used to but I do have to clear my throat more now. Is there a chance that my lungs will begin healing or will quitting just slow down the disease?
Doctor: Quitting smoking will slow down the decline of pulmonary function. In fact, those who have COPD and have already quit sm oking will have a dramatic decrease in the rate of decline in pulmonary function within one year, comparable to non-smokers. In other words, all individuals will have a slow, gradual decline in pulmonary function as part of the wear and tear process; this decline in pulmonary function is accelerated in smokers. I commend you for quitting smoking and I am encouraging you not to go back. It is common knowledge that smoking also causes cancers (lung, throat, tongue, esophageal, etc.). I would still suggest for you to see a doctor as soon as possible so you can be completely assessed and baseline tests of your pulmonary function can be done. I do hope I have answered your question and take care always.