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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Emphysema progression

03/20/2008

Question:

Why is emphysema progressive? If initially caused by cigarette smoking, once smoking is stopped why does progression continue? What determines how rapid the progression is and the prognosis?

Answer:

Emphysema is a progressive disease because of the damage to the lung tissue as a result of smoking, and the progression is dependent upon the amount of smoking and other factors such as genetics and other environmental exposures, as well as existing of other medical conditions.

However, the sooner smoking cessation takes place, the better chances in slowing the progression, and in some cases returning to have similar life expectancy as someone without emphysema.

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Response by:

Mahasti   Rittinger, RRT Mahasti Rittinger, RRT
Clinical Program Manager of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University

Phillip T Diaz, MD Phillip T Diaz, MD
Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University