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Work Your Body, Work Your Mind

It took me a long time to admit that I wasn’t successfully coping with my depression and anxiety on my own. It took even longer to come up with a plan to fight back against my own...

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Our Quitting Smoking Experts

Dr. Bankole Johnson

Dr. Bankole Johnson

Physician, psychiatrist and addiction researcher

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Damian O’Hara

Damian O’Hara

President of Allen Carr North America

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Dr. Cheryl Healton

Dr. Cheryl Healton

President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation

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Will My Lungs Recover?

Will My Lungs Recover?

You know that by quitting smoking, you’re dramatically reducing your risk for all sorts of terrible health diagnoses, such as lung cancer, heart disease and pancreatic cancer, just to name a few. However, you’ve been smoking for years, and you know it put a strain on your lungs. Is it possible for your lungs to recover from all the damage you’ve done to them?

The answer is: yes and no, or it depends. For the average person, when you first quit smoking, the little hairs that line your airways that were incapacitated by the smoke begin to function again. You’ll cough more because you’re lungs are cleaning themselves out, but you should also notice breathing becomes easier and exercising doesn’t make you feel like you want to die.

However, for those who were “super smokers” and developed an emphysema or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) health diagnosis, the lungs do not recover. With COPD, you’ve permanently inflamed your airways, and while some of it can be reversed, some of it cannot. With emphysema, you’ve ruined your alveoli—those little balloons in the lungs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide take place. When those die, you don’t grow new ones.

If your lungs could talk, what would they say to you? [Time]

Posted: 7/3/08