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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why am I having lung problems now if I quit smoking 3 years ago?

    I'm 62 years old and quit smoking 3 years ago. Why am I now having lung problems?
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  • 7


    Dr Adrian Chazan

    Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Physician

    Dr Adrian Chazan is a Respiratory & Sleep Disorders Physician and General Physician with a number of special interests including asthma and obstructive sleep apnoea. … View Profile

    Firstly, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. It is not easy and you ought to be congratulated on your success.

    However, even though you no longer smoke, your lungs may have suffered damage as a result of smoking in the past. There are a number of lung conditions that are caused by smoking, the most common of which is COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), sometimes referred to as emphysema. The symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, cough, sputum (phlegm) and recurrent chest infections. 

    On the other hand, your respiratory symptoms may have nothing to do with smoking. If you have not done so already I would recommend seeing your local doctor. Referral to a respiratory physician for a comprehesive assessment is likely to provide you with a specific explanation for your symptoms and a treatment plan. 

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