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Do lungs heal after quitting smoking?

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Posted on Mon, 1 Jun 2015
Question: Do your lungs repair once you quit smoking? I understand it would all be relative in regards to the many different variables however, just want to know if they actually repair or perhaps do they just function more efficiently or both? Any information that you can share that I would consider to be more credible, reliable, and accurate would be appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
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Answered by Dr. Geldon Fejzo (48 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Lung cell do repair themself

Detailed Answer:
Hello. I have been through your question and understand your concern.

Lung cell are known to repair themselves, with several studies reporting to have found the lung stem cell, responsible for the regeneration of the lung cell.

However, there are different types of cells within the lung, so it is commonly reported in several reports that alveoli or air sac cells - needed for the exchange of oxygen and gases - deep in the lungs have a steady progress of regeneration that takes about a year.

Meanwhile, the cells on the lung's surface have to renew every two or three weeks.

But, it also believed that a cancer cell in the lung might take as long as maximum 20 years to become clinically significant, meaning that even your lung cells have the capability to regenerate, cancer cell can resist to such regeneration process.

COPD instead is a more complex situation, because it includes airways pathway, its resistance and chronic inflammation process, which is beyond regeneration capacity of the lung cells.

Hope you are satisfied with the answer, wish you the best health.

Regards. Geldon Fejzo MD



Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Answered by
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Dr. Geldon Fejzo

Neurologist, Surgical

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 337 Questions

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Do lungs heal after quitting smoking?

Brief Answer: Lung cell do repair themself Detailed Answer: Hello. I have been through your question and understand your concern. Lung cell are known to repair themselves, with several studies reporting to have found the lung stem cell, responsible for the regeneration of the lung cell. However, there are different types of cells within the lung, so it is commonly reported in several reports that alveoli or air sac cells - needed for the exchange of oxygen and gases - deep in the lungs have a steady progress of regeneration that takes about a year. Meanwhile, the cells on the lung's surface have to renew every two or three weeks. But, it also believed that a cancer cell in the lung might take as long as maximum 20 years to become clinically significant, meaning that even your lung cells have the capability to regenerate, cancer cell can resist to such regeneration process. COPD instead is a more complex situation, because it includes airways pathway, its resistance and chronic inflammation process, which is beyond regeneration capacity of the lung cells. Hope you are satisfied with the answer, wish you the best health. Regards. Geldon Fejzo MD