Smoker’s Lung

By | June 8, 2022

Chronic coughing and expectoration in the morning – every smoker should be alarmed when they see these signs at the latest. After all, a smoker’s lung can hide behind it. But what is this disease all about?

What is a smoker’s lung?

Doctors call it Chronic Abstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), better known as smoker ‘s lung. For what is hypogenitalism, please visit

There are now five million sufferers in Germany, and the trend is rising. In a smoker’s lung, the small cilia in the bronchi are destroyed. Slime can no longer be removed properly.

As a result, bacteria settle and the bronchi are permanently inflamed. The gas exchange between blood and air no longer works. A smoker’s lung is noticeable through a morning cough.

Many trivialize it as smoker’s cough. This cough is accompanied by a mostly yellow-brown discolored mucus. At first only the physical activities cause trouble. Later, even with the smallest step, breathing problems arise. These attacks of shortness of breath occur in episodes. If the three symptoms cough, discolored sputum and shortness of breath come together, there is a high probability of smoker’s lungs. Professionals refer to these as AHA symptoms.


One thing is certain: a smoker ‘s lung does not develop overnight. For a long time, smoking was the sole cause of smoker’s lungs.

After all, nine out of ten patients with smoker’s lungs are also active smokers. The dangerous thing about it: Even the first cigarette can cause inflammation of the sensitive bronchi. If this inflammation becomes chronic, the dreaded smoker’s lung develops. Scientists have now recognized that increasing environmental pollution can also cause smoker’s lungs.

This includes the air we breathe, which is polluted by dust particles and sulfur dioxide, as well as the vapors from biofuels. All of this puts a lot of strain on the airways and can trigger chronic obstructive bronchitis. It is not for nothing that respiratory diseases are the number four cause of death worldwide.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

A smoker’s lung is associated with several symptoms, all of which impair the functioning of the lungs. The so-called smoker’s cough, which occurs mainly in the morning, is characteristic. Ejection from the lungs occurs. The sputum can appear in different forms – depending on the cause of the smoker’s lung.

The sputum is usually greyish or brownish. After the expectoration in the morning, the affected person usually does not have to cough up any more expectoration for many hours. If there is no sputum at all, the smoker’s lungs have usually already caused damage to the alveoli.

Chronic coughing and increased shortness of breath occur in smokers’ lungs. The shortness of breath occurs at the beginning, especially during exertion, and can later occur without a reason. Colds and bronchitis also occur more frequently. Those affected by a smoker’s lung also suffer more often from pneumonia.

The symptoms of shortness of breath, coughing and sputum are referred to as AHA symptoms. Sleep apnea also occasionally occurs with prolonged COPD. This promotes the development of cardiac insufficiency. The persistent lack of oxygen can also lead to cyanosis: the lips become bluish and skin and nail changes occur. Drumstick fingers develop. In the most severe stage of the smoker’s lungs, the alveoli of the lungs eventually deteriorate and pulmonary emphysema develops.

Diagnosis & History

The diagnosis of smoker ‘s lungs is made by a pulmonologist. He also has the necessary technology to clearly diagnose smoker’s lungs with the help of breath and blood tests.

After the initially harmless coughing, the bronchial tubes of a smoker’s lungs become increasingly narrow. The attacks of shortness of breath occur in paroxysms and in episodes. With each attack, the condition worsens.

If a smoker’s lung is not treated, it leads to the death of the patient. The disease is not limited to the lungs. In the later course, it also affects the heart, blood vessels, muscles and bones. When death comes, it feels like suffocation.


The most common complication of a smoker’s lung is bacterial infection and pneumonia, as a result of which the patient must be ventilated or die from lack of oxygen. Complications such as muscle weakness, stress reactions and, as a result, high blood pressure, fat deposits and mood disorders are associated with the deteriorated oxygen supply. A chronic lung disease also damages the heart in the long term – the heart’s pumping capacity decreases and right- hand heart failure occurs.

With such a severe course, the person affected often becomes immobile. The lack of exercise ultimately leads to obesity, digestive problems and the intensification of the original symptoms. Accompanying the smoker’s lung is bronchitis, respiratory failure and, in the worst case, sleep apnea and suffocation in the patient. With timely therapy, adverse events are rather unlikely.

However, the administered cortisone preparations can cause various side effects. For example, water retention, other cardiovascular problems or infections often occur. In addition, the risk of developing osteoporosis is increased. Nicotine replacement therapy may be associated with weight gain. In addition, those affected suffer from enormous stress, moodiness and other withdrawal symptoms in the acute weaning phase, which almost always represent a great psychological burden.

When should you go to the doctor?

If breathing is impaired, a doctor should be consulted. If you experience shortness of breath, lack of oxygen in your body or cardiac arrhythmias, you must consult a doctor. People who are active smokers or who are regularly in smoking environments should pay particular attention to signs and irregularities in breathing. If impairments occur, a doctor must be consulted immediately. If you have a cough, sputum or bluish lips, you should see a doctor for a check-up. Sleep disorders, a decrease in physical performance and low resilience are signs of a health irregularity. If the symptoms persist for a long time or if they increase in extent and intensity, a doctor is needed.

Drumstick fingers are a characteristic sign of the presence of smoker’s lungs. If you have this symptom, consult a doctor immediately. If there are deformations of the nails or other irregularities in the limbs, the stage is already advanced. Rapid fatigue, an increased need for rest periods or a decrease in athletic performance are to be understood as warning signals from the organism. If more colds occur, if there is inner weakness or a loss of quality of life, the observations should be discussed with a doctor.

Treatment & Therapy

If COPD patients learn about their disease, they should stop smoking immediately. There is thus the possibility that the progression of smoker ‘s lungs can at least be delayed.

In rare cases, deterioration can even be stopped. Nevertheless, the treatment extends to the end of the patient’s life. The reason: A smoker’s lung cannot be healed. Regular medication becomes mandatory. Initially, the pulmonologist will prescribe short-acting inhalers. Then steroids come later. The cortisone is usually inhaled and is intended to help reduce inflammation in the bronchi.

So stays in the lung clinic are necessary again and again. It is important to integrate regular exercise into your daily routine in addition to drug treatment. Many patients with smoker’s lungs shy away from physical exertion because they fear a new attack of shortness of breath. However, this avoidance leads to exactly the opposite. At some point the body is too weak for every step. Therefore: Start training slowly and carefully, if necessary consult your doctor.


Preventing smoker ‘s lungs couldn’t be easier: smokers should stop smoking. Immediately and without hesitation. Because every inhaled tobacco smoke damages the mucous membranes in the lungs more and more. Of course, it would be even better not to start smoking in the first place. Since passive smoking is also dangerous, smokers should deliberately keep their distance from other people. In general, a healthy lifestyle with plenty of drinking should be preferred. Regular exercise is also essential.


Patients with a diagnosed smoker’s lung should undergo regular follow-up examinations. The lungs are to be regularly assessed by the family doctor or a specialist in pneumology using special lung function and X-ray examinations. Follow-up visits follow a set schedule of doctor visits.

Follow-up examinations are intended to detect progression of the smoker’s lung in good time so that further therapies can be started at an early stage. The treating physicians and specialists always strive to achieve this goal and to implement it as optimally as possible through suitable measures. The prerequisite and basis, however, is the patient’s general refusal to smoke.

This important measure is not only for the primary prevention of smoker’s lungs, but is also supportive and helpful for other existing diseases. It’s never too late to quit smoking. If smoking is strictly and permanently stopped, the patient clearly regains his lung function.

An essential therapeutic aftercare measure is physical activity, especially sport, which is very useful especially for patients with lung diseases. Here, lung sports, breathing exercises and rehabilitation measures can significantly improve the function of the patient’s lungs. An important part of the follow-up care is also maintaining a balanced and vitamin-rich diet, which, in connection with sporting activities, will lead to a significant improvement in the patient’s lung function and quality of life.

You can do that yourself

Smoker’s lung is also called COPD. Recent studies have shown that those affected usually assess their clinical picture more optimistically than is appropriate and therefore show too little initiative in the treatment.

Quitting smoking is essential with this disease. However, since it can also be triggered by fine dust and other air pollution, these sources of danger must also be avoided. This may mean that the patient should look for another job or move to rural areas.

It is possible that giving up smoking leads to obesity and stress in those affected. Dietary measures and relaxation techniques of all kinds are recommended here. Progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobson is an extremely effective technique that is also very easy to learn. Yoga mediations with simultaneous breathing exercises are also highly recommended.

A feared complication of a smoker’s lung is pneumonia. It is usually caused by a previous bacterial infection. To avoid them, the patient should avoid sources of infection and at the same time strengthen his immune system. This means that he should strive for and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It has several components: little to no alcohol consumption, as much exercise and fresh air as possible, plus a low-fat and low-sugar diet. The patient should also ensure adequate rest and sleep.

Smoker’s Lung