• Kathi MacNaughton
    Health Pro
    December 31, 2010
    Kathi MacNaughton
    Health Pro
    December 31, 2010

    30% lung capacity, as you may have guessed, is not great. It means your lungs are functioning only a third as well as a healthy person's. If this was determined by a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT), you can find some more details about what the PFT results mean in this article.


    If you're wondering how long someone can survive with such a lung capacity, the answer is we're just not sure. Having such low reserves means it might be very difficult for you to weather any respiratory infections. A bad cold might progress to pneumonia and do you in. On the other hand, it might not. You can compare some of your symptoms about the end stages of COPD in this article—you may or may not be as bad off as you think.


    And if you stay otherwise healthy, you might go on for some time. The body has a remarkable ability to adapt. Sure, you might not be able to do as much or to do it without considerable effort anyway, but if you are on continuous supplemental oxygen (as I'm sure you are), it can help keep your lungs going and improve the quality of your life considerably.


    Ultimately, you'll want to talk with your doctor about your personal health situation. That's where you'll be able to get the most clarity, as he/she knows you and your health history.


    • ET1961
      July 30, 2015
      July 30, 2015
      I'm actually NOT on continuous O2. Shud I be? My pulmonologist did say that I MAY be able to recover 5% if I stop smoking. I plan to do just that. I've been a smoker since age 16 or b4... Maybe closer to 15. I have tried to quit b4, but it didn't take. I guess I have no choice now because I actually WANT to live now. (I didn't when I began smoking. I just got hooked instead) Just how long might I be able to go on. I was just diagnosed with both asthma and emphysema. Sux, yes. But, I knew about the risks even a decade ago but it didn't seem too important to me at the time. I see things differently now that I've remarried 4 years ago. I wish it hasn't taken so long to feel worthy of life. But, no time to grieve over past and all that now. Ought I to ask about O2? I see my doc again in 3 months. I'm also an A. S. sufferer and am on Duexis 800/26.6 (800mg ibuprofen with 26.6mg famotidine to coat my stomach) as an anti-inflammatory, and morphine sulfate-one 30mg tablet up to 4x/day, and 100mg Lyrica one every 12 hours, and Trazodone 100mg to take at night to help me sleep. I can't fall asleep any more. So I asked my doc for something. That's what he gave me. I still find myself up some nights well past when I ought to have been asleep. READ MORE
    • samelungs55
      January 10, 2016
      January 10, 2016
      My lungs have hovered at 30 - 35 for years. I am not on continuous oxygen, although I do sleep with it sometimes. Own a business (for years,) live on a farm, work with foster kids and have many 4 legged children. Continue to take ballet, although I don't have the stamina for the advanced classes anymore. But that's ok. At 55, there are many more things I know God wants me to do, and He's guided with with this defective gene for years. He can do a lot with a little. If you don't think so, just read about what Jesus did with the 5 loaves and 2 fish. :-) (Matt.14:13) Carrot juice, lots of water plus exercise are my secret weapons. If I had been more consistent with these 3 in my 40's, (when CF started to show up) my lungs would have stayed higher, I'm convinced. (Career came first in those days.) My message to younger folks: don't give up, don't just sit down. You can do this, and even raise your pft's. Remember, treatments are good, iv's get rid of the infection, but you have to do something to help your lung tissue fight and in some cases regenerate. Carrot juice (as the base, add an apple and veggies) every single day and you'll see less congestion and more energy. And don't forget WATER. 4 bottles a day. Then get moving. As Kathi said, the body has a remarkable ability to adapt. And by design, it will try to heal itself, but you have to give it the raw materials. Just like building a house. It's not too little, and it's not too late. :-) READ MORE
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  • dabardi January 06, 2011
    January 06, 2011

    Hey, I have less than that and it's been over 10 years.  I,ve been on oxygen the whole time, stopped smoking immediately after first the hospitalization, and don't work. When I first became really disabled just walking to the bathroom was almost impossible. I built up my strength by walking on the treadmill and doing things around the house despite all the offers of help.  There were 2 years recently that I didn't walk and was on Prednisone for 10 months.  I lost a good amount of my stamina.  My strength is back up from walking every morning for at least 15 min and have reached 40+ minutes quite a few times.  I do drink wine at night and I only go to the Dr. once maybe twice a year. Yes, our bodies are all different. I think I've had my best times when there is some progress in my daily life.  In the beginning, doing the dishes or cooking anything was a miracle to me.  Now, I actually laugh a lot. Changing the  sheets is still a breathless chore but that's when husbands earn their keep!

    • Joann Shaffer
      June 02, 2011
      Joann Shaffer
      June 02, 2011

      So good to read your reply. I just posted at 18% and still work also.  Have

      supplemental oxygen and do my housework, slowly, and still do much of the

      activities I have always done, with the exception of walking fast,tugging and

      pulling very much. I find it helpful to go to a store that offers carts for shopping.

      These are a lifesaver.  Also, treadmill and upper body exercises are good, too.

      Thanks, Joann Shaffer

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  • Andora January 01, 2011
    January 01, 2011

    Hi Kathy,


    Just to let you know, I am at 26% and have been under 30% for over 5 years.  I still work full time, although I am getting ready to retire soon.  I lead a full life with work, friends, and community interests. 


    We are all very different, so your progression with COPD may be very different than mine.  Just do what you can to improve your odds i.e., don't smoke, push a little each day with the exercise, and take all your meds as prescribed. 


    Good luck!

    • mfr4
      December 20, 2013
      December 20, 2013



      What kind of work do you do? I'm at 38% and scared. I have BOS, not COPD. It may stabilize, but I can't immagine having a semi-normal life....

      I want to be alble to:

      1. Climb stairs (4 flights)

      2. Walk 1-2hrs +

      3. Not need oxygen 


      The docs don't answer my questions at all, so I have no clue.

    • JorgeL59
      June 24, 2014
      June 24, 2014

       Hi just saw this web page. Could see people like me here (well better than me actually). I am a 55 year old male. Have had ASthma all my life. Make a long story short for the last 4 years have been told I have like 20% ling capacity.

       Since I have had ASthma all my life didn't pay too much attention to it.

       Till recently have been told that is not good.

        I see some people on here are living with 26% Lung capacity.

        I wonder if anyone could talk with me.

        My eMail is

       Keep up the good work Kathy..


        THanks for your time



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  • oken1 March 13, 2015
    March 13, 2015
    Generally speaking younger people can adapt better to a lower lung capacity than older people. The cause of the deficiency & rate of decline are very important. My decline from 70% to 40% in 1 year due to an auto-immune disease was punctuated with a dbl lung transplant. Hopefully ur looking into having an evaluation by a transplant center pulmonologist soon. Lung transplants are last resort, but you have to be healthy enough to pass at least 23 medical tests prior to getting on the list. READ MORE
  • russwin September 12, 2012
    September 12, 2012

    I'm at 30%, & have found the best for me is lots of exercise. I swim,run & cycle, exercising every day. I completed an Ironman event in may this year, 3.8k swim, 180k bike ride & 42.2 k run, the more I do the better I feel !




  • vicki kessel July 13, 2012
    vicki kessel
    July 13, 2012

    Vicki Kessel,

         Hi everyont I am at 30 %, and all of your posts give me some hope. 

     I Love to work in my Garden but have a wagon to carry my supplies. housework is a challenge, especially changing the sheets.     

         I would love to know if any of you take medication that helps in any way?

    My Screen name is Please feel free to contact me Thank you all.

  • cynthiazimmerman November 04, 2016
    November 04, 2016
    I have a pulmonary embolism in both lungs. Knocked the right lung out of commission and the left one is only working at 30%. I am very tired and out of breath most of the time. Can't do much. I was referred to a pulmonary specialist but haven't seen him yet. Hopefully he will have some ideas. My Internist said that my organs might start shutting down after a while, plus the strain on the heart will eventually catch up to me. So I don't know what the outcome will be. I just take one day at a time. I'm a non smoker (thank goodness) 61 year old female, with no other health problems. READ MORE
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