BUFFALO, N.Y. - How well your lungs function may predict how long you live.
This finding is the result of a nearly 30-year follow-up of the association between impaired pulmonary function and all causes of mortality, conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo. Results of the study appear in the September issue of Chest.
The UB researchers found that the 20 percent of men with the poorest lung function when the study began were more than twice as likely to have died during follow-up than men with the best lung function. Women in the lowest group were more than 1 1/2 times more likely to have died.
"This observation suggests that those with lower lung function levels may need to pay particular attention to avoid negative effects, such as smoking, on their lungs," said Holger Schnemann, M.D., research assistant professor in the UB Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and led author on the study.
He also suggested that physicians conduct a simple lung function test as part of a routine physical examination.
Schnemann and colleagues analyzed data from the Buffalo Blood Pressure/Erie County Air Pollution-Pulmonary Function Study collected during 1960 and 1961. The original study enrolled 2,273 women and men between the ages of 15 and 96. Researchers collected information on lifestyle factors and health status, including pulmonary function. In 1990, a follow-up study determined which participants had died and their cause of death.
The purpose of the current study was to investigate the association between pulmonary function and mortality for periods that extended past 25 years, the limit of previous studies. Schnemann and colleagues also wanted to determine for how long pulmonary function is a significant predictor of mortality.
After excluding those with incomplete lung-function data and participants who were younger than 20 at baseline, Schnemann and colleagues ended up with 1,119 subjects -- 641 women and 554
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