To delineate the pattern of pulmonary function abnormalities and associated pathophysiologic mechanisms in young smokers, 205 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 25 were studied with a variety of pulmonary function tests. Differences between male and female smokers were observed. Pulmonary function abnormalities consistent with small airway dysfunction were noted in male smokers, but not in female smokers. Decreased forced expiratory flows at high lung volumes suggesting large airway dysfunction were noted in both male and female smokers. Decreases in diffusing capacity for CO consistent with abnormalities of the pulmonary vascular system were seen in smokers of both sexes, but were more prominent in females. Because men develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease more frequently than do women even when adjustments for smoking are made, and because women develop primary pulmonary hypertension more frequently than do men, these chronic diseases may reflect distinct pathophysiologic responses of the 2 sexes to agents such as cigarettes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine