According to a new study, the the functionality of lungs can be well analysed based on the things we are exposed to in our early days. Scientists have long known a test called forced expiratory volume in 1 second, or FEV 1, is an effective measure of lung function and predictor of morbidity and death. While FEV 1 tends to decline with age, investigators have speculated factors like exposure to tobacco smoke during childhood and early asthma may lead to faster declines.
Researchers assessed FEV 1 in around 4,000 men and women between ages 19 and 32, then followed them up until age 40. All of the participants provided information regarding family smoking status, early diagnosis of asthma, early initiation of smoking, adult asthma, and cigarette smoking.
Results showed smoking at an early age was related to a faster decline in FEV 1. Having family members who smoked led to early development of asthma, which may also be linked to faster declines in FEV 1 by encouraging adverse smoking behaviors. FEV 1 declines were 8.2 percent in people without asthma who had never smoked, 10.1 percent in asthmatics who did not smoke, and 11.5 percent in people who smoked 15 or more cigarettes a day at the beginning of the study. Among people who had asthma and also smoked heavily, the rate of decline was 16 percent.
The researchers believe exposure to cigarette smoke early in life and other factors may damage growing lungs and lead to faster declines in FEV 1 over time.