Health and Fitness

Can You Live With One Lung?

There is a possibility to have one lung, and perform fairly normal.

While the lungs are essential organs of the body certain conditions may result in a person losing the function of their lungs, or even require them to be removed.

However, every person will be unique, and there are specific aspects to consider in each situation dependent on the individual’s lung function and other problems they have.

Read on to find out more.

Do you think you can have a lung?

A person who has one lung can lead an average life.

The lungs are among the major organs of the human body. They’re that are responsible for bringing oxygen into the body and aiding in getting rid of harmful gases each exhale.

Although having two lungs is optimal, it is still possible to function and live without just one lung. One lung can enable a person to live a an average life.

One lung may restrict a person’s physical capabilities however, like the ability to exercise. But there are many athletes who lose ability to use one lung can continue to train and carry on their sports.

The body adjusts to the change in a variety of ways. For instance, the other lung expands to take up the space that is left by the absent lung. As time passes it will develop the ability to make up for the lack of oxygen.

But, they will not be able to use their full lung capacity like they did with two lung capacity, and are likely to have to master the art of slowing down and adjust to the changes.

While most people imagine to be perpetually exhausted or the incapacity to function with one lung, that’s not often the case. One may need to adjust to slowing their normal activities down to some extent however, they can live a fairly normal life even with only one lung.

Risks and hazards

While it is possible to live without a lung there are some risks associated with it.

A study published in The Journal of Cancer notes that pneumonectomy, also known as the procedure to remove one lung is a risky procedure that could lead to complications, and possibly death.

Potential complications that can arise from pneumonectomy are:

respiratory failure

excess bleeding, shock and even shock

abnormal heart rhythms, arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats.

diminished blood flow

blood clots that form in the lung, also known as embolisms in the pulmonary system


The anesthetic used during the procedure is not without risk.

The pneumectomy procedure involves cutting an incision on the body’s side to take out the lung affected.

The empty space that is left after the removal of the lung will be filled up with air. During the recovery process, patients might feel a slight abdominal pressure or pain as the air expands and is absorbed in the body. As time passes, the other lung may expand to fill in some of the space. The empty space will eventually fill up with fluid.

After a successful operation it is possible that a patient may require a few days to fully recuperate. Complete recovery without complications can take several weeks up to months.

After recovering, and possibly even after recovering, the patient will have remain aware of the limitations. They could be required to lower their activities significantly.

Certain things can make a person feel more ill-tempered and make them more susceptible to decreased oxygen levels or falling. Even normal activities like getting up from your bed early each morning getting up from a sitting position, or climbing stairscan cause a person to feel very tired.

Other factors can also influence a person’s risk. For example the general health of their body prior to surgery as well as their age and any other health issues they may have could impact the risk of their particular situation.

Anyone who has a history of smoking cigarettes or having other lung problems which limit lung function should be extra vigilant. They might require additional help to recover and should consult with a physician to better understand the risks they face.

Conditions linked

Many issues could cause a need for the procedure, which includes:

A traumatic injury can occur in the vicinity like the aftermath of a serious car accident


fungal infections

congenital lung disease

issues resulting from smoking


The condition also can put a person at high risk of getting infections frequently

While lung infections were a primary reason for Lung removals in the past it is no longer frequent. In the case of severe diseases that cause extensive destruction or are complicated to cure, lung surgery could be the most effective method of treatment.


For a healthy individual who is otherwise healthy, the removal of a lung shouldn’t cause them to be constrained. Every person must discover their own limits in every situation, because there are no two situations that will be the same.

Anyone with additional issues which affect the lungs, or make it difficult to breathe might find it difficult with one lung more difficult.

The effects of lung disease or a past history of smoking cigarettes can cause sufferers experience symptoms like being winded or having trouble catching their breath.

However, the individual’s perspectives can differ greatly. While it is not recommended for patients to return to full lung function following an operation to remove their lung generally speaking they will be capable of operating normal.

The procedure of removing a lung is usually just one aspect of the treatment plan for a patient. They’ll also have to adhere to other regimens of treatment will impact their outlook.

Therapies like the rehabilitation of the lungs are essential for a person’s recovery as well as general lung function. The doctor may also suggest the patient breathing exercises to practice at home.

Always consult with a physician throughout the healing process to discuss any possible treatments for you, since these treatments can be crucial steps in the recovery process.


There is a possibility of living with only one lung. However, a person’s capacity to exercise may decrease.

The removal of the lung can be a major procedure that involves the removal of one or more parts of the whole lung.

Patients with conditions that affect their lungs might require more careful focus on their individual risk.

The procedure itself is a risks, as is the process of recovery. Individually, a person’s outlook can depend on many aspects, however having one lung shouldn’t affect the lifespan of an individual.

Anyone who might need to undergo lung surgery should consult with a physician prior to the procedure to discuss the various possibilities of the procedure and what life will be like following the procedure.

Rehabilitation procedures for recovery and pulmonary rehabilitation can help to strengthen the rest of the lung and assist people to slowly improve their lung function.

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