Risk factors for pneumothorax include:

  • Your sex. In general, men are far more likely to have a pneumothorax than are women.
  • Smoking. The risk increases with the length of time and the number of cigarettes smoked, even without emphysema.
  • Age. The type of pneumothorax caused by ruptured air blisters is most likely to occur in people between 20 and 40 years old, especially if the person is a very tall and underweight man.
  • Genetics. Certain types of pneumothorax appear to run in families.
  • Lung disease. Having an underlying lung disease — especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — makes a collapsed lung more likely.
  • Mechanical ventilation. People who need mechanical ventilation to assist their breathing are at higher risk of pneumothorax.
  • A history of pneumothorax. Anyone who has had one pneumothorax is at increased risk of another, usually within one to two years of the first episode.
Mar. 18, 2014

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