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Newly chosen Pope Francis is 2 years younger than Pope Benedict XVI was once he was chosen in 2005, but the 76-year-old indigenous Argentina still contends least one health and wellness issue: He has only one lung.

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Pope Francis, previously known together Cardinal Jorge Bergendergeek.orgglio, had one the his lung removed as soon as he to be a teenager since of an infection, follow to the associated Press.

"Obviously, this to be a success due to the fact that here the is at age 76," said Dr. Wilhelm Schaffner, chairman that preventive medication at Vanderbilt university Medical facility in Nashville, Tenn. "So everything they did gendergeek.orgt him over the precarious period."


Pope Francis is revealed at the Vatican on in march 13, 2013. (Credit: alphabet News)

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Schaffner, a former president the the National structure for transmittable Diseases, stated there space several reasons the new pope might have had his lung removed around six decades

1.) Pope Francis could have had actually tuberculosis.

"Back as soon as he to be a young person, over there was no yet prevalent antibiotic medicine therapy, and it is feasible that he had comprehensive involvement of a lung or part of a lung and had to have actually it removed," Schaffner said. "That was a pretty conventional treatment in the pre-antibiotic medicine era."

2.) He could have had a complication of whooping cough, or pertussis.

"Whooping cough can cause condition of the bronchial tube and also can cause chronic infection," Schaffner said.

3.) He could have had pneumonia and also developed complications.

"Once again, this was before conventional antibiotics were extensively available, and so they may have had to treat this complication with surgical procedure by acquisition out all or part of his lung," Schaffner said.

4.) Finally, he can have been born through a congenital lung defect that gendergeek.orgt infected.

"They can not eradicate the infection and, once again, did not have actually all the antibiotic supportive treatment that we have actually today," Schaffner said. "They just reduced out infection."

Although these infections would have actually been much more common in a middle-aged person than a teenager, Schaffner said they"re the most likely possibilities given the minimal information around the lung removal.

Asked even if it is a person deserve to survive v one lung, Schaffner said, "Easily." - lungs room redundant, so human being who have one gendergeek.orgtten rid of are able come live common lives.

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"Many human being have gendergeek.orgne on to live perfectly common lives, even to communicate in tennis, hiking and jogging with one lung," Schaffner said. "It"s choose being able to live with only one kidney."

But if Pope Francis it s okay a disease, that only has one lung to spare.

As human being age, lock become much more vulnerable to lung infections, such together pneumonia and also bronchitis, according to the national Institutes that Health. People older than 65 are particularly likely to build such infections. Your risk increases if they have preexisting conditions such together a dilute immune mechanism or heart disease.

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"Pneumonia is, in fact, among the an ext common respiratory conditions as girlfriend age," stated pulmonologist Dr. Greg Martin, who teaches in ~ Emory University and specializes in crucial care. "As a issue of fact, it"s one of the more common causes of death."

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Martin claimed there"s very little data around the prognosis of civilization with one lung and also these infections because having one lung is so rare. But he doubt it would be a complicating factor. World with reduced lung capacity, such as those through emphysema, have actually a more difficult time recovering from lung infections because they don"t have actually "reserve" healthy lung volume to assist them breath while the epidemic heals.

"For someone favor him, one lung is a potential complication," that said. "If someone has lessened lung volume - one lung, underlying lung condition - they"re an ext susceptible to more severe pneumonia and much more serious symptom from pneumonia."