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Emphysema is caused by tissues deteriorating in the lungs.

What is Emphysema?

There is no cure for emphysema however, it does have available treatments. It is a devastating illness for thousands of people and their families. Emphysema’s history can be changed today. Emphysema is a lung disease caused by tissues deteriorating in the lungs. This decreases the lung's ability to draw in enough oxygen for the body.

Who gets Emphysema?

Those infected with emphysema are mostly men between the age of 50 and 70. Men are more prone to emphysema than women. Because women are smoking more and more often and at an earlier age the statistics are gradually changing. Most people who have emphysema are chronic smokers. Other people who have emphysema contracted it because they live in an area with thick air pollution. A few people are born with not enough alpha-1 antitrypsin, which increases their chance of getting emphysema earlier in life.

How Emphysema Attacks

Emphysema develops gradually. The person with emphysema will initially have bad colds in the winter, of which a constant symptom is a heavy cough. Also they may be diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. The cough may develop between colds into a chronic cough.

How is Emphysema treated?

To slow down the progression of emphysema, in order to commence treatment of emphysema, the patient must quit smoking. Doctors may prescribe various bronchial dilating medications to treat an asthmatic component (see asthma section) that often co-exists with emphysema. Antibiotics can assist in curing acute chest infections. Oxygen therapy may be beneficial for patients, mostly when exercising but also on a constant basis.

The minority of patients who have been diagnosed with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, there are infusions of alpha-1 antitrypsin accessible to be taken weekly. Unfortunately the alpha-1 antitrypsin infusions are very costly and it is unknown if this uncommon form of emphysema is treatable any other way. Physicians may recommend a cardio workout or refer the patient to a respiratory rehabilitation program.

Preventing Emphysema

It is still unknown if there is a way to preclude emphysema. Research is constantly being conducted to answer a growing number of questions about emphysema. Cigarette smoking is a specified cause, and quitting smoking can help stop the growth and development of emphysema. Air pollution is another known cause, and the control of air pollution can help.

The currently available medicine can slow the development of emphysema if the medications are prescribed in the early stages of emphysema. The doctor’s immediate concerns of the patient would be to resolve any infection or irritation of a patient’s respiratory system, because this is an ideal starting point for emphysema.

If Emphysema concerns you, you should know:

  1. 1. Emphysema may be a severe disease. It destroys your lungs. It can injure your heart. You can’t treat it yourself. See a doctor the moment you think you are developing any symptoms of emphysema.
  2. 2. DON’T SMOKE! The majority of the people who contract emphysema are people who smoke a lot. If you continue smoking after your diagnoses it will worsen your condition.
  3. 3. If you have emphysema you may develop problems in your stomach. If you feel you may be experiencing these abdominal problems, contact your doctor.
  4. 4. Exercise helps prevent emphysema and also helps quicken your rate of recovery.
  5. 5. Locations with polluted air are extremely bad for those diagnosed with emphysema. Unfortunately it may be impossible to escape the polluted air, so do your best to not subject yourself to further pollution.
  6. 6. Visit your doctor at the start of any cold or other respiratory infection

Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner.

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