Some Emphysema insights


A very commonly known lung disease is emphysema.

It is affecting millions of people each year and causes shortness of breath and reduces your ability to take part in physical activities. The most common cause of emphysema is smoking but not all people who contract it are smokers.

Emphysema causes damage to the small air sacs and the tiny airways in the lungs. This damage will obstruct the airways when you breathe, blocking breathing and making it difficult to breathe and painful to exhale.

Chronic Emphysema

Emphysema is a progressive disease which means it gets worse over time. The longer you have it, especially if untreated and if you continue to smoke, the worse it will get. When emphysema becomes advanced, the person will have to work very hard to be able to breathe out. Expelling air can become a difficult task in itself. The bad thing about emphysema is that since it develops over many years, many people don’t notice significant symptoms until the disease has already progressed beyond repairs.

How to identify emphysema symptoms

What are some signs and symptoms of emphysema?

The most obvious signs are usually shortness of breath and a reduced ability for physical activity. Other symptoms may include a chronic, mild cough, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fatigue. Symptoms will worsen over time. At the first suspicious signs of symptoms or that something is wrong, you should seek the assistance of a professional. There are certain tests that can be performed to help determine if you may be suffering from emphysema and also to see what kind of damage there is to the lungs.

The Emphysema Stages

There are four stages of emphysema:

At-risk, which would be characterized by a chronic cough and sputum production.

Mild emphysema, during which there might be a mild reduction of airflow a chronic cough and some sputum production.

Moderate emphysema features a noticeable reduction in airflow and shortness of breath when working hard, walking fast, or doing other mildly strenuous activity. At this stage of emphysema, a person usually often begins to feel the need to see a doctor.

Severe emphysema is characterized by severe airflow and breathing limitations. Complications like respiratory failure or signs of heart failure may even develop. Quality of life can be greatly greatly reduced and the condition may even be life threatening.

Care and Prevention

Prevention is an important part of lung care and avoiding emphysema. The more you learn about how to take care of your lungs, eat healthy and avoid harmful chemicals such as cigarette smoking, the better your lungs will be and the better your overall health will be. If you have questions or concerns about emphysema or your own lung health, speak with a qualified health professional right away to learn more about how you can improve your lung health and quality of life.

There are certain circumstances that can increase your risk factor of obtaining emphysema. Some of these risk factors include age (those 50-60 may first experience tobacco-related symptoms), exposure to secondhand smoke, exposure to certain indoor and outdoor pollutants, and exposure to chemical fumes from your job, hereditary exposure (if someone in your family has emphysema), HIV infection and certain connective tissue disorders.

If you are at risk and then experience shortness of breath, frequent breathing trouble and difficulty with physical activity, it is important to see your doctor for a series of tests to determine the cause and possible treatment if you do have

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 24th August 2009


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