What is Emphysema?

Emphysema is damage to the walls of your lungs. Your lungs contain air sacs technically known as alveoli. In a normal lung there are more than 300 million alveoli. The alveoli look like little clusters of grapes which hold the air. With emphysema, these little clusters weaken and eventually break down causing one large area that traps air which keeps lungs from properly expelling air as they should.

How do I get Emphysema?

The main cause of emphysema is smoking.

What are the symptoms?

The symptom of Emphysema is shortness of breath. but it can takes years for you to notice. You start to avoid certain things that cause you shortness of breath. Eventually, you will notice shortness of breath when you are at rest. When you notice you can’t do the things you once did, you get short of breath when climbing the stairs, you have trouble thinking clearly or you notice your lips or fingernails are turning blue, It’s time to see your Primary Care Physician.

What is the treatment?

Emphysema cannot be cured, but there are treatments available to make you feel better and slow the progress of the disease. There are drugs to help with coughing and shortness of breath, but not all are effective with emphysema. Inhaled steroids and antibiotics may also help. Your Doctor will inform you what is available and the side effects. Therapy may also help with this disease, which includes nutrition, pulmonary therapy and supplemental oxygen. Surgery may help with lung function and in some cases a lung transplant is recommended.

Will I get better?

While there is no cure for Emphysema, with proper treatment and therapy the progress of the disease may be slowed.

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