Emphysema is a lung condition that causes patients to experience progressive shortness of breath. This condition causes damage to the small sacs in the lungs that fill with air, called alveoli. As the condition progresses, the alveoli inner walls become too weak and burst. Emphysema is caused by long term exposure to irritants in the air, including marijuana smoke, tobacco smoke, chemical fumes, air pollution, and chemical dust. Some individuals develop emphysema due to an inherited protein deficiency called alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency. Diagnosis of emphysema is made with a physical examination, x-rays, blood tests, CT scans, spirometry, and lung function tests. Treatment of an individual affected by emphysema may include inhaled steroids, antibiotics, bronchodilators, nutrition therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, supplemental oxygen, lung volume reduction surgery, and lung transplant.
There are multiple serious symptoms of emphysema. Get the full details on each now.
Shortness Of Breath
Emphysema causes the alveoli in the lungs to rupture, which creates a larger space in the tissue that cannot be utilized and less surface area in the lung for the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen. As the disease progresses, these spaces in the lungs become larger and larger. The large space causes old oxygen-poor air to become trapped in the lungs, keeping it from expanding and filling with new air that is rich in oxygen. Shortness of breath is a term used to describe when an individual feels an intense chest tightening sensation, has problems breathing, is starved of air, or feels like they are being suffocated. It is also commonly referred to as dyspnea in the medical community. Healthy individuals usually only experience shortness of breath when they are engaging in very strenuous exercise, are morbidly obese, are in extreme temperatures, or are at a higher altitude. Emphysema patients experience shortness of breath because they have less surface area in the lungs to facilitate the transfer of oxygen into their blood.
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