Emphysema is a lung condition that causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysematous lungs, the air sacs in their bodies are damaged and weaken over time due to an accumulation of fluid between their layers (pulmonary edema). It becomes challenging for fresh oxygen-rich air to enter when you exhale because there’s no room left within your alveoli. This would typically collapse upon itself when breathing out, sending more than enough unwanted old stagnant atmosphere back into our bloodstreams without allowing any new breathable space to become available again through expansion during the exhalation cycle. This means emphysema sufferers often suffer from a lack of oxygen and overworked heart and respiratory systems.
What Causes Emphysema?
Emphysema is a condition that occurs when the respiratory system becomes damaged due to long-term exposure to irritants like cigarette smoke. There are many causes for this problem in the United States alone, including pipe smoking and other forms of tobacco products like cigars or marijuana cigarettes, which can cause it too if you inhale them. At the same time, they’re being smoked out loud without protection from secondhand smoke in a room where someone else has been vaping either hemp waxes mixed with glycerin anhydrous oil at high temperatures under pressure. This, however, may be rare since most alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency emphysema is caused by mutations in the SERPINA1 gene, which produces alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT), a protein found in the alveolar lining fluid.
Emphysema is a disorder that can be present for many years without causing any symptoms. The main sign of emphysema in someone with the condition will be shortness of breath. This usually begins gradually and becomes more severe over time until it interferes with daily tasks or even sleeping at night due to an inability to restfully breathe while resting on one’s powers alone. It is because there isn’t enough air coming into your lungs from outside sources, such as cigarette smoke inside buildings. This is where people tend to work during regular business hours and spend much more time sitting down doing nothing outdoors when weather permits. Therefore affecting both home-based workers and emphysema sufferers’ ability to work in the business world that requires much more effort to complete even the most menial tasks. It is because they’re not getting enough oxygen intake to function properly without help from someone else who’s able to keep an emphysema sufferer alive by breathing for them until they die.
Other emphysema symptoms may include the following, according to emphysemaview.com:
– shortness of breath, especially after physical activity
– increased effort or breathing when you speak or cough
– bluish tinge on the lips and fingernails due to a lack of oxygen reaching their tissues.
– chronic bronchitis that goes along with emphysema
– wheezing, a high-pitched whistling sound when breathing
– sufferers have low oxygen levels in their blood.
Who Is Susceptible to Emphysema?
The following are some of the risk factors for emphysema:
Smoking: The main risk factor for emphysema is smoking or using tobacco to smoke. Up to 75% of people who have this condition are also smokers, so it’s essential to try and quit, but if you’re currently addicted as well–that will make your symptoms worse without treatment!
Exposure to various lung irritants for an extended period: Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as secondhand smoke or air pollution, can be harmful to your health. These ingredients are known to cause inflammation in the respiratory system, resulting in long-term effects on mental capacity and even death!
Age: Emphysema is not something that only affects the elderly. The average age of people who develop this lung disease is 40, but some cases have been reported at all stages of life, including childhood obesity and pregnancy!
Genetics: Some people are just more likely to get sick. Some cases, including alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and smokers with emphysema, have a genetic component that makes them even more susceptible than others who don’t possess these traits!
Pollution both inside and outside the home: Indoor and outdoor pollution can have a negative impact on your health. You may be at risk for emphysema if you breathe in indoor pollutants, such as heating fuel fumes or car exhaust. Being outside is also dangerous with all of the vehicular emissions that are constantly streaming into our atmosphere.
Heart problems: A condition called cor pulmonale can occur when emphysema leads to an increase in the pressure of the arteries that connect the heart and lungs. This causes a section of our organs, such as those near or around our neck (the carotid), wrist (radial), and ankle/foot region (mediae), to be expanded due to its increased workload. This may result in shortness of breath because these parts aren’t designed for maximum airflow like other areas where air flows freely without obstruction.
Lung collapse: A collapsed lung can be life-threatening in people who have severe emphysema because the function of their lungs is already compromised. This is uncommon but serious when it occurs.
Lungs with large holes: emphysema is a progressive disease that often leads to the development of bullae. These empty spaces in your lungs can be as large and dangerous, if not more so, than any other health issue with emphysematous tendencies, such as near-total obliteration or collapse from bronchiectasis.
Treatments For Emphysema
Emphysema is a condition that requires constant management. It’s not curable but can be treated with medications and IPPV therapy for symptoms, as well as slowed down by the disease itself or its complications, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Treatment options include:
- For people with emphysema, quitting smoking is one-way. People with emphysema deal with their condition and improve their quality of life in general by protecting themselves and those around them from secondhand smoke exposure.
- It’s not always easy to avoid secondhand smoke and other lung irritants when you go outside. Sometimes people can get sick even if they think their air is clean, so the best thing we could all do for ourselves would be to make sure our homes are smoke-free!
- One of the most important things you can do for your overall wellness is to eat well. A good start would be to consult with a nutritionist or dietician about what kinds of meals could work best for taste and health purposes, then get in some physical activity every day!
Oxygen therapy is a life-saving treatment for those with severe emphysema and low oxygen levels in their blood. In some cases, it may only be necessary to use this device at certain times instead of everyday annoyances like before bedtime or when you’re sedentary for an extended period.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that helps improve the well-being of people who have chronic breathing problems. It may include:
- Training in disease management
- Psychological counseling
- A workout regimen
- Nutritional counseling
The best way to prevent emphysema is by not smoking. Some of the most significant lung irritants that can cause this disease are secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes, which you should try to avoid at all costs! Avoid dust, too, since it is also known as a significant trigger for emphysema symptoms.
Hunterdon Pulmonary & Sleep Associates has a team of experts to help you with your pulmonary and sleep needs. We offer a variety of services, including diagnostic testing, treatment for asthma or COPD, treatments for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and general respiratory care. Our physicians are board-certified in pulmonology. Contact us today at 908-237-1560 if you have any questions about our practice or want more information on how we can serve you!