Emphysema symptoms can be managed to slow its progression. Emphysema is a respiratory disease, which often times leads to the collapse of the lung.
Emphysema can not be cured but emphysema symptoms can be managed so as to give the person a better quality of life. Continue reading to known more about the causes of emphysema, risk factors, complications, and medications.
Emphysema risk factors
EMPHYSEMA | Emphysema symptoms
Emphysema is a condition whereby the alveoli in your lung becomes damaged and inflamed, resulting in breathlessness, present of air in the body tissues. Emphysema is also one of the diseases that is collectively known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema.
One of the major causes of emphysema is prolonged exposure to irritating agents like;
- Tobacco smoke
- Marijuana smoke
- Air pollution
- Manufacturing fumes
- Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
- Collapsed lung
- Fracture of the facial bone
- Ruptured bronchial tube
- Ruptured oesophagus
- Blunt force trauma to the lungs
- Breathing in hard substances like cocaine
- Chemical burns of the oesophagus
- Boerhaave’s syndrome
- Gunshot wounds to the lungs
- Stabbing wound to the lungs
- Medical conditions like; endoscopy, endotracheal intubation, and bronchoscopy
- Infections like gas gangrene
EMPHYSEMA RISK FACTORS
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing emphysema such as:
- Smoking:Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing emphysema.
- Age also plays a role in emphysema, since lung damage is a gradual process , it is always at the ages of 40 and 60 that emphysema symptoms begin to manifest.
- Exposing yourself to second-hand smoke. This can also be called passive or environmental tobacco smoke. You get it when you inhale the smoke from someone else’s cigarette, pipe or cigar, which increases your risk of developing emphysema.
- Exposure to fumes or dust in your way place.
- Exposing yourself to indoor and outdoor pollution: such as; fumes, car exhaust.
There are some complications associated emphysema, such as;
- A collapsed lung (pneumothorax). This is a serious complication of emphysema which can be life-threatening since the function of the lungs is already altered.
- Heart problems.Emphysema increases the pressure exacted on arteries of the heart and lungs.
- Holes in the lungs. This also increases your risk of developing pneumothorax.
The major symptom of emphysema includes;
- Shortness of breath
- pale lips and fingernails with exertion
- Mentally dull
Emphysema is known to four levels or stages:
- Mild stage or Stage 1
- Moderate or Stage 2
- Severe or Stage 3
- Very severe or Stage 4: this stage can be characterized by activity intolerance, shortness of breath which keeps getting worse, weight loss as a result of calories burning just for the work of breathing. The people in this stage often require oxygen as a resulting from the chronic respiratory failure.
Subcutaneous emphysema is as a result of air getting into tissues under the skin. This can be found mostly in the skin covering the chest wall, neck, or in other parts of the body. Subcutaneous emphysema can also look like a smooth bulge on the skin, which produces crackling sensation when palpated.
Emphysema cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be managed to slow down the rate of progression. The medications are given based on how severe your symptoms present. The drugs include:
- These are effective in relieving the cough, shortness of breath and breathing problems by relaxing the constricted airways. There are also used in treating asthma or chronic bronchitis.
- These drugs are inhaled as an aerosol and help in reducing shortness of breath. Side effects in prolonged use include; weakened bones risk for high blood pressure, cataracts and diabetes.
- Antibiotics can be used in bacterial infection, like acute bronchitis, pneumonia.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation. This teaches you breathing exercises and techniques that help in improving how you breathe.
- Nutrition therapy.Proper nutrition is important managing emphysema, to lose weight, or gain weight during the last stage of emphysema.
- Supplementary oxygen.Using oxygen regularly during exercise can provide some soothing relief.
- This depends on how severe your emphysema is the surgery can include; Lung volume reduction surgery. Where a small wedge of damaged lung tissue is removed and Lung transplant especially when the emphysema is severe.
HOME REMEDIES TO PREVENT AND MANAGE EMPHYSEMA
There include the following;
- Stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Avoid other respiratory irritants like fumes from paint and vehicle exhaust etc.
- Exercise always, which can help in increasing your lung capacity.
- Stay away from cold air.Cold air causes spasms of the bronchial, which makes it more difficult to breathe.
- Prevent respiratory infections.Get vaccinated against respiratory infections like pneumonia and the flu.