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Pulmonary emphysema: symptoms, causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Emphysema is a type of disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary (COPD), in which the alveoli are enlarged permanently, making it difficult for respiratory function. When a person suffers from pulmonary emphysema, more air enters the alveoli. When trying to expel it, the blood cannot be adequately oxygenated due to the narrowing of the airways. This disease is chronic, and the damage that occurs is irreversible. At FastlyHealwe, explain the symptoms, causes, and treatment of pulmonary emphysema.

Symptoms of pulmonary emphysema

The symptoms of pulmonary emphysema can go unnoticed and progress slowly, so if you are a smoker and are over 40 years old, you must visit your doctor to have a diagnosis in time. The most common symptoms of pulmonary emphysema are:

  • Dyspnea or shortness of breath, especially when doing some physical activity.
  • Cough with phlegm, which appears in the morning. This symptom tends to get worse if it is not treated in time.
  • Wheezing sounds when breathing product of the accumulation of phlegm.
  • Due to the weakening of the respiratory system, the person is more prone to contracting infections.

Other symptoms are:

  • Bluish discoloration of the fingers and toes, nails, and lips.
  • Weightloss.
  • In some cases, there may be overweight, which aggravates the heart situation.
  • Arterial hypertension.
  • Chest pain.

Causes of pulmonary emphysema

There are several causes of pulmonary emphysema; the most common is cigarette smoking; the content of this product damages the alveoli, and passively inhaling tobacco smoke can also cause emphysema.

But other elements can generate this disease:

  • It can be inherited due to a deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin, a chemical that is present in the lungs and that protects the alveoli.
  • I have had illnesses such as chronic bronchitis.
  • Suffer from asthma.
  • You are being of advanced age and being a man.
  • They are being exposed to polluted or smoggy environments, weakening respiratory function.

Types of pulmonary emphysema

Pulmonary emphysema is divided into two types:

  • Centroacinar emphysema: the damage is located in the upper part of the lung; the leading cause is tobacco; it affects the bronchi and is associated with chronic bronchitis.
  • Panacinar emphysema: it is located in the lower part of the lungs and is caused by a low level of alpha -1 antitrypsin. The alveoli are more affected than the bronchi.

Remember that the earlier pulmonary emphysema is diagnosed, the better the treatment results. A pulmonologist is a specialist who will be in charge of diagnosing and offering you the appropriate treatment for your condition.

Treatment for pulmonary emphysema

The purpose of treatment for pulmonary emphysema will be to prevent further lung damage. However, pulmonary emphysema has no cure and is irreversible. The first step is to stop smoking; the medications administered will depend on the age and severity of the respiratory obstruction and related diseases. Bronchodilators and antibiotics are usually prescribed, and pulmonary rehabilitation is recommended.

Oxygen therapy is another treatment that will help decrease the patient’s suffocation, clean the blood, and reduce heart failure. The pulmonary rehabilitation will allow the patient to be independent and improve their performance on everyday tasks.

Prevent pulmonary emphysema

Smoking will be the first step in preventing pulmonary emphysema by avoiding exposure to the leading risk factor. In the same way, other healthy practices will allow you to reduce the chances of suffering from this disease.

  • Exercise daily.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Do not expose yourself to irritants.
  • Avoid being around people who smoke.
  • If you smoke, consult your doctor for an alternative to quit smoking.

Care for a person with pulmonary emphysema

In case you have been diagnosed with pulmonary emphysema, we give you the following recommendations:

  • Improving your breathing will be vital to conserving your energy, so it is advisable to practice exercises such as climbing stairs or to use the exercise bike.
  • Warm-up before exercising.
  • Get a flu shot every year.
  • Stay hydrated, it is suitable for your health, but it will help you cough up.
  • If you feel any discomfort when practicing any exercise, consult your doctor.
  • Eat a low-fat diet high in vegetables, greens, and olive oil.
  • Avoid foods such as eggs and dairy, as these increase secretions from the lungs.
  • Do not stop using oxygen during or after eating; this is a waste of energy and will help you recover and improve your digestion.
  • Steam your food.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Pulmonary Emphysema: symptoms, causes, and treatment, we recommend entering our Lung and respiratory tract category.

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