What You Need To Know About Emphysema

Our lungs are made of small air sacs called alveoli that facilitate efficient exchange of carbon monoxide and oxygen in the blood. When the lining of these air sacs become weak, it may rupture and form bigger air sacs. Bigger air sacs would cause the lungs to diffuse less oxygen into the blood. Once you exhale, bigger air sacs can also make it difficult for your lungs to expel old air, which could fill up the air sac and leave no room for gas exchange. This condition is called emphysema.

It is not easy to notice signs and symptoms emphysema until in its further stage. Typically, a person with emphysema experiences shortness of breath. As the disease progresses, the patient may have difficulty in breathing even while at rest. Decreased mental alertness, discolored fingernails and lips, and weakness may also tell you that not enough oxygen is reaching your tissues. Tests such as lab examinations, imaging tests and lung function tests, are recommended to diagnose emphysema and determine its severity.

Although smoking is the leading cause of emphysema, outdoor pollution, such as vehicle emissions, has also been associated with this disease. Unfortunately, not all vehicle manufacturers take the business of reducing exhaust pollutants very seriously. In fact, some even chose to defraud the system. According to the website of lawyers from The Driscoll Firm, Volkswagen has intentionally sold hundreds of thousands of cars installed with software that could lower the amount of mono-nitrogen oxides emitted by the car during an emissions test.

Although the damages caused by emphysema are irreversible, there are available drugs and treatments that can slow the progression of the disease. Inhaled steroids and bronchodilators, for instance, may help in shortness of breath; while antibiotics may help you fight against lung infection.

To prevent emphysema, you should not smoke or make yourself exposed to second-hand smoke. If you are currently smoking, you may consult with your doctor about the possible ways on how to quit. You should also wear protective mask when outside a polluted road or when working with dust or chemical fumes.

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