This illness affects the lungs of people who are heavy smokers. Hence, it is an illness that belongs to a group of diseases. It is almost the same as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. People who develop this lung illness has it for life. Also, it is not irreversible, so one must stop smoking. Pulmonary emphysema can damage the wall of the lungs. This wall is very important for us to breathe normally. Also, it is important for the transport of oxygen in different parts of the body.
Who is can get the illness?
It is an illness that is very common in me than in women. Also, men smoke more cigarettes, according to statistics. Men ages 50 to 70 years old usually develop it.
1. Emphysema symptoms
People who smoke usually experience similar signs. For instance, coughing, chest pain, and mucus are some. Often, signs will not quickly show. It can happen once half of the lungs are destroyed. Once it happens, a person may experience shortness of breath. Also, some may feel very tired. Also, people with this illness can develop other lung diseases. It is good to see a doctor once these emphysema symptoms come out quickly:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Long term cough
- Increase mucus
Also, look after for signs of the later stage like:
- Worse case of cough, mucus, and wheezing
- Repeat case of lung infections
- Weight loss
- Bluish lips
- Sleep problems
2. Relation to COVID 19
Medical doctors worry about the effect of the COVID 19 on people with pulmonary emphysema. People with the illness must look after the signs of the new infection. Hence, several signs are the same as this lung illness. However, a high fever is not a usual sign. So, patients are advised to talk to their doctor in case of a high fever. The following are important steps to avoid getting a new illness.
- Always wash your hands
- Avoid getting close to other people
- Do not hold the face
- Wear face mask especially in public places
- Avoid attending gatherings
Also, additional advises are:
- Get enough supply of medicines for 30 days
- Stock food and other important items
- Always check if you help in breathing
- Make a plan in case of worse symptoms
Generally, stages are according to the sign and seriousness of the condition of a person. Also, doctors can do a breathing test to know the condition of your lungs.
- Stage 1 very mild and 80% normal
- Stage 2 moderate and 50 to 80% normal
- Stage 3 severe and 30 to 50% normal
- Stage 4 very severe and less than 30% normal
These stages can help doctors to explain the seriousness of the illness. However, it cannot say how long one can live. Some doctors can do other tests to find out more about the illness.
The number one emphysema cause is cigarette smoking. However, there are 25% of people who also got an illness even without smoking.
Some get the illness because of family background. Also, one can get it from a poor environment. If you have a relative who smokes, then you can also develop the illness. The quality of air is another big issue.
Moreover, having smaller airways in the lungs can develop the illness. Good thing it is not passed on to other people.
5. Possible Treatment
It is important to remember that these treatments are not a cure. However, it can help people get a better life.
The most useful drug for it is taken through the nose. Hence, it can help people feel better after. The drug can relax the airways, making it easier for one to breathe. Also, if used every day, it can improve the lungs. One can choose from long and short-acting drugs. Some doctors can give both depending on the person’s signs.
Change of Bad Habit
People can do actions to increase their quality of life and decrease the seriousness of the illness. The sooner you change the bad habits, the better it is for your health. One can try to:
- Stop smoking
- Avoiding places with poor air quality
- Exercise everyday
- Eating healthy foods
- Drinking a lot of water
- Cover nose when the weather is cold
- Practice deep breathing
There is also a treatment program for people with this illness. Once you know more about your emphysema causes, it is easier to change. Charging bad habits may not cure it, but it helps you get better.
There will come a time when your breathing becomes very hard. Hence, you might need the help of oxygen. The doctor can ask you to use it at night. There are different devices available, like large tanks or handy kits for traveling.
For serious cases, a doctor may tell you to get surgery. However, some problems can arise after surgery. Your doctor can help you decide if it is a good idea or not.