Emphysema refers to a lung condition in which people experience shortness of breath. The air sacs in the area of lungs become damaged in the people who suffer this condition. The inner sir sacs walls become rupture and weak over time.
Rupturing of walls creates larger paces of air instead of small ones. It reduces your lung’s surface area and the amount of oxygen that is going to reach your bloodstream. Damaged alveoli become unable to work properly when you exhale.
Old air starts trapping and does not leave space for fresh oxygen to enter. Most people who have emphysema suffer from chronic bronchitis. It is the inflammation of tubes that work to carry air into the area of your lungs (bronchial tubes).
It leads to continuous coughing. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two conditions that contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The leading cause of COPD is smoking. Treatment helps to slow down COPD progression.
It also helps you to manage the symptoms of the disease. Moreover, treatment is not able to reverse the damage that occurred in the area of your lungs.
You can have the condition of emphysema for various years without even noticing its symptoms. Breath shortness is the main symptom of emphysema. It starts gradually. People with emphysema start avoiding certain activities that cause breath shortness.
Symptoms are not a big issue until it starts disrupting your daily life tasks. Emphysema leads to breathing shortness even if you are in the resting phase. If you are experiencing the symptom of breath shortness for several months then see your doctor.
You need medical care specifically if your symptoms are getting worse and interfere with your daily life tasks. Do not convince yourself that it is due to aging or something else. Do not leave this condition untreated. You need to go to a doctor if you are unable to climb stairs.
If your fingernails or lips are turning blue then it’s an alarming condition. Tell your doctor if you are not mentally alert.
Long term exposure to different airborne irritants is the main cause of emphysema. Other causes are:
- Air pollution
- Tobacco smoke
- Dust and chemical fumes
- Marijuana smoke
Inherited deficiency of a specific protein that works to protect certain elastic structures in your lungs is the rare cause of emphysema. It is known as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency emphysema.
There are some factors that are involved in the development of emphysema. These factors are given below.
Smoking cigarettes makes you vulnerable to developing the condition of emphysema. Pipe and cigar smokers are susceptible to develop emphysema. Tobacco smoking also enhances the risk of getting other medical conditions.
Damage of lungs that occurs in the condition of emphysema develops slowly. Most people who have tobacco-related emphysema experience its symptoms between the age of forty to sixty years.
Secondhand Smoke Exposure
It is also known as environmental or passive tobacco smoke. It is the smoke that people inhale inadvertently from any other person’s cigarette, cigar, or pipe. Secondhand smoke enhances your risk of getting emphysema.
Occupational Exposure To Dust Or Fumes
If you breathe fumes from different chemicals or dust from mining products, cotton, grain, or wood, you are vulnerable to develop the symptoms of emphysema.
Exposure To Certain Indoor And Outdoor Pollution
Breathing certain indoor pollutants like fumes from heating fuel increases your risk of getting emphysema. Moreover, inhaling outdoor pollutants such as car exhaust also makes you vulnerable to develop the condition of emphysema.
People with emphysema are also vulnerable to develop:
Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax)
A collapsed lung can prove life-threatening for you if you have severe emphysema. The reason is that you already have a severe infection of the lungs. This condition is rare but dangerous when it occurs.
Emphysema enhances the pressure in the arteries that are associated with your lungs and heart. It can lead to a condition known as cor pulmonale. In this condition, a section of the human heart becomes weak and expands.
Large Bones In Human Lungs (Bullae)
Some people who are experiencing the symptoms of emphysema develop certain empty spaces in the area of the lungs that are called bullae. They can grow in size as half of the lung.
To decrease the space available for the expansion of the lung, giant bullae enhances your risk of getting pneumothorax. Keep noticing your symptoms of emphysema and do not leave this condition untreated. It helps you to keep yourself safe from getting serious complications.