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Doctor insights on: What Is Enphysema

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What is emphysema?

What is emphysema?

Lung damage: Destruction of lung tissue from exposure to cigarette smoke. As more lung tissue is destroyed, shortness of breath gets worse, and ultimately the lungs cannot do their job, and the body gets starved of oxygen.

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Dr. Sue Ferranti
498 Doctors shared insights

Emphysema (Definition)

A group of lung diseases that block airflow and make ...Read more


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What is emphysema?

What is emphysema?

Breakdown of walls: Of the small air pouches in your lung, called alveoli. When the walls become damaged, the alveoli merge into one larger pouch, decreasing the surface area where gas exchange can occur. Think of this by comparing the surface area of a ballon of equal size to a bunch of grapes. Though individually smaller, there are many grapes in the same volume, so more surface area.

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What is emphysema?

What is emphysema?

Definition...: Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is usually caused by cigarette smoking which damages the lungs leading to this disease. It is an incurable, slowly progressive disease. Once present, treatments are aimed at reducing symptoms and insuring that there is enough oxygen in the body to support it. Smoking cessation is vital to decrease airway inflammation.

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Can emphysema be cured?

Can emphysema be cured?

No: Emphysema is, by definition, a disease characterized by irreversible damage to the lungs. However, there are all degrees of emphysema and the goal of therapy is to ameliorate symptoms, treat complications, and prevent or slow progression.

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Is emphysema inherited?

Is emphysema inherited?

Could be rarely: Most commonly it is from smoking. But some people have Alpha 1 antitruson deficiency they can get emphysema still smoking plays a major role.

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Consequences of emphysema?

Progressive...: Emphysema is a progressive disease and it progresses faster if smoking is continued. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, cough sometimes productive of sputum, decreased oxygen level with increased carbon dioxide level, etc. With progression, the signs and symptoms worsen. COPD can lead to death so smoking cessation is necessary to slow progression. The patient should see doc for therapy.

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How long can emphysema last?

How long can emphysema last?

Life long: Once you have emphysema, it will always be there. Once you lose lung tissue, it is gone forever. That doesn't mean life is over...There are very good treatments, and people with emphysema can life full, productive lives. Best thing is to stop smoking and see a doctor to get treated.

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What is done for emphysema?

Smoking Cessation: The most important thing is to stop the cause, which in the vast majority of cases is smoking-related. Thereafter, treatment focuses on keeping the airways open with medications. There is less room in the lungs (even though they're bigger) for gas exchange, so many of these patients require supplemental oxygen.

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What is end stage emphysema?

What is end stage emphysema?

Chronic Lung Disease: Emphysema is a form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). There are different classifications of COPD. End stage could refer to you needing to use daily medications in order to relieve symptoms of shortness of breath. This could also mean needing to use oxygen. If a physician has mentioned "end stage" it is worth visiting with a lung specialist called a Pulmonologist.

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How can I have gotten emphysema?

How can I have gotten emphysema?

Possibilities...: Most of the time, COPD is caused by smoking, if you are a non-smoker, there are environmental exposures that can contribute so what type of work you do may be relevant. There is also a form of COPD, alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency, which is caused by an enzyme deficiency. This can be diagnosed via a blood test and the enzyme can be replaced so the disease won't progress further.

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Does emphysema have a real effect?

Um?: What? Real effect? Yes. Google "emphysema lung" for all the pictures and microscope slides you need.

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What sort of disorder is emphysema?

What sort of disorder is emphysema?

COPD: Emphysema is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd). It is characterized by chronic obstruction in the airways usually due to smoking. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, etc. The diagnosis is made by an evaluation by a doctor as well as pulmonary function tests. There are treatments available. Smoking cessation is important to prevent further lung damage.

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What are the symptoms of emphysema?

What are the symptoms of emphysema?

Shortness of breath: Typically emphysema causes shortness of breath without wheezing or congestion - just air hunger. There are many causes of this symptom however so testing is required for a proper diagnosis.

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Is emphysema common for nonsmokers?

Is emphysema common for nonsmokers?

No: However, if some one has a genetic predisposition to emphysema, such as alpha-1-antitrypsin disease, then they can develop emphysema. Also, people who are exposed to second hand smoke on a chronic basis can develop emphysema.

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Does emphysema effect older people?

Does emphysema effect older people?

It can....: Empysema is a form of copd, usually a result of cigarette smoking. The more cigarettes you smoke over time, the bigger your risk of developing this disease. So, elderly people who have smoked lots of cigarettes over many years are at high risk of developing this disease.

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Can emphysema affect small children?

Yes: 3% of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit can have interstitial pulmonary emphysema. There is a genetic condition that causes low levels of an enzyme that protects the lungs, and these patients can get emphysema even without smoking, but it does not affect small children. (it might be apparent in their 30's or 40's). Thanks @yayayarndiva.

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Can you tell me all about emphysema?

Can you tell me all about emphysema?

Good resource: Check this out from the american lung association: http://www. Lung. Org/lung-disease/emphysema/.

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What are other effects of emphysema?

What are other effects of emphysema?

Breathlessness: Shortness of breath is number 1, but weight loss, susceptibility to infection, and cardiac disease are also possible.

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How long does emphysema take to occur?

Depends...: The time it takes to develop COPD depends on many factors including genetic factors and the amount of cigarettes smoked over time. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke increases your risk of developing this disease. Smoking cessation decreases the risk of developing this disease.

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What is the cause of emphysema in men?

Smoking: Smoking, smoking and smoking. Then there are genetic causes like alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency and rarely occupational exposures. In some parts of the world open pit charcoal burning can cause emphysema.