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Emphysema Tips

COPD Is Broken Down To Clinical Scenarios - Chronic Bronchitis & Emphysema!

Dr. Indu Bubna 87% (198 ratings)
MD - Physician, Diploma In Tuberculosis & Chest Diseases
Pulmonologist, Mumbai
COPD Is Broken Down To Clinical Scenarios - Chronic Bronchitis & Emphysema!

Chronic Bronchitis is a result of inflamed bronchioles (pipes carrying air to alveoli or balloons) that can produce mucus and lead to coughing and difficulty in breathing. When smoking causes inflammation of the bronchioles, constriction or squeezing takes place. This results in wheezing because air is travelling through narrowed tubes.

Emphysema, in short, is basically a dead lung. As smoke travels farther down your respiratory tract, the air sacs in your lungs (alveoli), start popping out or dying. Your bank of alveoli gets depleted over time as you continue your habits. You will notice as you increase your heart rate whether its by running or walking a flight of stairs this activity requires your red blood cells to move faster through the alveoli and have less time to receive oxygen from the lung. This leads to having less oxygen on red blood cells whose job is to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body.

Symptoms

In COPD, Both the airways(pipes) and lung parenchyma are affected by the disease and airflow limitation is progressive. COPD has been predominantly seen in patients above 40-yearold and frequent smokers.

The symptoms indicative of COPD are as follows:

1) Chronic cough - Also referred to as smoker's cough, the cough is relentless and does not subside with regular cough treatment. This is one of the first indications of COPD.
2) Mucus buildup - There is constant built up of mucus which gets expelled during coughing. The person never feels completely clear of mucus, and the regular cough expectorants do not help relieve the symptoms.
3) Fatigue associated with limited activity - As noted earlier, the reduced capacity of the organs limits their activities. Therefore, regular activities like walking short distances or climbing stairs can induce fatigue.
4) Shortness of breath - The above fatigue is associated with shortness of breath, even with small physical exertion. A person with COPD will see marked tiredness and reduced ability to perform routine chores and feel a tightness in the chest.
5) Wheezing - Passage of air through the obstructed air tubes produces a whistling sound or wheezing. It is more pronounced when there is mucus accumulation in the airways.

Rarely, Frequent respiratory infections, more frequent flu attacks, swelling of the feet and ankles, cardiovascular disease, weight loss, and morning headaches.

Treatment 

While there is no cure for COPD, once it sets, the following are some ways to slow its progression and reduce severity of the symptoms:

1) Bronchodilators - Dilate the air tubes and ease flow of air
2) Corticosteroids - Help reduce inflammation and thereby improve airflow through the tubes
3) Flu vaccination - Helps curb the frequent flu attacks
4) Antibiotics - To contain infections
5) Pulmonary rehabilitation - A combination of breathing exercise and patient education to improve lung function.
6) Oxygen therapy - In very severe cases, oxygen may be required.
7) Lifestyle changes - Eating healthy foods, preventing exposure to dust and smoke, quitting smoking, breathing exercises, bi-annual medical check-ups to monitor lung functions are essential.

Knowing that you have COPD is the first step towards managing COPD, which can be managed effectively.

Treatment of Emphysema!

Dr. Radhika A (Md) 85% (10 ratings)
MD - Acupuncture, Diploma In Accupuncture, Advanced Diploma In Accupuncture
Acupuncturist, Delhi
Treatment of Emphysema!

Treatment of Emphysema

Homeopathic Treatment of Emphysema
Acupuncture & Acupressure Treatment of Emphysema
Psychotherapy Treatment of Emphysema
Conventional / Allopathic Treatment of Emphysema
Surgical Treatment of Emphysema
Dietary & Herbal Treatment of Emphysema
Other Treatment of Emphysema
What is Emphysema
Symptoms of Emphysema
Causes of Emphysema
Risk factors of Emphysema
Complications of Emphysema
Lab Investigations and Diagnosis of Emphysema
Precautions & Prevention of Emphysema
Treatment of Emphysema

Homeopathic Treatment of Emphysema

Homeopathy improves respiratory capacity and function. It treats the person as a whole. Treatment is constitutional. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. It balances the energy system, improves immunity and body functions. It naturally cures the root cause of disorder. Some of the homeopathic medicines for emphysema are:

Ant T
Lobelia
Lach
Hepar
Brom
Am carb 

Acupuncture and Acupressure Treatment of Emphysema

Acupuncture improves energy system and functioning of respiratory system. It has gained worldwide reputation in treatment of emphysema.

Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy Treatment of Emphysema

Psychotherapy and hypnotherapy can help in stress relief. They can help in better coping and early relief.

Conventional / Allopathic Treatment of Emphysema

In the allopathic Treatment of Emphysema, antibiotics are prescribed if you develop a bacterial infection, like acute bronchitis or pneumonia. Other medications prescribed are:

Smoking cessation drugs can help you quit smoking.
Bronchodilators help relieve coughing, shortness of breath
Inhaled steroids may help relieve shortness of breath.

Surgical Treatment of Emphysema

Surgical Treatment of Emphysema includes the following surgeries:

Lung volume reduction
Lung transplant

Dietary & Herbal Treatment of Emphysema

Drink as much water as possible
Avoid foods that encourage the formation of mucus, such as dairy products, red meat, eggs and processed foods
Eat high-fiber foods
Eat foods high in antioxidants such as asparagus, avocados, berries, broccoli, red grapes, red and yellow onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelon.

What is Emphysema?

Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs and occurs when the air sacs in your lungs are gradually destroyed making you progressively more short of breath.

Symptoms of Emphysema

Shortness of breath
Feeling tired (fatigue)
Losing weight without trying

Causes of Emphysema

Cigarette smoking
Air pollution
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency

Risk factors of Emphysema

Smoking
Between the ages of 40 and 60
Exposure to secondhand smoke
Occupational exposure to fumes or dust
Exposure to indoor and outdoor pollution

Complications of Emphysema

Collapsed lung
Large holes in the lungs
Heart problems 

Diagnosis of Emphysema

Diagnosis of Emphysema involves the following tests:

Chest X-ray
CT scans
Blood test
Lung function tests

Precautions & Prevention of Emphysema

Wear a mask to protect your lungs if you work with chemical fumes or dust
Do not smoke
Avoid secondhand smoke
 

Physiotherapy For Emphysema!

Xcell Physiocare 86% (22 ratings)
MSPT (Master of Physical Therapy)
Physiotherapist, Delhi
Physiotherapy For Emphysema!

Emphysema is a lung disease, where the walls of the air sacs are destroyed completely and the lungs lose their elastic gradually. This makes it inconvenient for the person to breathe in/out as the size of the lungs lessens. This, in turn, increases the breathing rate and finally, you may end up with breathlessness. If proper care is not taken, it can also lead to heart enlargement which may further increase your chances of having a heart failure.

Causes of Emphysema:
Some of the common causes of Emphysema are:

  1. Irrespective of whether you are exposed to direct or second-hand smoking, chemical fumes, pollution you can still be affected by Emphysema. Although one of the main and most common reasons for Emphysema is Smoking. The tobacco smoke has almost 4000 chemicals in it. These chemicals will first destroy the airways, then the elastic sacs and finally the elastic fibers.
  2. Another reason for Emphysema is protein deficiency, but this is a very rare reason. Only one or two percent of the people will be affected by Emphysema due to this reason. A protein called AAT deficiency can damage the elasticity of the lung structure and can cause lung damage.
  3. Aging is also a cause of Emphysema. As you grow older, lungs also start aging and hence that can damage the elasticity of the lungs.

Physiotherapy treatment for Emphysema:
When you meet your physiotherapist, you will have a discussion in order to find the actual symptoms of Emphysema. Based on the symptoms, the physiotherapist will analyze how it is affecting your lifestyle.
A physiotherapist will make sure to provide the best and specialized treatment for the symptoms of Emphysema. Your treatment will be decided and started based on the severity of your symptoms.

Breathing techniques:
Your physiotherapist will work on controlling the respiratory rates, Diaphragmatic breathing, reduction of breathing volume and exercises related to relaxation breathing. These techniques will help in retraining your breathing.

Secretion clearance:
The physiotherapist will work on productive and effective coughing techniques, manual assistance which includes shaking and vibrating and postural drainage. They will help in removing the mucus out of the airways as they block the airways. This way you will be able to keep your airways as hygienic as possible. This will also help in reducing any kind of infections that may be caused due to the excessive mucus.

Educating the patients:
Your physiotherapist will help you understand the causes of Emphysema, how the allergens and environment are responsible for it, how to manage your medication and how to identify the possible asthmatic attacks.
With the help of physiotherapy, Emphysema sufferers will be able to lead a normal life as much as possible.

5361 people found this helpful

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Emphysema!

Dr. Brijesh Prajapat 86% (26 ratings)
DM - Pulmonary Med. & Critical Care Med., MD, DNB
Pulmonologist, Ghaziabad
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Emphysema!

Emphysema is a breathing disorder that has no cure and worsens with time. The symptoms of emphysema - a feeling of tightness in the chest, persistent cough, wheezing and breathlessness – are caused due to destroyed or impaired functioning of lung tissue.

Diagnosing Emphysema
A thorough physical examination which would include weight and blood pressure checks would be performed. The doctor would also listen to the heartbeat to determine if it sounds strange or different.

In addition to checking for the signs and symptoms of emphysema, a physical examination would also help the doctor in determining the following:

  • Whether the fingertips are rounded. This condition is also known as “clubbing”.
  • Whether you have a rounded or “barrel chest” which is caused by lungs that are larger than normal.
  • If the lips have a blue tinge also known as cyanosis, which is a sign of low levels of oxygen in the blood.
  • Signs of malnutrition as in advanced cases of emphysema the muscles slowly waste away.

Tests For Emphysema
A doctor would recommend additional tests to confirm his diagnosis of this lung condition. Some of the tests are:

  • Pulmonary Function Tests or PFTs and spirometry tests would be advised to measure the volume and capacity of the lungs.
  • A chest X-ray is useful to diagnose advanced emphysema as the lungs appear larger than normal in patients with this condition.
  • A CT scan of the chest will show the air sacs or alveoli have been destroyed.
  • The blood test report of patients with emphysema would show a high amount of red blood cells. The production of red blood cells in the body increases due to the reduced levels of oxygen.
  • A pulse oximetry test also known as an oxygen saturation test could be done to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood. A monitor would be attached to the patient’s forehead, finger or earlobe to carry out this test.
  • An arterial blood gas test is usually performed on patients as their condition worsens. It measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
  • An electrocardiogram or ECG might be advised to rule out condition such as heart disease as a cause of shortness of breath.

Management and Treatment
There is no known cure for emphysema and the condition can worsen with time. Treatment will slow the speed of decline and will depend on the severity of the condition when diagnosed. Some treatment options are:

  1. Quit smoking to protect your lungs.
  2. Bronchodilator medications used to treat asthma are useful in relaxing the muscles around the airways.
  3. Anti-inflammatory medications reduce inflammation around the airways.
  4. Oxygen therapy is recommended to patients when they are not able to breathe enough oxygen from the air.
  5. In some severe cases, lung volume reduction surgery might be advised to relieve pressure on the muscles required for breathing and to improve the elasticity of the lungs.

Keeping your home clean and free of dust and pollutants will help to prevent respiratory infections and disorders such as emphysema.

1763 people found this helpful

Diagnosis and Management For Emphysema

Dr. Danish Jamal 91% (64 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Diagnosis and Management For Emphysema

Emphysema is a breathing disorder that has no cure and worsens with time. The symptoms of emphysema - a feeling of tightness in the chest, persistent cough, wheezing and breathlessness – are caused due to destroyed or impaired functioning of lung tissue.

Diagnosing Emphysema
A thorough physical examination which would include weight and blood pressure checks would be performed. The doctor would also listen to the heartbeat to determine if it sounds strange or different.

In addition to checking for the signs and symptoms of emphysema, a physical examination would also help the doctor in determining the following:

  • Whether the fingertips are rounded. This condition is also known as “clubbing”.
  • Whether you have a rounded or “barrel chest” which is caused by lungs that are larger than normal.
  • If the lips have a blue tinge also known as cyanosis, which is a sign of low levels of oxygen in the blood.
  • Signs of malnutrition as in advanced cases of emphysema the muscles slowly waste away.

Tests For Emphysema
A doctor would recommend additional tests to confirm his diagnosis of this lung condition. Some of the tests are:

  • Pulmonary Function Tests or PFTs and spirometry tests would be advised to measure the volume and capacity of the lungs.
  • A chest X-ray is useful to diagnose advanced emphysema as the lungs appear larger than normal in patients with this condition.
  • A CT scan of the chest will show the air sacs or alveoli have been destroyed.
  • The blood test report of patients with emphysema would show a high amount of red blood cells. The production of red blood cells in the body increases due to the reduced levels of oxygen.
  • A pulse oximetry test also known as an oxygen saturation test could be done to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood. A monitor would be attached to the patient’s forehead, finger or earlobe to carry out this test.
  • An arterial blood gas test is usually performed on patients as their condition worsens. It measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
  • An electrocardiogram or ECG might be advised to rule out condition such as heart disease as a cause of shortness of breath.

Management and Treatment
There is no known cure for emphysema and the condition can worsen with time. Treatment will slow the speed of decline and will depend on the severity of the condition when diagnosed. Some treatment options are:

  1. Quit smoking to protect your lungs.
  2. Bronchodilator medications used to treat asthma are useful in relaxing the muscles around the airways.
  3. Anti-inflammatory medications reduce inflammation around the airways.
  4. Oxygen therapy is recommended to patients when they are not able to breathe enough oxygen from the air.
  5. In some severe cases, lung volume reduction surgery might be advised to relieve pressure on the muscles required for breathing and to improve the elasticity of the lungs.

Keeping your home clean and free of dust and pollutants will help to prevent respiratory infections and disorders such as emphysema.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

1916 people found this helpful

Emphysema: Stages And Life Expectancy!

Dr. Arun Kanala 89% (10 ratings)
Fellowship In Minimal Access Surgery, M.Ch - Cardio Thoracic & Vascular Surgery
Pulmonologist, Hyderabad
Emphysema: Stages And Life Expectancy!

If you are facing difficulties in breathing, especially in the process of exhaling, you are suffering from emphysema. Emphysema is a condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are damaged and enlarged, causing breathlessness. It occurs as a result of several triggers, smoking being the most common one. Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with this condition struggle to exhale, which implies that there is some obstruction in the air flow. This disease has no permanent cure but by quitting smoking, you can stop it from getting worse.

Stages
The progression and severity of emphysema occurs with the staging systems. The staging of the condition can help in developing a prognosis.

The Gold emphysema staging system
Gold is a major emphysema staging system created by a group known as the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. The amount of air a patient can exhale forcefully in one second is determined during this stage. It is also referred to as the forced expiratory volume or FEV1.

The staging is as follows:

  • Stage 1: Mild emphysema (FEV1 greater than 80% of normal)
  • Stage 2: Moderate emphysema (FEV less than 80%, but more than 50% normal)
  • Stage 3: Severe emphysema (FEV lesser than 50%, but more than 30% normal)
  • Stage 4: Extremely severe emphysema. (FEV lesser than 30% of normal or lesser than 50% normal, with low levels of oxygen in the blood.

The BODE emphysema staging system

The condition affects several abilities. The BODE index, an acronym for BMI (body mass index), obstruction, dyspnea (breathlessness), exercise capacity (health index) is another staging system for emphysema in which the emphysema’s impact on several areas of life are measured. They include the following:

  1. Body mass index (B)
  2. Airflow limitation or obstruction (O), which is measured by pulmonary function tests
  3. Breathless or dyspnea (D), which is assessed thoroughly via a questionnaire
  4. Exercise capacity (E), which is measured to check how long a person with emphysema can walk in a span of six minutes

Life expectancy
The prognosis of emphysema is impossible to be determined in any person individually. The staging system helps to identify the severity of the condition, but the future cannot be predicted. Not many studies have been undertaken for the determination of the effects of emphysema on life expectancy. The best research that has been carried out included around 100 people, which is very less. The condition varies largely among people, even if they are in the same stage.

The statistics available on emphysema are not reliable enough for individuals who wish to know their life expectancy. It is considered that if a patient falls in a higher stage, his/her long-term life expectancy is less.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2991 people found this helpful

Emphysema - Know About Its Different Stages!

Dr. Nikhil Modi 93% (216 ratings)
MD, MBBS
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Emphysema - Know About Its Different Stages!

If you are facing difficulties in breathing, especially in the process of exhaling, you are suffering from emphysema. Emphysema is a condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are damaged and enlarged, causing breathlessness. It occurs as a result of several triggers, smoking being the most common one. Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People with this condition struggle to exhale, which implies that there is some obstruction in the air flow. This disease has no permanent cure but by quitting smoking, you can stop it from getting worse.

Stages
The progression and severity of emphysema occurs with the staging systems. The staging of the condition can help in developing a prognosis.

The Gold emphysema staging system
Gold is a major emphysema staging system created by a group known as the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung disease. The amount of air a patient can exhale forcefully in one second is determined during this stage. It is also referred to as the forced expiratory volume or FEV1.

The staging is as follows:

  • Stage 1: Mild emphysema (FEV1 greater than 80% of normal)
  • Stage 2: Moderate emphysema (FEV less than 80%, but more than 50% normal)
  • Stage 3: Severe emphysema (FEV lesser than 50%, but more than 30% normal)
  • Stage 4: Extremely severe emphysema. (FEV lesser than 30% of normal or lesser than 50% normal, with low levels of oxygen in the blood.

The BODE emphysema staging system
The condition affects several abilities. The BODE index, an acronym for BMI (body mass index), obstruction, dyspnea (breathlessness), exercise capacity (health index) is another staging system for emphysema in which the emphysema’s impact on several areas of life are measured. They include the following:

  1. Body mass index (B)
  2. Airflow limitation or obstruction (O), which is measured by pulmonary function tests
  3. Breathless or dyspnea (D), which is assessed thoroughly via a questionnaire
  4. Exercise capacity (E), which is measured to check how long a person with emphysema can walk in a span of six minutes

Life expectancy
The prognosis of emphysema is impossible to be determined in any person individually. The staging system helps to identify the severity of the condition, but the future cannot be predicted. Not many studies have been undertaken for the determination of the effects of emphysema on life expectancy. The best research that has been carried out included around 100 people, which is very less. The condition varies largely among people, even if they are in the same stage.

The statistics available on emphysema are not reliable enough for individuals who wish to know their life expectancy. It is considered that if a patient falls in a higher stage, his/her long-term life expectancy is less.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2680 people found this helpful

Emphysema - Diagnosis and Management

MD, DNB, Diploma In Tuberculosis & Chest Diseases (DTCD), MBBS
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Emphysema - Diagnosis and Management

 

Emphysema is a breathing disorder that has no cure and worsens with time. The symptoms of emphysema - a feeling of tightness in the chest, persistent cough, wheezing and breathlessness – are caused due to destroyed or impaired functioning of lung tissue.

Diagnosing Emphysema
A thorough physical examination which would include weight and blood pressure checks would be performed. The doctor would also listen to the heartbeat to determine if it sounds strange or different.

In addition to checking for the signs and symptoms of emphysema, a physical examination would also help the doctor in determining the following:

  • Whether the fingertips are rounded. This condition is also known as “clubbing”.
  • Whether you have a rounded or “barrel chest” which is caused by lungs that are larger than normal.
  • If the lips have a blue tinge also known as cyanosis, which is a sign of low levels of oxygen in the blood.
  • Signs of malnutrition as in advanced cases of emphysema the muscles slowly waste away.

Tests For Emphysema
A doctor would recommend additional tests to confirm his diagnosis of this lung condition. Some of the tests are:

  • Pulmonary Function Tests or PFTs and spirometry tests would be advised to measure the volume and capacity of the lungs.
  • A chest X-ray is useful to diagnose advanced emphysema as the lungs appear larger than normal in patients with this condition.
  • A CT scan of the chest will show the air sacs or alveoli have been destroyed.
  • The blood test report of patients with emphysema would show a high amount of red blood cells. The production of red blood cells in the body increases due to the reduced levels of oxygen.
  • A pulse oximetry test also known as an oxygen saturation test could be done to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood. A monitor would be attached to the patient’s forehead, finger or earlobe to carry out this test.
  • An arterial blood gas test is usually performed on patients as their condition worsens. It measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
  • An electrocardiogram or ECG might be advised to rule out condition such as heart disease as a cause of shortness of breath.

Management and Treatment
There is no known cure for emphysema and the condition can worsen with time. Treatment will slow the speed of decline and will depend on the severity of the condition when diagnosed. Some treatment options are:

  1. Quit smoking to protect your lungs.
  2. Bronchodilator medications used to treat asthma are useful in relaxing the muscles around the airways.
  3. Anti-inflammatory medications reduce inflammation around the airways.
  4. Oxygen therapy is recommended to patients when they are not able to breathe enough oxygen from the air.
  5. In some severe cases, lung volume reduction surgery might be advised to relieve pressure on the muscles required for breathing and to improve the elasticity of the lungs.

Keeping your home clean and free of dust and pollutants will help to prevent respiratory infections and disorders such as emphysema. Consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2743 people found this helpful

Emphysema - Know The Life Expectancy and Stages!

Dr. Nikhil Modi 93% (216 ratings)
MD, MBBS
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Emphysema - Know The Life Expectancy and Stages!

If you are facing difficulties in breathing, especially in the process of exhaling, you are suffering from emphysema. Emphysema is a condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are damaged and enlarged, causing breathlessness. It occurs as a result of several triggers, smoking being the most common one. Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People with this condition struggle to exhale, which implies that there is some obstruction in the air flow. This disease has no permanent cure but by quitting smoking, you can stop it from getting worse.

Stages
The progression and severity of emphysema occurs with the staging systems. The staging of the condition can help in developing a prognosis.

The Gold emphysema staging system
Gold is a major emphysema staging system created by a group known as the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. The amount of air a patient can exhale forcefully in one second is determined during this stage. It is also referred to as the forced expiratory volume or FEV1.

The staging is as follows:

  • Stage 1: Mild emphysema (FEV1 greater than 80% of normal)
  • Stage 2: Moderate emphysema (FEV less than 80%, but more than 50% normal)
  • Stage 3: Severe emphysema (FEV lesser than 50%, but more than 30% normal)
  • Stage 4: Extremely severe emphysema. (FEV lesser than 30% of normal or lesser than 50% normal, with low levels of oxygen in the blood.

The BODE emphysema staging system
The condition affects several abilities. The BODE index, an acronym for BMI (body mass index), obstruction, dyspnea (breathlessness), exercise capacity (health index) is another staging system for emphysema in which the emphysema’s impact on several areas of life are measured. They include the following:

  1. Body mass index (B)
  2. Airflow limitation or obstruction (O), which is measured by pulmonary function tests
  3. Breathless or dyspnea (D), which is assessed thoroughly via a questionnaire
  4. Exercise capacity (E), which is measured to check how long a person with emphysema can walk in a span of six minutes

Life expectancy
The prognosis of emphysema is impossible to be determined in any person individually. The staging system helps to identify the severity of the condition, but the future cannot be predicted. Not many studies have been undertaken for the determination of the effects of emphysema on life expectancy. The best research that has been carried out included around 100 people, which is very less. The condition varies largely among people, even if they are in the same stage.

The statistics available on emphysema are not reliable enough for individuals who wish to know their life expectancy. It is considered that if a patient falls in a higher stage, his/her long-term life expectancy is less. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Pulmonologist.

3305 people found this helpful

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Causes And Symptoms

Dr. Hemant Kalra 87% (369 ratings)
MBBS, MD -Pulmonary Medicine-Tuberculosis ,Respiratory Disease Medicine , Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD), European Diploma in Respiratory Medicine
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Causes And Symptoms

COPD, which is short for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a severe form of lung disease that is characterized by increased breathlessness and obstruction of airflow from the lungs. People who are suffering from COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart diseases and many other conditions. It includes progressive lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, few forms of bronchiectasis and refractory (non-reversible) asthma. The former two are the most common conditions contributing to COPD. 

Chronic bronchitis induces inflammation in the airway that carries air to the lungs and fills it with mucus. This either completely blocks the airway or narrows it, causing difficulty in breathing. However in emphysema, the air sacs inside the lungs which inflate and deflate as you breathe in and out, lose their elasticity due to which less air comes in and goes out leaving you breathless.

The best way to treat COPD is to quit smoking. Your doctor may also prescribe you medications or ask you to enroll in a lung rehab program. 
Causes:

  1. Smoking: Smoking is one of the most common causes of COPD. This is because smoking is known to destroy the stretchy fibers in people's lungs and irritate the airways. Even passive smoking is unhealthy. About 90% of the people having COPD are current or former smokers. 
  2. Genetics: Some individuals suffer from COPD even after refraining from smoking. Genes might be at the helm of COPD in such a case. AATD i.e. Alpha -1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, is a protein in the lungs, the lack of which is one of the most common genetic factor causing emphysema. 
  3. Environmental factors: Breathing in harmful pollutants present in your environment is also one of the causes of COPD. Fumes, dust or certain chemicals are a few examples of harmful lung irritants. Organic cooking fuel may also cause COPD. Exposing yourself to the aforementioned environmental factors for a prolonged period of time increases your risk of developing COPD substantially. 

Symptoms:

  1. Shortness of breath especially after exercising
  2. Wheezing
  3. Tightness in your chest
  4. Unintended weight loss
  5. Lack of energy
  6. Frequent respiratory infections
  7. Wheezing
  8. Cough accompanied by mucus

Diagnosis:

  1. Physical Exam where your doctor monitors the functioning of your lungs. 
  2. Questioning about your past health (Smoking or other harmful lung irritants).
  3. Spirometry and other breathing tests.
  4. Chest x-rays and other tests to eliminate other problems which could be causing your symptoms. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a pulmonologist.
2133 people found this helpful
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