Emphysema is a lung condition characterized by problematic breathing. In this condition alveoli, air sacs of lungs, are damaged. This lead to weakening and rupture of alevoli creating larger spaces replacing small alveoli.
This condition remain asymptomatic for many years and then gradually starts to appear with gradual shortness of breath. First shortness of breath occur during strenuous activities then it become increase and appear during rest.
Long term exposure to airborne irritants is the main cause of emphysema which includes:
- Air pollution
- Chemical fumes
- Dust particles
- Emphysema rarely occur due to alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency.
Emphysema can become complicated into:
- Pneumothorax which means collapsed lungs
- Heart problems
- Bullae i-e large holes in the lungs
Diagnosis of this condition depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient. Other tests include the following:
- Imaging tests include chest X-ray, CT scan.
- Blood tests
- Lung function test
Treatment options include the following:
- Medications are prescribed to decrease the severity of symptoms. Medications include bronchodilators, inhaled steroids and antibiotics.
- Therapies like pulmonary rehabilitation, nutrition therapy and supplemental oxygen.
- Surgeries are also sometimes considered which include, lung volume reduction surgery, lung transplant