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The oxygen inhaled is processed into the blood, thanks to the lungs.

The air that fills the lungs when the person breathes; reaches the bronchi and the air sacs known as alveoli. The blood vessels attached to the alveoli allow the oxygen in the fresh air to mix with the blood.

When the person exhales, this process oppositely takes place. In this way, carbon dioxide in the blood is exhaled.

An average person has about 300 million alveoli in clusters. The ability of the person to perform the breathing function depends on the flexibility of these air sacs.

These air-filled sacs swell and stretch; they contract during exhalation.Emphysema is a progressive disease. If emphysema is left untreated, it causes the air sacs to lose their flexibility.

The alveolar surfaces are damaged by breathing highly polluted air. Alveoli, whose wall structures are deteriorated, do not shrink back after swelling with air. Therefore, the air sacs remain inflated.

Because of the old air that stays inside, there is no room for the new air. As the surface area of the alveoli decreases, the amount of oxygen that can mix with the blood and the amount of carbon dioxide expelled from the blood decrease, which leads to shortness of breath.

Damage to the alveoli can be permanent. However, there are various treatment methods.

The damage to the alveoli is permanent, but we can bring the situation under control with various methods.

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What Are the Symptoms of Emphysema?

Symptoms of emphysema vary from person to person. However, the symptoms seen in most patients are chronic cough and difficulty breathing.

Later, the lungs enlarge due to the overgrowth of the alveoli. When this happens, swelling occurs in the chest cage. The swelling of the chest is called a barrel chest.

Often, the patient may not realize that they have been living with emphysema for many years. The first symptoms of the disease, which develop over time, are shortness of breath or coughing attacks that occur during physical activity.

Smoking not only irritates the air sacs but also irritates the airways. Inflammation occurs in the damaged airway.

The sputum, which is also common, cannot leave the body because the airway is blocked. Therefore, intense sputum production is among the determining symptoms.

In addition, due to insufficient oxygen transfer to the blood, the person feels fatigued. It would be a good decision to consult a specialist doctor when the person feels constantly tired.

In the later stages of the disease, oxygen deficiency begins to appear. Therefore, blue-gray bruises may occur on the lips and fingertips.

In addition to this symptom, weight loss, rapid heartbeat, wheezing from the chest, shortness of breath when climbing stairs, and depression are among the signs of emphysema.

What are the Causes of Emphysema?

The most common cause of emphysema is smoking, as with most diseases. Smokers and people exposed to cigarette smoke are more likely to develop emphysema.

Continuous exposure to polluted, chemical, or dusty air is also among the factors that cause emphysema.

In addition to these environmental factors, emphysema may develop due to genetic factors, albeit rarely. Emphysema occurs due to genetically observed Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

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How is Emphysema Diagnosed?

The presence of all symptoms of emphysema in the patient is insufficient to make the diagnosis. A definite diagnosis of the disease comes after a physical examination and various tests.

Generally, we can reach a definitive diagnosis with lung function tests. One method that shows the lungs' working capacity and gives the most accurate result is the spirometry method.

Diagnosis is supported by spirometry and similar tests. In this way, we can follow the progression of the disease and the effectiveness of the applied treatment methods.

In addition, methods such as chest X-ray, arterial blood gas analysis, and computed tomography are essential for diagnosis and follow-up.

How Is Emphysema Treated?

There is no definitive treatment for emphysema yet. But currently used treatment methods; slow the progression of the disease, prevents complications, control the symptoms and contribute to the continuation of the person's everyday life.

The first step of the treatment begins with the person quitting smoking. We recommend increasing the quality of life of the person with various methods to be applied afterward.

Depending on the severity of the disease, various drug treatments can be applied. A few of the drugs used in treating emphysema are listed as bronchodilators, inhaled steroids, and antibiotics.

These drugs generally aim to relax the muscles in the airways and allow the person to breathe easily.

Regular breathing exercises are recommended to increase lung capacity. In the later stages of emphysema, patients experience excessive weight loss.

During this period, it is essential to eat healthily and strengthen the patient's immune system. In patients with severe emphysema, oxygen supplementation is a part of the treatment.


What Is Good For Emphysema Disease?

  • The critical thing to prevent emphysema complications is up-to-date vaccination. Annually, Patients should receive influenza and pneumonia vaccines.
  • Long-term oxygen therapy and smoking cessation are life-prolonging options.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation is a type of care program for people with emphysema. It aims to help people improve their lifestyles by quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising.
  • Drinking plenty of water loosens mucus and helps keep the airways clear.
  • Protecting ourselves from cold weather during the winter can prevent muscle spasms and colds.

These differences can support individuals to continue their lives with this problem instead of changing the disease process. It can also improve exercise limits and living standards.

To be at an appropriate weight in terms of health, Eating healthy foods is very important for individuals with emphysema to support the lungs and heart.

Emphysema can cause eating and drinking problems due to breathing difficulties. In such cases, you must comply with your doctor's sentences and treatments.

In What Should Emphysema Patients Pay Attention?

  • First of all, if the individual smokes, they should quit.
  • They should follow this program regularly by creating a treatment program under the doctor's control.
  • They should carry out lung rehabilitation programs and ensure regular compliance.
  • Patients should take the vitamins indicated by the doctor.
  • Patients should avoid environments with dust and dirt, and chemical gases.
  • They should be careful to protect the lungs from various infections by getting the flu and pneumonia vaccines.
  • If they are receiving oxygen or mask treatment, the materials recommended by the doctor are necessary for home treatment.

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