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Emphysema: How You Get It and How to Fight It
- Shortness of breath
- Increasing difficulty exercising
- Great difficulty exhaling
- Chronic coughing
- Cough with mucus production
What Causes Emphysema?
- Tobacco smoke
- Occupational dusts and chemicals
- Indoor air pollutants, such as fuel burned in confined spaces
- Outdoor air pollutants
Diagnosis and Treatment
- Relieve the symptoms of the disease
- Prevent further loss of lung function
- Bronchodilator medicines—to help relax the lung's airways
- Anticholinergic medicines—to help open the airway passages.
- Breathing exercises and a physical conditioning program—to help improve lung capacity and general overall physical condition
- Anti-inflammatory medicines (eg, corticosteroids)—to decrease inflammation and swelling in the breathing passages
- Oxygen therapy—may be used for patients with severely impaired lung function.
- Bullectomy—removal of an area on the lungs
- Lung volume reduction surgery—removal of seriously damaged part of the lung
- Lung transplant
- If you smoke, quit. Talk to your doctor about strategies to quit.
- Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke
- Avoid workplace and environmental pollutants.
American Lung Association http://www.lungusa.org
Smoke Free.gov http://www.smokefree.gov/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca/
COPD. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 27, 2012. Accessed September 3, 2012.
Emphysema. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated September 1, 2011. Accessed September 3, 2012.
Tutic M, Lardinois D, Imfeld S, Korom S, Boehler A, Speich R, et al. Lung-volume reduction surgery as an alternative or bridging procedure to lung transplantation. Ann Thorac Surg . 2006 Jul;82(1):208-13.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012
- Update Date: 09/03/2012