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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
- Bronchodilators—to help relax the lung's airways
- Anticholinergics—to help open the airway passages.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation—to help improve lung capacity and general overall physical condition
- Anti-inflammatory medications—to decrease inflammation and swelling in the breathing passages
- Oxygen therapy—may be used for those with severely impaired lung function
- Bullectomy—removal of an area on the lungs that has formed a large cavity (bullous)
- 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.lung.org
Smoke Free - National Cancer Institute 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 15, 2014. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Explore COPD. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd. Updated July 31, 2013. Accessed July 24, 2014.
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: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014
- Update Date: 07/24/2014