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Emphysema Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

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Surrounding the heart and surrounded by ribs, the lungs are an organ that plays an important role directly related to life, such as receiving oxygen from the air through respiration and exhaling carbon dioxide from the body. Emphysema refers to a condition in which the lungs, which play such an important role, become inflamed due to various causes, and as a result, the fibers that control the expansion of the lung tissue are destroyed every time you breathe, and the alveolar space is permanently expanded.

It is known that smoking is the main cause of emphysema. In particular, long-term smoking is known to be the main risk factor that has the greatest influence on the occurrence of emphysema by destroying normal lung tissue, and secondhand smoke is also known to affect the occurrence. In addition, continuous exposure to dust or chemicals is also a major factor influencing the occurrence. Due to these characteristics, it occurs frequently in construction and metal-related workers who are easily exposed to dust, toxic gases, and chemicals, and it is reported that the incidence rate is high in the age group in their 50s and 60s who smoked for a long time. Now, let’s learn about the main symptoms of emphysema and various information about treatment and prevention.

Emphysema main symptoms

Emphysema has no symptoms in the early stages, and as the symptoms progress gradually, various symptoms such as chronic cough, shortness of breath, and sputum may occur. In particular, shortness of breath, the most typical symptom of emphysema, develops slowly over several years. When symptoms are not severe, symptoms appear only with activity or exercise, but when symptoms are more severe, breathing difficulties may appear even when inactivity. In addition, due to insufficient oxygen supply, the lips and fingertips become pale and blue, resulting in cyanosis, as well as chest tightness and wheezing when breathing.

Because emphysema does not show any symptoms in its early stages, treatment is often delayed. However, if treatment is delayed in this way, respiratory difficulties and decreased lung capacity become severe, resulting in decreased exercise capacity and problems such as decreased muscle function. In addition, the risk of developing other lung diseases, heart disease, and vascular disease is increased, and problems such as social isolation can lead to psychological problems such as depression. Therefore, it is very important to receive appropriate tests and treatment when various symptoms suspected of occurrence appear.

Emphysema treatment and prevention

1. Multiple tests and appropriate treatment

The treatment of emphysema is to make an accurate diagnosis by performing the patient’s examination findings, chest radiographs, and lung function tests. In addition, since emphysema symptoms may not appear in the early stages of lung function tests, CT scans closely check the exact condition of the lungs. And depending on the diagnosis, treatment such as pharmacological and non-pharmaceutical treatment will proceed. Drug treatment is not intended to completely restore lung function, but to improve symptoms and prevent secondary complications, such as bronchodilator, inhalant and antibiotic. In addition, if the lungs and distension or lung function are severe, surgical methods such as bronchoscopy or pulmonary debulking are sometimes performed. Emphysema can improve symptoms, but the concept of a complete cure does not exist because once damaged lungs are restored and cannot be restored. Therefore, treatment of emphysema is carried out for the purpose of suppressing the weakening of lung function and improving symptoms rather than a cure.

2. No smoking

The most important thing to prevent and improve symptoms of emphysema is to quit smoking. As such smoking is known to be a major risk factor for not only emphysema but also other lung-related diseases, it is imperative to quit smoking and to reduce the number of second-hand smoke as much as possible. In addition, factors irritating to the lungs and respiratory tract such as dust and chemicals are also major causes influencing the occurrence, so it is important to make efforts to minimize exposure to these environmental factors.

3. Conduct moderate-intensity exercise

It is said that regular daily moderate-intensity exercise is also an important management habit in preventing and preventing worsening of emphysema symptoms. Walking for about 30 minutes a day about 3 times a week is the most recommended exercise to maintain lung capacity, so it is important to practice it consistently.

In addition, it is known that patients with emphysema can have severe symptoms such as colds or pneumonia, and it is known that pneumonia can lead to a dangerous situation.

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