Emphysema:Causes,Symptoms ,Diagnosis & Treatment


Emphysema, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, causes breathing difficulties.Emphysema is one of the diseases that comprise COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Emphysema involves gradual damage of lung tissue, particularly thinning and destruction of the alveoli or air sacs. It concerns the loss of elasticity and enlargement of the air sacs in the lung.The condition, that chiefly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke, induces damage to the air sacs in the lungs.


Causes of Emphysema

Cigarette smoking is responsible for at least 85 percent of incidents of emphysema and COPD.

Other risk factors are:

  • Air pollution
  • Occupational dust
  • Low body weight
  • Inhaled chemicals, including coal, cadmium, grains, isocyanates,
  • Childhood respiratory disorders, unless a viral infection or perhaps asthma

Vulnerability to passive cigarette smoke is considered to be a minor contributor.

Some people have an insufficiency of a protein, α1-antitrypsin. This is a genetic factor which can lead to an exceptional form of emphysema.

α1-antitrypsin preserves the lungs facing the destruction of alveolar tissue by neutrophil elastase.

This insufficiency is congenital. People are born with it. These people can receive emphysema at a comparatively early age, without ever smoking.

Emphysema is not contagious. One person cannot develop it from another.

Symptoms of Emphysema

The manifestations of emphysema and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases make sufferers trouble breathing.

The chief signs are breathlessness, a chesty cough, recurrent chest infections, reduced appetite and weight loss, fatigue,blue-tinged lips or fingernail beds, or cyanosis, due to a lack of oxygen and tenacious wheezing.

Without treatment, symptoms will get steadily worse.

Tests and Diagnosis of Emphysema

A physician will carry out a physical exam and query the patient about their symptoms and medical records.

Some diagnostic analyses may additionally be used, to confirm that the patient has emphysema rather than asthma and heart failure.

  • Lung function tests
  • Imaging, such as a chest X-ray or CT scan of the lungs
  • Arterial blood gas analysis to assess oxygen exchange




If the patient becomes nevermore smoked, an analysis(test) may be carried out to see if the person has a α1-antitrypsin deficiency.

Treatment of Emphysema

Emphysema and COPD can't be cured, but medications can help alleviate symptoms and decrease the progression of the disease.


Depending on the rigor of your symptoms, your physician might suggest:

  • Bronchodilators-can help relieves coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties by relaxing tightened airways.
  • Inhaled steroids- inhaled as aerosol sprays(Corticosteroid drugs) decrease inflammation and may further relieve shortness of breath.
  • Antibiotics-If bacterial contamination, like acute bronchitis or pneumonia, antibiotics are appropriate.


  • Pulmonary rehabilitation program can guide you breathing exercises and procedures that may further reduce your breathlessness and enhance your ability to exercise.
  • Nutrition therapy also advice about proper nutrition. In the beginning stages of emphysema, various people need to lose weight, while people with late-stage emphysema usually need to gain weight.
  • Supplemental oxygen regularly needed at home and while you exercise may provide some relief. Several people utilize oxygen 24 hours a day. It's customarily administered via linear tubing that fits into your nostrils.


Depending on the sharpness of your emphysema, your physician may recommend one or more different types of surgery:

  • Lung volume reduction surgery-In this method, surgeons eliminate small wedges of destroyed lung tissue. Eliminating the diseased tissue supports the remaining lung tissue expand and work also efficiently and helps better breathing.
  • Lung transplant-Lung transplantation is an opportunity if you have critical lung damage and other alternatives have failed.