FAQ - Emphysema
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My Mother in-law has emphysema from smoking... she still continues to smoke, (her family members have tried everything to get her to stop smokeing tho) I am not sure what emphysema is tho... can someone tell me all about the dieses or tell me a website to go to that will? thanks

Everyone stops smoking eventually

The trick is to stop while you are still alive (and preferably while you have some lung function left)

Here's the wiki page
The British Thoracic Society has a pamphlet thing you can download and it's pretty easy to understand and the Arizona Respiratory Centre has a good site.

Emphysema is a disease of the lungs

It is most commonly caused by smoking but there are some other minor causes which contribute such as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, but these are rare. Smoking is by far and away the biggest cause of emphysema.

It occurs in the aging population much more so than in the young but this tends to depend on the amount of smoking and the age it was started. The more you smoke, the younger you are when the emphysema hits.

The lung tissue is destroyed - the normally elastic walls of the alveoli (little balloons of air to get oxygen into the blood) become more rigid and it is harder to get the stale air out so you can't get fresh air in.

Most emphysema patients therefore suffer from Shortness Of Breath and they have to puff and puff (hyperventilate) to get their breath when they exert themselves.

They can sometimes feel as if their chest is tight or even complain of pains (rarely).

The usual tests for emphysema are:

tests for oxygen extraction - the fingertip oxygen saturation probe and the arterial blood gas test

chest x-ray to make sure there isn't any other thing like a pneumonia or pneumothorax (both of which are more common in patients with emphysema) and to rule out cardiac failure

sometimes blood tests to look at a white cell count (looking for pneumonia again)

There are things that can be like emphysema: asthma, bronchitis (both of these are closely related and smoking related illnesses), but then you can have cardiac failure (water on the lung), pulmonary embolus ... anxiety (this is a tricky one as many emphysematous patients develop anxiety disorders)

Treatment is by inhaled medications - ventolin (salbutamol) and other bronchodilators, steroids (budesonide, fluticasone, etc)

and by oral medications - sometimes oral steroids, antibiotics if there is an infection. In the past, theophylline was used.

I hope that all helps.  (+ info)


my dad was just diagnosed with emphysema and they are talking about putting a hole in his throat....why do they do this oppose to giving him an oxygen tank? i thought they put the hole in your throat when you have throat cancer or something of that nature

My mother is in the hospital for COPD/Emphysema and has a trach. I've learned so much in the past 2 mos so first i sympathize and second sorry that your dad has to have a trach. My mother was on oxygen for 6 yrs until she collapsed about 2 mos ago from not breathing in or out enough oxygen. Most likely your dad's oxygen levels are severe that they need to trach him. It sounds like he should have been on oxygen at home 24/7. You should consult with his doctor and ask about his oxygen levels, like what percentage is he breathing in and out. I was fearful of my mom getting a trach but it was described to me that its a faster way to send air to the lungs without much stress to the heart and other functioning organs. Hope it helps and if you read my question I sent earlier you know I do understand your concerns.

Good Luck!  (+ info)

What is the chance of getting emphysema if you have not smoked in 30 years?

My grandmother has not smoked in 30 years and was in good health and then all of a sudden she has emphysema! She was also diagnosed with pnemonia as well. Thats how they found the emphysema.
They said it was from smoking but i have been doing research and i want to ask them if she has an alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Why have they not diagnosed her sooner if its so severe?

When Dr's are clueless, smoking becomes the number 1 cause of everything. I'm sorry about your grandmother, but I'd get another opinion.  (+ info)

What are some of the common remedies for lung emphysema at old age?

lung emphysema remedies.
medecines and such.
just a list of drugs and such will be ok.
thank you.

There aren't any cures.

Bronchodilator inhalers such as albuterol can help increase your airflow. Antibiotics if there is any infection, and oxygen if your blood oxygen is too low.  (+ info)

What are the earliest symtoms of emphysema?

How does it differ from COPD? Or, is one a subset of the other?
Is there any treatment for emphysema that can arrest its development? Or, will it always worsen, even if cigarette smoking is stopped?

Emphysema is hyperinflation of the air sacs with destruction of the lung tissue. Your lung tissue losses it elacticity and breakdown it down leading to breathing limitations. There is a strong association between cigarette smoking and this disease. As a result the destruction of the lungs, blood vessels, pulmonary artery pressure rises and the right side of the heart must work harder to pump blood. This can lead to heart failure.
COPD is the chronic condition of persitant obstruction of air flow through the bronchial tubes and lungs.
There are no cures for this disease however there are some things to lessin the effects such as portable oxygen and things to this nature.
Stopping smoking is definelty something that will help in the long run!
Hope this helps!  (+ info)

What medical terms might my doctor use that relates to emphysema?

I am going to the doctor because I have been having a difficult time breathing and I think that I might have emphysema because my brother has it and he says it sounds like I may have it also. I would like to know what medical terms my doctor might uses that relates to emphysema and what type of question will he ask me.

Just because you have difficult time breathing, doesn't always mean emphysema. Other conditions besides emphysema that cause difficulty in breathing could be early stage (or any stage) of lung cancer, COPD chronic obstructed pulmonary disease (i think that's the correct name), asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia. The doctor may ask if you smoke, if you used to smoke and quit, or if anyone else around you smokes, or if you are exposed to irritants that could cause you to have difficulty breathing, such as chemical fumes and strong odors. In some cases, difficulty breathing is a result of an allergic reation to an allergen, what are you allergic to?

If it is indeed emphysema, make sure you let your doctor know how often you are having difficulty breathing, and what activities do you do that make you feel short of breath. Sometimes if you have trouble breathing throughout the day, you may be having trouble breathing at night as well. This can cause you to actually stop breathing while you sleep, and you wouldn't even know it. This is called sleep apnea, and very dangerous. ..If this is the case, talk to your doctor about getting a portable oxygen tank, a sleep ap(sp?), or a compressor for your home.

Good luck, and I hope your health gets better.  (+ info)

How long will my grandma live with emphysema?

My grandma is 65 or so, and she has been diagnosed with emphysema. She's never smoked, but her relatives did when she was a child. The doctor's have done lots of testing, and she's between stages 2 and 3.

What can she do to make it a better, (we know it's a chronic illness)
And how much would money would it take to get a lung transplant?
What is the life expectancy? The internet has been kind of useless so far...


People live for years and years with emphysema, it's not nice but if your grandma is looked after, gets the medication she needs, plus tries to keep active and get regular proper exercise then she should enjoy an almost normal life.
A lung transplant is most likely out of the question, first of all you've got to be fit enough to survive the operation . . . !
Make sure she gets a nebuliser, home oxygen and that her doctors keep up to date with her treatment and her progress.
Plus a little love from family goes a long, long way in helping people cope and enjoy life.
  (+ info)

What is your life span with emphysema if you contiune to smoke?

My friend is 23 with emphysema she smokes but she refuses to stop like she doesnt care? She was dinogsed with emphysema at 19 before she started smoking she started cause she says it helps with depression. yes im talking about cigarettes. she recently went to the hospital last december cause she pulled a muscle in her lungs and they sayed she has early stage. she had asthma when she was younger. so how long does she have to live. and what is end stage like? is it painful she says she doesnt feel any pain?

  (+ info)

What is some recent research and developments in treatment for Emphysema?

I need some information on recent research made on the cure for emphysema. Sources please!

type in google search emphysema research you will get many sites Good Luck to you  (+ info)

How to tell if you have asthma or emphysema?

If two different doctors listened to your lungs and diagnosed you with asthma and you passed a pulmonary function test would you still be able to have emphysema instead?

I smoked all of my teen years and I'm now 20 and I can't breathe good and I'm worried it's emphysema because I'm not responding well to my Proair inhaler the doctor prescribed me. I need some time of comfort.

  (+ info)

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