Emphysema is a disease of the lungs. The lungs are extremely important for general health, and they provide as a transfer area of carbon dioxide and oxygen between blood and air. The lungs have small air sacs called alveoli. The alveoli contain membranes and extremely thin elastic walls.
When an individual breathes air into their lungs, the alveoli become full. The oxygen then is transferred through the rest of the body for optimal health. When we exhale the alveoli tightens and the air is pushed from the lungs.
What is emphysema? This horrible progressive disease is considered long term and can eventually become fatal. It is when the capillary blood vessels and the alveolar walls are completely destroyed. This causes the lung to have more difficulty when trying to transfer the blood and the air. There are a few stages of emphysema known as the early stage, middle stage, and fatal stage. In the early stages of emphysema the alveoli collapses and this makes it harder to get in and get air out. The symptoms of emphysema in the early stages are constant coughing. This is why smoking is never a good habit to pick up or stay addicted to. Smoking kills thousands of people every year and there are always emphysema related deaths.
The middle stage of emphysema is hyperventilation. This is when the body tries to balance out the system because of the early disease stage and produces a higher breathing rate. This then causes an individual to hyperventilate. Symptoms of hyperventilation are considered to be high breathing rate, anxiety, dizziness, and sometimes fainting.
The later stage of emphysema which can be fatal is when the hypertension turns into pulmonary hypertension. This is when the heart becomes enlarged which can lead to heart failure. The heart cannot take that much pressure and decides to give up.
There are a few causes of emphysema such as smoking, older age, immune deficiencies, intravenous drug use, Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and in some extremely rare cases, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Even air pollutants in poorer countries can result in emphysema.
Emphysema is also related to COPD. (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) COPD has symptoms such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and more. Emphysema alone has symptoms such as dyspnea, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Emphysema treatment includes the following:
· The doctor will try to do everything they can to get their patients to stop smoking. The patient must want to stop smoking themselves or there may be chances of relapse.
· Inhalers can be used to open up airways such as bronchodilators. Bronchodilators are used to open up narrow airways and to allow for better breathing.
· Doctors often prescribe corticosteroid inhalers which works as a steroid and it can allow people to prevent wheezing and asthma attacks.
· Oxygen tanks are also used to help treat a person with emphysema. Many older people suffer from emphysema and the chances are doubled if they have smoked all their lives.
· Some early stages of emphysema can be treated with antibiotics.
Some home remedies for emphysema may include garlic cloves. You can take garlic supplements, but chewing garlic might be much more beneficial in allowing for more air transference. Some people treat the early stages of emphysema with lime or lemons, and eat this fruit a few times a day. Always ask your doctor about the best treatment for you and never start an herbal remedy until you know what is most helpful. Some herbal remedies can interfere with medications you may be taking for serious disease or serious asthma.