Free Online Database Of Diseases, Illnesses & Ailments



emphysema Causes

The identified major underlying cause of emphysema is believed to be cigarette smoking. Emphysema is caused by loss of elasticity of the lung tissue, from destruction of structures supporting the alveoli and destruction of capillaries feeding the alveoli. Other risk factors include a air pollution, airway reactivity, heredity, male sex, and age.

emphysema Definition

Emphysema is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), previously termed a chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD). This is called an obstructive lung disease because the destruction of lung tissue around smaller airways, called bronchioles, makes these airways incapable to hold their shape properly when you exhale.

emphysema Diagnosis

Diagnosis of emphysema starts with a medical history and examination. One way of diagnosing is by spirometry (lung function testing), including diffusion testing. Other investigations might include X-rays, high resolution spiral chest CT-scan, bronchoscopy (when other lung disease is suspected, including malignancy), blood tests, and pulse.

emphysema Symptoms and Signs

The most common symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath. Cough, at times caused by the production of mucus, and wheezing may also be symptoms of emphysema. Indications of emphysema include pursed-lipped breathing, central cyanosis and finger clubbing. In advanced cases of this disease, there are a number of signs of overload of fluid such as in the pitting peripheral edema.

emphysema Treatment

Major action to be taken to slow the development of this disease is for the patient to stop smoking and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke and lung irritants. Emphysema is also treated by supporting the breathing with anticholinergics, bronchodilators, steroid medication and supplemental oxygen as required. Supplemental oxygen used as given (usually more than 20 hours per day) is the only non-surgical treatment which has been shown to extend life in emphysema patients.

Drugs used for treatment of emphysema


Most Viewed Pages

Recent Searches

Our Visitors Ask About

Medical News