Smoking And Emphysema

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Emphysema is a severe lung disease. Tiny air sacs known as alveoli (present in the lungs) get damaged due to tobacco smoke. People suffering from emphysema have fewer and larger blocks as compared to the others.

Though emphysema is caused by different types of environmental pollution, tobacco smoke is by far the most potent cause. Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals. These chemicals are thought to damage the alveoli and ultimately break them down. The resulting larger sacks are less efficient in processing the inhaling and exhaling of oxygen and carbon dioxide respectively. This makes our breathing difficult. The larger sacks are responsible for trapping air and making our breathing difficult. The end result is severe breathlessness.

There are certain symptoms of emphysema which make us understand the disease better. They are described below:
1) Shortness of breath or dyspnea
2) A chronic cough
3) Wheezing
4) Anxiety
5) Unintentional weight loss
6) Feet and ankle swelling
7) Fatigue

Emphysema is a slow disease. It develops into a full blown disease over many years. So a person does not come to know if he is suffering from it until he finds it difficult to breathe. The effects of emphysema are permanent and irreversible. But a smoker can arrest further damage to his heart if he stops smoking immediately. A smoker can improve his lung function to a great extent by kicking the habit.

There is a whole array of treatments available for emphysema. They are- pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, inhaler therapy, alpha-1 anti trypsin therapy, fluids and mist inhaler, antibiotics, bullectomy or removal of larger air sacs and lung volume reduction therapy. But the most important thing is quitting smoking to arrest further damage. Quitting becomes imperative to halt the disease's progression. It can help you fight Emphysema more than any of these treatments.