Author Topic: How to prevent emphysema?  (Read 296 times)

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Offline ruben

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How to prevent emphysema?
« on: February 17, 2009, 04:26:07 PM »
Emphysema is lung disease that occurs when the tiny air sacs in the lungs are damaged, usually as a result of long-term smoking. Once this damage has occurred, it cannot be repaired. It causes difficulty breathing and shortness of breath that gets worse over time. Emphysema is a respiratory disease in which the alveoli, the tiny air sacs in the lungs, become enlarged. This enlargement causes the alveoli walls to break down, or rupture, narrowing the airways. The narrowed airways make it difficult to breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Emphysema gradually destroys the lung tissue. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which often occur together, cause a condition known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Emphysema permanently enlarges and irreversibly damages the alveoli, damages the ends and walls of the smallest bronchioles (the tiny breathing tubes that branch off from the trachea and bronchi), and diminishes the elasticity of the lungs. Emphysema ranks 15th among chronic diseases that contribute to limitation of physical activity. About 44% of those with emphysema report that their daily activities have been limited by the condition.


The most common cause of emphysema is smoking. Long-term exposure to smoke causes destruction of the alveoli. The ability of the lungs to provide oxygen to the body decreases. As a result, the person finds it increasingly difficult to breathe and to exercise without discomfort. Emphysema occurs most often in people older than age 40 who have smoked for many years. Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke also may play a role. Among other causes of emphysema are industrial pollutants, aerosol sprays, non-tobacco smoke, internal-combustion engine exhaust, and physiological atrophy associated with old age (senile emphysema). Physical damage caused by an accident and followed by scarring can give rise to scar emphysema; severe respiratory efforts can rupture alveoli in cases of near suffocation, whooping cough, labor (child-bearing), and acute bronchopneumonia. Tuberculosis and asthma can also give rise to lung overstretching, severely damaging the elastic fibers of the alveoli walls and bringing on emphysema.

How to prevent emphysema?

Many risk factors for emphysema can be completely eliminated. Smoking cessation is vital for those who smoke. Sources of indoor air pollution can be identified and removed. It's important to avoid secondhand smoke. The best method to prevent emphysema is to avoid smoking. Even patients with inherited emphysema should avoid smoking, as it especially worsen the onset and severity.If patient quit smoking as soon as the evidenceof small airways obstructions begin,they can significantly improve their prognosis. Patients are cautioned to reduce exposure to air pollutants and to people who are ill with respiratory problems. Exposure to air pollutants should also be limited. 
Sound nutrition, including vitamin supplementation, may help to prevent emphysema. Special attention should be given to the intake of antioxidants to prevent the breakdown of functional lung tissue by free radicals. Regular aerobic exercise builds up lung capacity and helps cleanse the lungs of stale air. Walking is an excellent choice, if one avoids polluted areas.
 
What's the treatment for emphysema?

 The first step in treatment for smokers is to quit, so as to prevent any further deterioration of breathing ability. Physicians may recommend smoking-cessation programs for them. Many patients are also taught controlled coughing techniques to help remove excess mucus from the lungs, which could promote infection.Mild exercise may be ordered to help improve breathing. Patients are often instructed on exercise techniques designed to strengthen muscles involved in breathing, as well as other breathing techniques.

Commonly used medications include bronchodilators, which relax the bronchial muscles so the airways are widened and it's easier to breathe. Bronchodilators include albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin and other brand names), salmeterol (Serevent) or ipratropium (Atrovent). These medications are taken via hand-held inhalers or machine-driven nebulizers, which create a fine mist that can be inhaled. Theophylline (sold under several brand names) is a pill form of a bronchodilator. Because it can interact with medications and cause side effects, it is used less often than the inhaler medications. Bronchodilators help to open the bronchial tubes in your lungs and reduce shortness of breath, wheezing and cough

Proper nutrition includes the increase of unprocessed foods such as fruits and vegetables and high-quality protein and the decrease of fried foods, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods. Also, it is wise to eliminate the use of all mucous producing foods like dairy and gluten-containing grains. If sound nutrition is important in preventing emphysema, it is crucial once the disease has been diagnosed. Malnutrition may increase the risk of respiratory failure in patients with COPD.

Sources :
 http://respiratory-lung.health-cares.net/emphysema-prevention.php
 http://www.medicinenet.com/emphysema/article.htm
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 04:30:30 PM by ruben »

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How to prevent emphysema?
« on: February 17, 2009, 04:26:07 PM »
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