Emphysema is a type that is a form of chronic (long-term) lung disease. The condition and chronic bronchitis are the two primary forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder ( COPD), the third leading cause of death within the United States.
The term “obstructive” is used to describe these conditions “obstructive” because it appears like something is preventing the flow of air through and out of the lung.
Doctors estimate that around 24 million individuals in the United States have Emphysema or other forms or form of COPD. A lot of them are unaware of it.
What is the process?
Emphysema occurs if the membranes of your tiny air sacs inside your lung get broken beyond repair. Over time, your lung damage gets worse. What happens is:
- The delicate tissues that line air sacs get destroyed, and air pockets develop inside the lungs.
- Air is trapped inside these pouches made of damaged tissue.
- The lungs gradually grow more prominent as you get older, and it becomes difficult to breathe.
If you are suffering from symptoms of Emphysema or emphysema-related symptoms, conduct tests to determine how your lungs function. If you suffer from your condition, you will not be able to rid your lung of air as fast as you would like to. Doctors refer to this as “airflow restriction.”
What are the causes?
There are two primary causes of Emphysema:
Smoking. In most cases, smoking tobacco is the primary cause. Doctors aren’t sure what causes smoking to damage the air sac linings. However, research shows that smokers are six times as likely to develop Emphysema than nonsmokers.
Doctors don’t understand why some people who smoke get Emphysema while others do not.
There’s no cure for Emphysema. However, for those who are smokers with the disease, stopping smoking cigarettes could reduce the damage it causes to your lungs.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin ( AAT) is a protein found in nature that circulates within the human blood. Its primary function is to protect blood cells from destroying white, red blood cells from harming normal tissues. The body requires these cells to fight off infections.
Around 100,000 people live in America. United States was born with the condition that stops their bodies from producing enough AAT. If you suffer from AAT insufficiently, your normally functioning white blood cells can harm your lungs. The risk is even more significant when you smoke.
In time, most patients suffering from severe AAT deficiency will develop Emphysema. If you suffer from this condition, you could also experience liver problems.
Other possible causes
Smoke from secondary sources.
Doctors have for a long time recognized that exposure to cigarettes — even if you’re not a smoker — could cause lung damage in the long run. Numerous studies have suggested that those exposed to large amounts of secondhand smoke are more likely to develop Emphysema.
Pollution from the air.
Scientists believe this has a role to play; however, it’s not easy to determine. People are exposed to pollutants; however, Emphysema can take years to form.