Emphysema is a respiratory disease that continues to get worse over time. It makes it hard to breathe and causes an individual to feel as if they are constantly short of breath.
The tiny air sacs and airways in the lungs lose their elastic qualities and this in turn makes it hard to completely exhale the air from the body.
Normal lungs work like a balloon and bring in vast amounts of fresh air and then release equal amounts of Co2. When emphysema is present some of this carbon dioxide is left in the lungs and each breath becomes more difficult. As this terrible medical condition becomes worse breathing starts to come at great effort and physical activities take a great amount of energy.
Emphysema usually develops over years and there are treatments that can slow it's progress. Some symptoms that you should be on the lookout for include: consistent shortness of breath, headaches, constant coughing, fatigue, wheezing, difficulty concentrating, tightness in the chest, irritability and a distended chest.
If you have one or more of these symptoms then you should see a doctor for testing. You will receive a physical and the doctor will look closely at your medical history. If you are a smoker the doctor will be very interested in this. You might receive tests to check the functioning of your lungs, blood tests, X-rays or a CT-scan.
Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema. The chemicals in cigarettes irritate the airways and alveoli in the lungs and end up causing extensive damage. As the smoke, or other particles, reach the lungs macrophages are released to destroy them. This is good, but the bad part is they also kill off essential proteins that are responsible for keeping the lungs elastic in quality.
Another condition that can cause emphysema is a deficiency of the protein alpha-1-antitrypsin. This proteins main job is to make sure the lungs keep their elasticity. This condition runs in families and is often the cause of emphysema in people who have never smoked.
Herbal medicine can help to support your lungs and often work well with a conventional treatment plan. Matricaria recutita and astralagus can help to lessen the spasms and inflammation. Mag Phos and Nat Sulph can also help to lessen the constriction on your throat and chest. Phlegm is a major problem with emphysema and these can help to reduce it.
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