The official blog of the Lung Institute.
There is no cure for emphysema. However, describing it as “fatal” may not be entirely accurate. While emphysema does shorten life expectancy, many patients are able to manage their symptoms with treatment and live long, fulfilling lives.
The long-term effects of emphysema and other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) largely depend on the extent of the disease at diagnosis. For example, according to the National Institutes of Health, an individual who is diagnosed with stage 1 or 2 COPD may have a life expectancy that is, at most, a few years shorter than someone without lung disease. On the other hand, someone who is diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 COPD may lose approximately six years of life expectancy.
It is important to note that each case is unique and should be treated as such. There are several factors that can positively or negatively influence an emphysema patient’s prognosis, including:
- The age at diagnosis
- The specific type of emphysema
- The patient’s overall health
- Lifestyle factors such as weight, diet and smoking habits
Because there is not yet a cure for emphysema, traditional treatment methods like supplemental oxygen therapy and inhaled corticosteroids focus on helping patients breathe more easily and maintain a positive quality of life. While this approach is often effective for patients with early-stage emphysema, symptoms can become more severe and harder to manage as the disease progresses.
The Lung Institute offers an alternative form of care to emphysema patients who don’t find satisfactory relief from their symptoms with traditional treatments alone. As the world’s first stem cell therapy center to focus exclusively on pulmonary disease, the Lung Institute is a leader in autologous stem cell transplants. This innovative treatment leverages the body’s natural ability to heal itself and uses the patient’s own stem cells to help preserve lung function, reduce inflammation and slow disease progression.