The official blog of the Lung Institute.
A chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema gradually destroys air sacs in the lungs that carry oxygen to the bloodstream. Emphysema also reduces the elasticity of airways leading to air sacs. Over time, breathing becomes more difficult, and as the disease progresses, people with the condition typically experience chronic shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing.
While it can’t be cured, there are several emphysema treatment options that can help relieve symptoms and slow the progression of disease.
There are several medications that might ease the symptoms of emphysema. Bronchodilators can help relax constricted airways, relieving the coughing and shortness of breath brought on by COPD. Inhaled steroids help reduce inflammation and shortness of breath, and antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial infections like bronchitis or pneumonia that often occur with emphysema.
Pulmonary rehabilitation teaches patients breathing exercises that can help reduce breathlessness and make it easier to complete everyday activities. Nutrition therapy can also help, especially with overweight patients with early emphysema or underweight patients with late-stage emphysema. Finally, supplemental oxygen may be appropriate for those with severe emphysema, supplementing low oxygen levels.
Other treatment options
In severe cases, doctors may suggest lung volume reduction surgery, which can help remaining lung tissue expand and work more efficiently. Lung transplantation is often a last resort for those with severe damage.
Many of these measures, while they can be helpful, simply treat the symptoms of emphysema rather than the underlying condition. Lung Health Institute has pioneered regenerative cellular therapy, which may help promote the growth of healthy tissue in the lungs, helping to slow the progression of emphysema and decrease the severity of symptoms. Cells from the patient’s own body are cultivated, separated and returned to the patient’s lungs, where they may take on the characteristics of surrounding tissue and grow new, healthy tissue.
For more information on the Lung Health Institute’s regenerative cellular therapy, contact a patient coordinator at 888-745-6697