Emphysema, along with conditions like chronic bronchitis, is a progressive lung disorder that is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD. This condition affects people by disrupting their ability to breathe and depriving the blood of needed oxygen levels. Emphysema is currently an incurable condition, but there are effective treatment options.
To give yourself the best chance of successfully managing this condition, it is crucial for emphysema to be diagnosed accurately and as early as possible.
Being Proactive in the Emphysema Diagnosis and Treatment Process
One of the primary early warning signs of emphysema is shortness of breath. If you find yourself altering your lifestyle due to always being out of breath, even when performing basic tasks, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. You can help the diagnostic process by being prepared to answer questions about your symptoms, your lifestyle, and your and your family’s medical history.
Diagnostic Steps to Identify Emphysema
When you meet with your doctor, he or she will perform a physical evaluation that will involve listening to you breathe. After discussing your symptoms and reviewing your medical history, your doctor will order diagnostic tests to confirm an emphysema diagnosis.
These tests can include:
- Imagery, such as a chest X-ray or CT scan
- Bloodwork to test for oxygen levels in the bloodstream
- Lung function tests to gauge airflow in and out of the lungs
- Lab tests to rule out other conditions or identify certain genetic markers
In some cases, it may take some trial and error to determine the underlying cause of symptoms, but it is important to be patient and do whatever you can to help reach the correct diagnosis.
Next Steps After an Emphysema Diagnosis
If you are diagnosed with emphysema, there are a number of effective treatment options you can pursue. For emphysema patients who are smokers, following a plan to cease tobacco use can have enormous benefits for slowing the rate of damage to the lungs. Additionally, many patients find relief with supplemental oxygen therapy, steroidal medications and other lifestyle changes like a healthier diet and more exercise.
At Lung Health Institute, we specialize in an innovative emphysema treatment that more and more patients are turning to: regenerative cellular therapy. With this treatment, we use cells taken from a patient’s own blood to help restore lung function.
Take the next step to find relief. Contact one of our patient coordinators today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.