Emphysema, along with other conditions such as chronic bronchitis, is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These are progressive lung conditions that severely affect people’s ability to breathe and cause related health issues. It is estimated that over 3.5 million Americans suffer from emphysema due to a wide range of causes.
Educating Yourself on Emphysema Causes
One of the most important steps to treating emphysema is educating yourself about the primary causes of this condition. The following information can help you take a more proactive role in your treatment, allowing you to work more closely with health care providers to find the relief and level of activity you deserve.
Emphysema Is Usually Smoking-Related, but There Are Other Causes
Emphysema can take years to develop as continued exposure to irritants and particulates damages the lungs and makes them less likely to heal themselves. Additionally, there are several other factors that can contribute to this condition as well, including:
- Smoking — Smoking cigarettes is the biggest cause of emphysema. Secondhand smoke and other forms of tobacco use can cause this condition as well.
- Air pollution — People who live in cities with poor air quality for long periods of time are at a higher risk of developing emphysema.
- Exposure to fumes and dust in the workplace — Workers who have to contend with poorly ventilated workspaces while also being exposed to fumes or dust are more likely to develop emphysema or other lung conditions.
- Genetics — Since only some smokers develop emphysema, researchers hypothesize that a genetic component could play a role in the development of this condition.
- Aging — Aging bodies aren’t as capable of recovering from damaging substances, which is one of the reasons why emphysema is more widely diagnosed in patients over 40.
No matter what the specific cause of emphysema is, there is a range of treatments that can help patients find relief and manage this condition.
Finding Relief From Emphysema
Treatments like oral or inhaled steroids, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and bronchodilators can all be effective in easing symptoms, but it is also critical to make any necessary lifestyle changes that are contributing to emphysema. For example, smokers should talk to their doctors about a cessation program that would be right for them.
Another treatment avenue that many patients have found relief through is regenerative cellular therapy. At Lung Health Institute, we use a sample of a patient’s own blood to help restore lung function for patients suffering from emphysema.
Take the next step to find relief. Contact one of our patient coordinators today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.