Emphysema is a progressive lung condition that affects the tiny air sacs that transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. By disrupting a function as basic as breathing, emphysema causes a serious health risk to people diagnosed with this condition. While it is not curable, people with emphysema can successfully manage it and live an active lifestyle, particularly if it is diagnosed early.
Recognizing the Warning Signs
To help you recognize the early warning signs of emphysema and related lung conditions, we’re providing the following guide to emphysema symptoms. Even if you or a loved one has already been diagnosed, knowing how this condition can progress is also beneficial as you develop a treatment plan.
Typical Symptoms of Emphysema
The most prominent symptom of emphysema is chronic shortness of breath. Unfortunately, this symptom is too-often dismissed by patients as a byproduct of being “out of shape.” Many times, people will adjust to this by adopting a more sedentary lifestyle, which can actually accelerate the progression of this condition.
It’s very important not to ignore any early warning signs and seek a diagnosis to prevent more serious symptoms from developing. Other symptoms of emphysema can include:
- The development of a blue or even gray hue to the fingers and lips, known as cyanosis
- Mental health problems due to a decreased activity level and decreased oxygen reaching the brain
- Chronic fatigue
Emphysema sufferers will often develop chronic bronchitis, which causes a persistent cough that can last for months at a time.
Finding Relief From Emphysema Symptoms
Emphysema is related to cigarette smoking in the majority of cases. The irritants and carcinogens in cigarette smoke lead to the breakdown of air sacs in the lungs. Quitting smoking can almost immediately slow down the rate of damage to the air sacs and stop the progression of the condition.
Patients can also make lifestyle changes that help with emphysema symptoms, such as learning breathing techniques and eating a healthy diet. Other forms of treatment include oxygen therapy, inhaled steroids and regenerative therapies, such as the cellular therapy that we provide at Lung Health Institute.
Take the next step to find relief. Contact one of our patient coordinators today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.