Emphysema is a progressive condition that causes the small air sacs in the lungs (alveoli) to lose elasticity over time. As the condition worsens, the inner walls of the air sacs gradually become weaker and may eventually rupture. Because damaged alveoli cannot function properly, old air that would normally be exhaled can become trapped within the lungs, sometimes blocking the intake of fresh, oxygen-rich air. As a result, the amount of oxygen that reaches the bloodstream can be significantly reduced.
Of the currently known causes of emphysema, the most prominent is smoking cigarettes. When tobacco smoke is inhaled, the alveoli become saturated with thousands of harmful chemicals and other toxins, which can cause inflammation and destroy lung tissue. Once this damage occurs, it cannot be reversed.
In addition to cigarette smoke, other causes of emphysema include long-term exposure to:
- Cigar smoke
- Pipe smoke
- Marijuana smoke
- Air pollution
- Chemical fumes
There is presently no cure for emphysema, but there are several ways to ease the discomfort it causes. Some traditionally used approaches include bronchodilators, inhaled steroids and antibiotics. However, while often effective, pharmaceutical-based treatments like these are not suitable for everyone. For instance, some people may experience adverse reactions or simply prefer to avoid using medications when possible.
The Lung Institute offers stem cell therapy as an alternative treatment for emphysema. In essence, this innovative approach causes stem cells, which are produced naturally by the body, to stimulate lung tissue healing and repair. This means that, in addition to managing symptoms like coughing and wheezing, stem cell injections can potentially slow the progression of chronic lung disease.
Perhaps you’ve found that your emphysema causes you to miss out on important life experiences. Or, maybe you’d like to explore an alternative to using medication-based emphysema treatments or supplemental oxygen. If so, the Lung Institute may be able to help. Contact our caring team at (800) 729-3065. We can explain stem cell therapy in detail and help you determine if you are a candidate.