Enfisema Pulmonar is one of many types of lung diseases known as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, or COPD. These COPDs are characterized by their obstruction or restriction of airflow which results in the sufferer not being able to breathe normally while undertaking everyday tasks. Unfortunately, COPD is currently ranked as the fourth leading cause of death in America. At this time there are more than twelve million people who are diagnosed as having this particular disease and it has been estimated that there are another twelve million others who are suffering, yet have not been diagnosed at this time.
A very simple breathing test is available for anyone who thinks they might be suffering from COPD and can give a measure of reassurance to those who are wondering. One of the main causes of Enfisema Pulmonar is smoking, however, the disease can also be hereditary as well as being caused by breathing second-hand smoke or even by the pollution in the very air we breathe. This is not a disease that comes on suddenly, but rather, is brought on by exposure to irritants over a long period of time.
Chronic coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and a decrease in the ability to participate in exercise are a few of the symptoms common to Enfisema Pulmonar. It can start when the air sacs in the lungs, or alveoli, become destroyed and instead of releasing oxygen into the blood, carbon dioxide is released instead. The damage done to the alveoli can not be undone and it begins to create holes throughout the lower lungs. Unfortunately, when the lung’s air sacs are damaged there will be less oxygen to be released in the blood stream which results in a shortness of breath. Also, the sufferer will have difficulty exhaling because the disease lowers the elasticity required for the lungs to function properly.
Although the damage is certainly irreversible, there is aggressive treatment that can be utilized as soon as a patient is diagnosed. Patients who smoke, quitting smoking is one of the most effective ways to combat COPD. Some patients may even need supplemental oxygen. There are broncho-dilator medications, which can be prescribed to help open up the airways of the lungs and these medications can be key tools for use in managing this particular disease. To reduce the inflammation typically found throughout the airways, steroids will frequently be used. Any infections brought on because of the COPD can usually be treated successfully by using various antibiotics. Surgery can sometimes be used to improve the quality of life for the patient and in very extreme cases, patients who meet certain criteria may be eligible for a lung transplant.