The increasing dilemma of dealing with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), as an empirical research asserts, is the major challenge that the primary care physicians and their counterparts, medical specialists currently face. COPD refer to the two lung complications, that is, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
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This is asserted because both diseases are characterized by obstructing the smooth flow of air through the trachea into the lungs, thus interfering with the normal breathing process, and the two diseases normally coexists.
However, to narrow down into emphysema, Emphysema aptly defines it as a long-term persistent lung infection that is marked by over enlargement and shrinking of lung-like sores in the lungs muscles (par. 1). Since in such conditions the carbon IV Oxide is confined in the lung-like blisters, each new breath to supply the lungs with fresh air needed by an individuals’ body, thrusts the air truck walls outwards upon each fresh breath.
As the process continues over a period, the difficulty in air transfers arises, thereby causing expansion of the lungs. The lungs then losses the elasticity, and eventually the process destroy the lung tissues. This leads to the retention of high volume of carbon IV Oxide in this respiration organ, thereby shrinking the space for clean air.
As a result, the condition makes an individual to suffer from shortness of breath (Emphysema par. 2). The major muscle used for breathing, that is, the diaphragm flattens. Consequently, the diaphragm does not perform its functions as expected.
Causes of emphysema
Even though medical practitioners, authors and medical researchers across the world admit that emphysema is majorly caused by smoking, the University of Michigan Health System points out that the dreaded diseases can be because of either one or a combination of cigarette smoking, Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, or Air pollution (Emphysema par. 4).
Smoking of cigarettes changes the operation and alignment of lungs, thereby enlarging them and eventually losing their elasticity. As noted, smoking of cigarettes augments the amount of inflammatory cells in a smoker’s respiratory organ; the increased cells discharge enzymes, which damage the tissues of the lungs (Emphysema par. 4).
Because of the excess enzymes and other products, the lungs develop bullae and, at the same time, lose its elasticity, thus resulting in emphysema.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
Apart from smoking of cigarettes, the University of Michigan Health System notes that Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is another common cause of this chronic disease. However noted as a cause, in comparison to smoking, the deficiency is said to be of negligible volume.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin, as the University of Michigan Health System indicates, is a natural protein that circulates in the blood in order to keep the white blood cells from harming the regular tissues. Where the Alpha-1 antitrypsin are deficient, which in most cases are genetic condition, the white blood cells continually damage the lung tissues, thereby resulting in emphysema (Emphysema par. 6).
However, empirical research declares that individuals with Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency have high chances of developing the chronic complication at a tender age.
Exposure to poor environmental conditions such as air pollution and second hand smoking is suggested by several studies to also contribute to the cause of emphysema.
Sign and symptoms of emphysema
These include shortness of breath, wheezing, a barrel shaped chest, fatigue and a continued loss of weight.
Treatment of emphysema
According to the University of Michigan Health System, treatment for emphysema can be accorded in different ways, such as the use of bronchodilators, steroids, antibiotics, and oxygen. Nonetheless, empirical research shows that each individual response differently to same medication. Therefore, any intake of the steroids should be under a doctor’s prescription.
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In addition, emphysema patients can deploy the use of pulmonary rehabilitation and exercise to increase their endurance. In so doing, it is exceedingly imperative to note that the patients exercise in nontoxic and examined atmosphere in which the level of oxygen is checked constantly.
Still, additional oxygen when supplied to the patients can assist in decreasing shortness of breath, as well as wheezing. Similarly, this should be supplied under the instruction of a physician. Moreover, under circumstances where the medical treatments fail to bear fruits, the University of Michigan Health System affirms that surgical options can be applied. These may include lung transplantation and lung size reduction surgery.
In all the scenarios, the authors emphasize that all the patients with this chronic condition ought to avoid direct and passive smoking, as well as air polluted regions in order to mitigate additional destruction to the airways (Emphysema par. 8). In addition, these patients ought to involve in consistent workouts.
Similarly, emphysema patients should seek a flue vaccination in the early fall of the disease, as well as a timely treatment of any lung infections that may emerge. Lastly, emphysema patients ought to take small quantities of food severally per day, drink ten to twelve glasses of liquid products per day. In case of patients with excess weight, they should devise means of losing weight in order to minimize wheezing.
Emphysema. N.p., 5 Apr. 2014. Web. 20 June 2014.