Emphysema happens when the air sacs found at the ends of the smallest air passages are gradually damaged and is usually caused by smoking that result to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD.
COPD involves restricted flow of air when exhaling. There is shortness of breath, chronic coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, loss of appetite, loss of weight and fatigue. Eat foods that are rich in vitamins can be helpful in minimizing or controlling symptoms of emphysema.
A person can be affected by emphysema without symptoms for years, but the main symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath and just happens gradually. Even at rest shortness of breath can be experienced. If you want to learn how to manage the symptoms, click here. Severe symptoms that need medical attention include lips or fingernails that are turning blue or gray with exertion, shortness of breath and difficulty in climbing stairs as well as not mentally alert.
Causes of emphysema
Emphysema is caused by a long-term exposure to irritants such as the following:
- Manufacturing fumes
- Marijuana and tobacco smoke
- Air pollution
Some complications that emphysema can cause include a collapsed lung also known as pneumothorax and it can be a serious condition with people suffering from emphysema. Emphysema can cause rising of pressure in the arteries that function in connecting the heart and the lungs and this can cause a condition called cor pulmonale where a section of the heart will expand and becomes weak. People suffering from emphysema can develop empty spaces in the lungs called bullae. These bullae can become large that can be half the size of the lungs and this can increase the risk of acquiring a pneumothorax.
Treatment and home remedies
- The most important step is quit smoking and avoid exposure to second hand smoke.
- Avoid inhaling respiratory irritants like fumes of paint, automobile exhaust, perfumes, cooking odors and burning candles and incense as well as furnace and filters of air conditioners in order to minimize exposure to pollutants.
- Perform regular exercises every day.
- Avoid cold air because it can cause bronchial spasms of the passages which make breathing difficult.
- Wear a scarf or a cold-air mask and cover the mouth in order to make the air entering the lungs warm.
- Prevent respiratory infections by getting a pneumonia vaccination and flu shot annually.
- If the person has to mingle with other people during the cold and flu season, wear a face mask, wash the hands frequently and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer whenever it is needed.
Exercises to treat people with emphysema
- Try to walk in the park or use a stationary bike which is good for people with emphysema and who are weak to exercise in a gym.
- Simple dumbbells can also help in order to improve the strength of the shoulder and arms and can be done at home.
- Perform some exercises that are used in hospitals and rehabilitation clinics that are used in treating people with respiratory diseases and those people that are too weak to perform a regular routine. A good example is the pedal exercise which can be done by sitting in a regular chair.