Emphysema

Emphysema is a lung disorder and is classified as one of the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases and affects the alveoli or air sacs of the lungs. There appears to be a correlation between patients suffering from Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema, whether one predisposes another or that there is a common causal factor, is unclear.

It is an inflammatory condition and the agents involved in combating inflammation tend to over react in these patients and actually cause the damage to the tissues of the alveolar wall. This leads to a break down of the alveolar wall, producing large cavities where the air stagnates and infections are more likely to occur. Blood tests can clarify patients with this susceptibility.

Wherever there are large areas of damage to lung tissue, the exchange of gases at the lung surfaces is compromised. This in turn leads to the sufferer struggling to acquire the oxygen the body needs, and breathlessness is a common symptom. Often the sufferer cannot walk upstairs easily, and can become housebound.

A strain can be put on the heart, and patients who developed Emphysema at a young age, can appear to look barrel chest. Sometimes removing part of the lung most badly affected can reduce this strain and allow other parts of the lungs to expand and work normally.

Additional Medical Conditions:

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