Most people know that smoking can increase the chances of developing life-threatening diseases. Emphysema is one such example caused by smoking. According to the Mayo Clinic, emphysema affects pulmonary function by ruining the air sacs within the lungs. This damage cannot be reversed.
What Are The Symptoms of This Disease?
According to the Ohio State University Medical Center, shortness of breath is the most common sign of emphysema. Since emphysema prevents the lung’s air sacs, or alveoli, from expanding or contracting, it is much more difficult for a person to take in oxygen. Additional symptoms can include tiredness, cardiac problems, difficulty sleeping, coughing, and depression.
Because emphysema is a chronic disease (which means that it develops overtime), many smokers can already have emphysema without having noticeable signs of the disease. If you have been a long-time tobacco user and have developed these symptoms, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor.
Can Emphysema Lead To Other Diseases?
People with emphysema are more susceptible to developing bacterial infections, which can include pneumonia or bronchitis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, emphysema can put stress on the heart and arteries.
How Is It Treated?
Patients can undergo treatment in order to alleviate the symptoms of emphysema. While there is no cure, patients can opt for therapy, medication or even surgery. The Mayo Clinic lists the following options to reduce the effects of emphysema:
- Using An Oxygen Tank
- Breathing Exercises Through A Rehabilitation Program
- Taking Bronchodilator Drugs
- Finding An Effective Way To Quit Smoking
What Are The Best Ways To Avoid Getting Emphysema
You’ve probably already guessed it – quit smoking if you want to protect yourself and the people around you. Not only will you improve your lung function, but you will be less likely to develop additional health problems down the road.