What are the complications of emphysema?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, including emphysema, are the fourth leading cause of death in the world. The long-term effects depend on how severe the disease is when diagnosed and if a reduced exposure to the lung irritant occurs. The most effective treatment is quitting smoking. This will typically result in a modest improvement or no further
decline in function.
People with emphysema have a higher mortality than those with normal lung function. Causes of death include respiratory failure, lung infections such as pneumonia and influenza, and other diseases related to smoking. These include cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Eventually, severe shortness of breath will limit the person's normal daily activities. People who continue to smoke will have worsening shortness of breath. They may have panic attacks when they are unable to get enough air in and out. People with advanced emphysema are often incapacitated. They are short of breath even when confined to a chair or bed.
Emphysema patients are at increased risk of contracting recurrent respiratory infections and lung cancer, and are at high risk for respiratory and coronary failure and for cor pulmonale, enlargement and strain on the right side of the heart. (Emphysema makes the heart work harder to keep the lungs supplied with blood because of damage to the lungs' circulatory system and other tissue damage.) This condition, which can also be caused by living at high altitudes for prolonged periods, often leads to failure of the right ventricle. Emphysema is a very serious disease that is greatly complicated and worsened by any type of lung infection.
More information on emphysema
What is emphysema? - Emphysema is a lung disease that reduces the ability of the lungs to expel air, a process which depends upon the elastic properties of the lungs.
What causes emphysema? - Cigarette smoking is the major cause of emphysema. Among other causes of emphysema are industrial pollutants, aerosol sprays, non-tobacco smoke.
What're the risk factors for emphysema? - The primary risk factor for the development of emphysema is tobacco abuse. Air pollution is another risk factor for emphysema.
What are the complications of emphysema? - Emphysema patients are at increased risk of contracting recurrent respiratory infections and lung cancer. Emphysema is a very serious disease.
What are the symptoms of emphysema? - Symptoms of emphysema include shortness of breath on exertion, unexplained weight loss, increased chest size, wheezing or labored breathing.
How is emphysema diagnosed? - Diagnosis of emphysema begins with a medical history and physical examination. Lung function tests can identify emphysema in Stage 0.
What's the treatment for emphysema? - No treatment can reverse or stop emphysema, but steps can be taken to relieve symptoms, treat complications and minimize disability.
How to prevent emphysema? - Many risk factors for emphysema can be completely eliminated. The best method to prevent emphysema is to avoid smoking.