Emphysema manifestations | Definition, cause, symptoms, and treatment

Emphysema manifestations

Do you want to know about emphysema manifestations? We are discussing here emphysema manifestations definition, cause, symptoms, and treatment.

Definition of emphysema manifestations

Emphysema is a chronic lung disorder. Where the natural air sacs called alveoli to increase in size as their number decreases. The tissues surrounding the alveoli lose their elasticity and these air sacs can no longer inflate or deflate as usual. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

This phenomenon reduces the amount of oxygen transferred from the lungs to the bloodstream. The air gets stuck inside the alveoli instead of being exhaled, which makes it harder for you to breathe. Emphysema can be part of a lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.

Emphysema usually results from exposure to toxins from cigarettes as well as pollution, dust, chemical fumes, and irritants. The probability of being affected is higher in the case of adults of a certain age; moreover, many people with emphysema are not aware of it. If the damage caused by emphysema is irreversible, treatment can help slow its progression. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Who is affected by emphysema? Emphysema manifestations

The people most at risk for emphysema are: Emphysema manifestations

  • Smokers and former smokers;
  • People are exposed to second-hand smoke;
  • People with frequent respiratory infections;
  • Some people carrying a specific gene (1% of cases);
  • The elderly: aging can lead to a loss of elasticity of the pulmonary alveoli. Even in someone who has never smoked; Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Causes of emphysema manifestations:

Smoking is the main cause of emphysema. Although tobacco consumption has declined in Canada for years, it remains a major source of concern. The majority of people with emphysema are or were smokers. Smoking is responsible for 80-90% of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Smoking is also the cause of the majority of lung cancer cases in Canada. On burning, a cigarette emits more than 4,000 different chemicals. Many of which are carcinogenic (which can cause cancer) or toxic to living tissue. Exposure to second-hand smoke also increases the risk of developing emphysema.

Respiratory tract infections can also destroy lung tissue, and therefore contribute to the onset or worsening of emphysema. In addition, emphysema increases the risk of infection. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Heredity sometimes plays a role in emphysema. Carriers of a specific genetic defect called homozygous alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency are at high risk of developing emphysema. This anomaly is rare, however, and only explains less than 1% of cases. It is essential that people with an alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency do not smoke.

Age naturally brings about changes in the lungs and alveoli, even for non-smokers. Sometimes the loss of elasticity is severe enough to be considered emphysema. Air pollution can also irritate the lungs and cause emphysema, although pollution is rarely the only factor. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Symptoms of emphysema manifestations:

The main symptoms of emphysema

The symptoms of emphysema change as the disease progresses. At first, it is a slight shortness of breath on exertion, then: Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

  • Continuous shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Tired
  • Chronic cough
  • Pallor
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Extended expiration

At the onset of the disease, the symptoms are sometimes few. Damage to the alveoli causes shortness of breath on exertion, which is usually the first symptom. As emphysema progresses, shortness of breath can be felt even at rest.

This difficulty in breathing can affect normal activities such as eating food and lead to loss of appetite and weight. Other possible symptoms include a feeling of tightness in the chest, fatigue, a chronic cough. Or a change in color towards the blue or gray of the fingernails or lips during exercise. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

As the alveoli expand, air remains in pockets called bubbles that form in the lungs. This phenomenon can produce the “barrel chest”, a characteristic shape of the over-inflated chest.

Lung damage Emphysema manifestations

Chronic lung damage prevents the heart from circulating blood normally. In fact, these lesions can increase pressure in the part of the heart that pumps blood to the lungs. This phenomenon is pulmonary hypertension. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

It is suspected when there is swelling in the legs. Swelling of the abdomen, or prominent pulsations in the veins of the neck of a person with emphysema. When the heart tries to pump blood to damaged lungs. Its right side may widen and be put under some strain, which could result in heart failure.

The bubbles can break out of the lung in the cavity pleural (the space around each of the lungs). The air that collects outside the lung can lead to a condition called pneumothorax (collapsed lung) that can be life-threatening. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

The body may also try to compensate for the low oxygen by increasing the number of red blood cells. Sometimes the increase in the number of red blood cells is so great that it can cause blood clots to form.

When the disease is at an advanced stage:

  • Bronchial rattles, wheezing (sometimes these can only be heard by the doctor);
  • Bluish discoloration of the lips (lack of oxygen);
  • Distension of the thorax: it takes the shape “funnel”, because of the blockage of the respiratory muscles during inspiration;
  • Heart failure in the right heart; Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Diagnostic of emphysema manifestations

The doctor who suspects you have emphysema will want to know your history and do a lung function test. The exams are as follows:

Spirometer:Emphysema manifestations

The second maximum expiratory volume (FEV1) measures the amount of air you can expel during the 1st second of forced expiration. The forced vital capacity (FVC) corresponds to the total amount of air the lungs can expel. These are the 2 most common measurements of lung function. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Pulmonary functional exploration:

This includes a spirometer, but also measurement of lung volume, oxygenation, and pulmonary diffusion capacity. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Chest x-ray or high-resolution CT scan:

such tests are often necessary to rule out the possibility of other medical conditions. Such as pulmonary fibrosis or other damage to the lungs. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.


This is a method used to measure the level of oxygen in the blood with a clamp attached to a finger, toe, or ear. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Arterial blood gas measurement:

blood tests provide relevant data about the level of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Treatment and Prevention of emphysema manifestations

The first treatment for emphysema is to quit smoking. The lungs will not be able to regenerate, but subsequent damage will at least be slowed down.

The treatment includes:

  • Purified human alpha-1-antitrypsin which is indicated for the treatment of emphysema caused by lowered alpha-1-antitrypsin levels;
  • Antibiotics for infection;
  • Bronchodilators such as beta-agonists and anticholinergic help relax and dilate the airways;
  • Corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation, can be used to prevent seizures leading to hospitalization.
  • Exercise can help strengthen muscles so that physical activity is less demanding on the lungs;
  • Lung surgery, or lung transplantation, can save the lives of the small number of people who apply for this procedure. During a new type of surgery called lung volume reduction. The most affected part, 20% to 30% of the lungs, is removed. In this way, the lungs and muscles that have remained intact work more efficiently and improve breathing. Research is underway to verify whether the same benefits can be obtained by removing lung tissue affected by emphysema using a non-surgical technique (i.e. using valves or glue). Other work seeks to determine if springs could be inserted in the lungs in order to make them regain their elasticity;
  • Flu and pneumonia vaccinations, as recommended by your doctor to help prevent respiratory infections. It does not cure emphysema but can prevent seizures; Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

For the vast majority of people with emphysema. The best way to prevent and slow it down is to not smoke. This measure is by far the most important.

Here are some quick tips that may help protect your lungs in case of emphysema:

  1. Avoid second-hand smoke;
  2. Protect yourself as much as possible against air pollution;
  3. Exercise as much as possible;
  4. Use an air conditioner with a filter and a humidity regulator;
  5. Prevent allergy “triggers” that may make emphysema worse if asthma is present;
  6. Avoid cold air which causes lung spasms
  7. Avoid frequenting places of high altitudes;
  8. Wash your hands and teeth frequently to ward off infections. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

The vaccination of emphysema manifestations

People with COPD and their loved ones should be vaccinated against the flu every fall. Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines may also be recommended to you by your doctor. Read more about emphysema manifestations from here.

Long-term oxygen therapy: Emphysema manifestations

Home oxygenation is generally decided upon in cases of chronic respiratory failure that is when the lungs are too degraded and cannot absorb enough oxygen from the air.

By breathing enriched air, the lungs can thus absorb enough oxygen for the whole body. Oxygen is delivered through nasal “glasses”, an oxygen mask, or a Tran’s tracheal catheter. The treatment lasts at least 15 hours per day.

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