Emphysema is a progressive lung disease that causes impaired respiration and reduced exercise capacity. It is a consequence of the destruction of lung tissue architecture, i.e. the walls of the alveoli and small airways. When the disease is advanced, expiratory effort is so great that the simple act of breathing can very easily lead to burnout. Emphysema is a chronic obstructive disease that is installed gradually over many years, and symptoms such as shortness of breath occur when lung damage is already irreversible.
Symptoms of emphysema:
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The main manifestations of emphysema are shortness of breath and reduced exercise capacity; both worsen as the disease progresses. Over time, symptoms become so severe that breathing is difficult even at rest and lung infections appear as complications.
Other signs of emphysema:
- Moderate chronic cough. Coughing is common among patients with emphysema. When it occurs, is dry, nonproductive (without sputum). A productive cough may indicate another chronic obstructive condition – chronic bronchitis.
- Decreased appetite and weight loss.
Causes for emphysema:
Inspired air travels through a network of airways that branch out like the branches of a tree, from the largest diameter (trachea, main bronchi) to the smallest (terminal bronchioles, respiratory), and finally arrive in bags and alveolar alveoli. In alveolar sacs walls exist small blood vessels that take oxygen from inhaled air and let carbon dioxide, resulting from the metabolism in the air to be expired.
In emphysema, inflammation destroys the fragile walls of the air sacs and bronchioles lose their elasticity, there remain open during expiration and the air remains trapped in alveolar sacs. Over time, affected alveolar sacs confluence and form bubbles of emphysema that lower respiratory efficiency.
Smoking, the major cause of emphysema
The most common cause of emphysema is smoking. Cigarette smoke destroys the cilia in the respiratory mucosa of the respiratory tree. They are designed to clean the airways and alveoli to prevent penetration of substances in the air, germs, irritants, pollutants etc. In the absence of healthy cilia, irritants remain in the airways and penetrate alveoli, some generating inflammation and eventually tissue destruction of the air sacs and bronchioles elastic walls.
At a small percentage of patients, emphysema is a result of a genetic defect that does not produce enough of a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin. It helps protect lung tissue elastic action of enzymes. Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency leads to progressive destruction of lung tissue and eventually to the emergence of emphysema.
Risk factors for emphysema are:
- Age. Although specific pulmonary emphysema is a progressive damage, most people with emphysema produced by smoking begin to accuse symptoms of the disease between 50 and 60 years.
- Passive exposure to cigarette smoke. Both active smoking and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke increases the risk of emphysema;
- Occupational exposure to various chemicals. Smoke from burning chemicals, inhaling dust from wood, cotton, etc, increases the risk of emphysema.
- Heredity. Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency is inherited cause of emphysema, especially before age 50, even if the person is not a smoker.
- HIV infection. HIV-infected smokers have an additional risk of emphysema compared to those uninfected.
- Diseases of connective tissue. Some diseases affecting the connective tissue are associated with emphysema.
Emphysema treatment aims to reduce disease progression, relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Emphysema therapy includes the use of bronchodilators, inhaled steroids, oxygen supplementation, antibiotics and vaccines to prevent infections. In some cases surgery is needed to remove damaged areas of emphysema and pulmonary emphysema bubbles.
The most important aspect of prevention is smoking cessation. Although cigarette smoking is the main cause of this disease, avoiding polluted environments and limiting exposure to different chemicals lower the risk of this disease.
Calivita herbal supplements helpful in emphysema
- Supplementation with Beta Carotene helps protect against free radicals, stimulates the immune system to fight the infection and reduce the rate of lung cancer disease.
- Oxygen stabilized in liquid form, as OxyMax natural supplement, is beneficial in increasing immune function, improving cellular oxygenation, supplementing oxygen to tissues, relieving symptoms deriving from respiratory difficulties and protecting the body from various diseases.
- Omega 3 fatty acids obtained from fish oil have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, increase oxygen to tissues, slow the aging process and protect against lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis.
- Natural antibiotic effect given by Oregano Oil streamlines lung mucus, removes bronchial spasms and provides protection against several bacteria and fungi that can cause lung infections.