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A pregnant woman usually undergoes many changes and the typical waddle is a major feature of a pregnant woman’s life. Investigators have seen that the women walk the same way even after they deliver thus affecting the bones, joints, and muscles. The changes in the overall distribution and body mass are something that should not be left unattended. This is what results in major changes in the physiological  [...]

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Overview of Emphysema

Submitted by on November 26, 2011 – 11:06 pmNo Comment

Emphysema is defined as a lung disorder resulting in reduction of the lungs’ ability of expelling air. This function of the lung depends heavily on the elastic qualities or rubber-band like nature of our lungs. A person develops emphysema when the tiny airways or bronchioles of his lungs get damaged. The bronchioles remain joined with the alveoli or the grape-like structures present in the sacs of our lungs. Alveoli are the site of exchange between oxygen taken from air and carbon dioxide emitted from our body. Elastic qualities of our lungs reside within the tissues surrounding the alveoli. Some characteristics of the emphysema include:

  1. Due to decrease in elasticity of the lungs, the lungs cannot contract as ably as before
  2. Impaired lung contraction stops our alveoli from shrinking completely; this makes exhaling difficult for the patient.
  3. As the patient cannot exhale properly, his next breath starts with some air in his lungs.
  4. Presence of the old air does not allow the alveoli to take in enough amount of fresh air and this hampers the oxygen supply procedure to our body.
  5. Emphysema patients might experience shortness of breath as a result of exertion; with progression of the disease the patient might also develop the symptom while resting.

Emphysema is an irreversible lung disorder, in which the patient’s ability of exhaling is diminished. Emphysema is categorized as a COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The other major lung disease categorized as COPD is chronic bronchitis. There are several instances when a patient develops chronic bronchitis and emphysema together.

Current statistics suggest that over 2 million people in the United States are suffering from emphysema; it ranks 15th on the list of chronic health problems that limit our activities. The most significant risk factor for emphysema is cigarette smoking. Age is another risk factor of the disease. Majority of the emphysema patients are elderly men; men above the age of 65 years are most vulnerable towards this disease. However, in recent years, incidence of the disease in women has also increased significantly. The Midwestern regions of the world have maximum number of patients with emphysema.

One does not develop emphysema suddenly. This condition occurs gradually, most commonly after sticking to the smoking habit for several years. Usually, one starts experiencing the signs of emphysema after 30-50% of his or her lung tissues are lost.

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