Signs of emphysema aren’t easily identifiable in the beginning due to their subtle nature. Emphysema is part of a larger group of lung diseases known as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). Emphysema is characterized by the increase in size of the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs that would eventually bring about enlargement and eventual damage. Because the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen happens in the alveoli, individuals suffering from emphysema have problems in expelling their “air” which brings about buildup of carbon dioxide in the body.
At the moment, there is no known cure for emphysema. Nevertheless, being familiar with the signs of emphysema for early detection and prevention can help to stop the disease from progressing. Here are several of the symptoms to look out for:
1. Difficulty breathing
Dyspnea or shortness of breath is one major sign of emphysema
2. Increased rate of respiration
The medical term, tachypnea, is synonymous to rapid breathing and it is also one of the common signs of emphysema.
It is common for patients suffering from emphysema to experience wheezing. However it is vital that you observe when the wheezing happens. Wheezing at the start of expiration can be related to emphysema while wheezing at the end of expiration is normally an indication of bronchitis.
4. Persistent Cough With Mucus or Without Mucus
A persistent or chronic cough, which is either with mucus (productive cough) or without mucus (non-productive cough), is among the common signs of emphysema brought about by a history of cigarette smoking.
5. Gradual weight loss
Along with other illnesses that are part of the COPD, anorexia, the medical term for loss of appetite, ultimately happens.
6. Reduced Exercise Tolerance
Patients gets easily worn out when engaging in physical activities while emphysema progresses.
7. Barrel Chest
During the later stages of emphysema, the chest assumes a barrel-like appearance, which is often described as round and protruding.
Typically, the signs of emphysema and asthma are very similar. The difference can be determined by observing the results after using asthma medications as recommended by the physician. As soon as it takes effect, you may determine whether you are suffering from asthma or emphysema. It is because individuals with emphysema will not respond to the asthma medication.
Soon enough, the condition also affects the brain, considering that less oxygen reaches the brain via the bloodstream. This causes grumpiness, becoming easily irritated and mental capacity decline. Increased carbon dioxide levels in the blood, on the other hand results in headaches and sleep problems. These kinds of mental states and conditions may also be regarded as possible signs of emphysema.
In case you are encountering any signs of emphysema pointed out in this post, seek assistance from your family physician instantly.