Options for Managing Emphysema

Treatment Options

There are a number of treatments that can help patients with emphysema, but the most important step is to stop smoking. Stopping smoking when the airflow obstruction is mild or moderate slows the development of disabling shortness of breath.
 
People with emphysema should also try to avoid exposure to other airborne irritants.
 
Emphysema treatment may involve one (or a combination) of the following methods:
 
  • Medications
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Oxygen
  • Surgery.
     
Medications
Depending on the severity of emphysema, your doctor may recommend a number of medications as part of your treatment, including:
 
  • Bronchodilators
  • Anti-inflammatories.
     
Bronchodilators
This class of medication works by relaxing the muscles around the airways. They are typically indicated for the relief of bronchospasm in patients with reversible obstructive airway disease.
 
Although more commonly used to treat asthma, they may also be prescribed for emphysema patients if there is a tendency toward airway constriction or tightening.
 
Some of the more common bronchodilator medicines include albuterol, terbutaline, ipratropium bromide, and theophylline.
 
Inhaled medicines, which go directly into the lungs and have less exposure to other parts of the body, are often administered first because they usually begin working in less than five minutes, with a lower incidence of side effects.

Information on Emphysema

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