More Details on Relieving Emphysema

Anti-Inflammatories (Corticosteroids)
Since emphysema may be associated with inflammation, doctors may prescribe a corticosteroid to soothe and ultimately heal the delicate lining layer of the air passageways, making them more resistant to obstruction. Inhaled steroids do not carry an FDA-approved indication for emphysema, but are used off-label by many clinicians. The type of steroid contained in these preparations is not the type that builds muscles. Long-term use of oral corticosteroids is commonly associated with a variety of dose-dependent side effects, such as osteoporosis (in both men and women), weight gain and fat redistribution, hypertension, loss of lean body mass, and high blood sugar. Commonly used corticosteroids include the oral preparation prednisone and several inhaled corticosteroids.
 
Oxygen Therapy
Supplemental oxygen can benefit the patient whose lung function is severely impaired and cannot absorb enough oxygen from the air. Long-term oxygen therapy prolongs life in patients who have low blood oxygen levels (hypoxemia). This therapy reduces the excess red blood cells, which helps improve mental functioning and heart failure. It may also improve shortness of breath during exercise.
 
Surgery
Two types of surgeries considered in severe emphysema treatment are:
 
  • Lung reduction surgery
  • Transplant surgery.
     
Lung Reduction Surgery
Emphysema sufferers may find relief from their symptoms with this surgical procedure. It often eliminates the need for oxygen and significantly enhances breathing function. This technique, which is a minimally invasive procedure, requires two or three small incisions made in the chest and a tiny camera inserted through one of the incisions to view the lung. Through another incision, a special stapling device is inserted to cut portions of the lung so that the healthy lung tissue has more room to expand. Prospective patients need to undergo careful testing prior to consideration of this surgery.

Information on Emphysema

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