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17.1.08
Emphysema : Silent Killer || Facts Of Emphysema
Drowning in air? A paradox? Not really, with lungs filled with large pockets of air, its victims must gasp for life-giving oxygen. This is because waste air is not easily removed from the lungs allowing oxygen-rich air to replace it. More feared by cigarette smokers than lung cancer, Emphysema is yet little understood today. Its is one of the most destructive, yet least publicized lung diseases. This may be due in part to the fact that there have not been any dramatic treatment or prevention breakthroughs in man’s fight against emphysema.

Although cigarette smoking plays a key role in most cases of emphysema, Scientist have no idea what actually causes the majority of human cases. It is known, however, that smoking makes the condition much worse and speeds up the lung’s destruction.

Once the condition develops, it continues to worsen until there is permanent lung damage. By the time emphysema is detected, considerable damage has already occurred. For reasons not clearly understood, the walls of alveoli. The lung’s tiny air sacs, begin to disappear. Several sacs join together forming larger spaces, the alveoli walls lose their flexibility, and air is trapped.

As the damaged progresses, the lungs have greater difficulty in transferring oxygen to the blood and removing carbon dioxide from it. Once established, the disease cannot be reversed. Breathing becomes increasingly difficult and victim’s physical strength ebbs away. Death from emphysema has been described as slow drowning. Eventually exchange of air in the lungs becomes impossible and the sufferer suffocates.

There is also a rare inherited form of emphysema. In this form persons usually become ill at an early age in their 30s or 40s whereas classical emphysema victims are stricken at much older age, sometime in the late 60s or later. In the inherited form of disease, the effects are much more significant because it greatly restricts the victim’s life at a time when he would normally be very active. Because it is irreversible, the outlook for emphysema victims is not good.

Since it is sometimes possible to slow the spread of emphysema, it is important to detect it early, before much damage occurs. The breathing restriction imposed by the disease will likewise be minimized.

Until more about preventing emphysema is understood, everyone should be alert to the symptoms. Primarily excess sputum and shortness of breath. This is not normal and should be reported to your physician and above all, quit smoking or better yet, don’t start.
Posted by Peter Ville at 6:52 PM

1. Silent Killer

2. Children can have a form of this disease

3. 2 out of 1,000 people suffer from emphysema.

4. Males with emphysema outnumber females by 64%.

5. This is not a reversible disease but can be treated. No cure at this time.