Emphysema

Emphysema: Overview

Emphysema is a pulmonary condition with loss of elasticity in the alveoli and the interalveolar septa... the "meat-foam" and their interleaving sheaths that you fill up when you breathe.

Causes and Development

If a septum gets too stretched over time, several of the little sacs will coalesce together, decreasing the surface area for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange.  If enough of these sacs lose their separateness, like small soap bubbles joining to make a few larger ones, breathing gets harder because each breath accomplishes less interchange of gases, resulting in emphysema.

Caused by years of bad asthma, tobacco smoking, chemical damage, and other chronic lung disorders, it can be halted but not reversed.  The first breath you take defines forever the number of the alveolar bubbles: they cannot be regenerated if they coalesce together.

Emphysema

Information On This Page

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Emphysema:

Symptoms - Environment

Difficulty breathing in cold weather may be a sign or symptom of EmphysemaDifficulty breathing in cold weather
Cold, dry air can cause narrowing of the airways in some people with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, which makes breathing more difficult.
Counter-indicators:
Breathing unaffected by cold weather may contraindicate EmphysemaBreathing unaffected by cold weather
Cold, dry air can cause narrowing of the airways in some people with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, which makes breathing more difficult.

Symptoms - Nails

Risk factors for Emphysema:

Lab Values - Scans

Counter-indicators:
Recently-normalized chest X-rays often decreases risk of EmphysemaNormal chest X-ray or recently-normalized chest X-rays
A chest X-ray may show changes caused by emphysema, including significant lung enlargement, scarring and hole formation.

KEY

Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of
Weakly counter-indicative: may contraindicate
Weakly counter-indicative:
may contraindicate
Strong counter-indication: often decreases risk of
Strong counter-indication:
often decreases risk of