Emphysema is the medical term for the enlargement of the air spaces in the lungs caused by destruction to the tissue of the lung walls, known as the alveoli.
This loss of lung tissue means that less oxygen can be absorbed and carbon dioxide is stored in these enlarged spaces causing breathlessness and a characteristic enlarging of the chest usually known as barrel-chest.
The breakdown of the lung walls in the alveoli, the small air sacs in the lungs, results in fewer larger alveoli and a subsequent loss of breath.
If emphysema is suggested, either on clinical examination or by chest X-ray, treatment should be initiated immediately.
Stop smoking and remove the patient from smoky, polluted or dusty environments.
Any individual who may have lung damage by particle intake should be given the homeopathic remedy Pothos foetidus 200, one dose a day for five days.
Breathing exercises from Buteyko, yoga or Qi Gong should be taught and utilized daily to encourage energy flow into the chest as well as oxygen intake and carbon dioxide removal.
The following vitamins should be taken at the given doses per foot of height to encourage membrane stability and protect against infection: beta-carotene , vitamin E , vitamin C and zinc . All should be taken in divided doses during the day except for zinc, which should be taken as one dose before sleep. < In advanced emphysema, acupuncture may be of some benefit.
The use of oxygen delivered by mask or nostril prongs can be organized by your GP at home.
A certain amount of emphysema will develop in all of us as we age and our body loses the ability to replace destroyed lung tissue, but very often emphysema is brought on at an earlier age and to distressing levels by smoking and recurrent infections in people with chronic bronchitis or even poorly treated asthma.
Once lung tissue has been destroyed it is unlikely that the body will be able to replace it, so spotting emphysema early and preventing its progression is the best treatment.
Any persisting shortness of breath should be reviewed by a doctor.