Without treatment, emphysema progressively worsens, causing lung damage that can’t be cured, and that makes it difficult to breathe. As a pulmonologist, Raees Ahmed, MD, at Healing Lungs in Conroe, Texas, specializes in diagnosing emphysema and providing personalized treatment that improves your breathing and slows down the ongoing damage. Use the online booking feature or call the office today to start receiving compassionate care for emphysema.
Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that occurs when the air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs become inflamed and damaged. Your lungs have millions of air sacs, which serve the vital function of gas exchange.
The air sacs inflate to take in oxygen, then send the oxygen from your lungs into your bloodstream. They also take carbon dioxide out of your bloodstream and send it out of your lungs when you exhale.
When the air sacs are damaged by emphysema, they stop functioning. As a result, oxygen stays trapped in your lungs, and your body is deprived of oxygen. Additionally, carbon dioxide stays in your bloodstream.
Emphysema develops over years of inhaling gases that irritate your lungs. Of the possible gases, however, smoking is the leading cause. Inhaling on tobacco products draws toxic particles and gases into your lungs. As you continue to smoke, the delicate tissues in the air sacs sustain repeated irritation and injury. Over time, the air sacs break down and stop functioning.
Cigarette smoking, cigars, pipe smoke, and secondhand smoke are all responsible for causing emphysema. Emerging studies indicate that using e-cigarettes or vaping promotes the same cellular changes as those found in smokers with emphysema. Air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust, as well as a rare genetic disorder, may also contribute to the disease.
Emphysema causes shortness of breath and a cough that may or may not produce mucus. You may also have wheezing. At first, you feel short of breath when you exercise or climb stairs. As the disease gets worse and more air sacs are damaged, shortness of breath occurs even when you rest.
Environmental changes such as increased exposure to car exhaust or developing a respiratory infection often cause symptom flare-ups. Over time, many patients with emphysema lose weight because they don’t feel hungry, and they use excessive energy to breathe.
After reviewing your medical history and examining your lungs, Dr. Ahmed performs diagnostic tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and lung function testing. Lung damage can’t be cured once it develops, but personalized treatment can relieve your symptoms and slow down disease progression.
Dr. Ahmed treats patients with inhalers that turn medications into a mist that quickly reaches your lungs. Your inhaler may deliver corticosteroids to reduce inflammation or bronchodilators that relieve coughing, shortness of breath, and relax your airways.
To get help for emphysema, call Healing Lungs, or schedule an appointment online.