Emphysema is a lung disease that causes lung tissues to degenerate, thus making the lungs rigid and the sufferer unable to breathe. Know the different stages of emphysema to understand the disease.
Take a spirometry-breathing test. This is used to determine if you have emphysema, what stage it is at and how well your lungs currently function. You will be asked to take a deep breath and blow out air as fast as you can. The speed of your exhalation will be measured to know whether your lungs are working at a normal rate or if the disease is causing it to weaken and to what degree.
The stages of emphysema are the following: at-risk, mild emphysema, moderate emphysema and severe emphysema. They differ in the amount of air that the lungs can accommodate.
First Stage: At-Risk
The spirometry breathing test result is normal. Symptoms are chronic cough and slight production of sputum.
Second Stage: Mild Emphysema
The spirometry breathing test results reveal that there is a little limitation to breathing airflow. There would be an increase in the intensity of chronic cough and production of sputum yet you would not be aware of the decrease of the amount of air that flows into your lungs.
Third Stage: Moderate Emphysema
The spirometry-breathing test will confirm a further decrease in airflow. You will experience difficulty in breathing when doing vigorous activity. This is noticeable and you will find that you have to go to a doctor to alleviate your condition.
Fourth and Last Stage: Severe Emphysema
There is no need for testing because the disease is clearly evident, but if tested, the spirometry-breathing test will show an extreme decrease in airflow. You will have great difficulty in breathing even after simple tasks. At this stage, you may experience heart problems and your lungs may cease to function.
These are the stages of emphysema. Knowing what happens at each stage may be frightening but understanding the disease may help you to cope better. If you have symptoms of the disease such as chronic coughing and difficulty in breathing, seek medical assistance immediately.
Emphysema can never be totally cured but the symptoms can be alleviated by using a variety of methods such as administering medications, oxygen, rehabilitating or operating on the lungs. You could also receive alternative treatments such as acupuncture, reiki healing, hypnosis, meditation and relaxation techniques. Ask your doctor whether practicing these is safe for your health.
Join emphysema support groups in order to understand emphysema better. You could receive news regarding emphysema treatments and cures and also emotional help from others who have the same disease as yours.
Read more about emphysema in order to deal with the disease more fully. You could find these on the Internet and on books that may be ordered or bought in bookstores or found in your library.
Understanding the stages of emphysema is a step towards living a better life even though you may be diagnosed with the disease. Make use of available help and take better care of your health.