As of the time this was written, over 406,000 Americans have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Many of them were vulnerable to the disease because of pre-existing chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and emphysema. Emphysema is a lung condition that causes difficulty breathing. It is typically caused by long-term exposure to airborne irritants, primarily tobacco smoke, but also marijuana smoke, chemical fumes and dust, and air pollution. For the over three million Americans with an emphysema diagnosis, day-to-day living with the disease is often marked by discomfort and lifestyle limitations. If you are among the millions living with this incurable disease, there are treatment options that can mitigate your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Emphysema causes the lung’s air sacs to deteriorate. As a result, less lung surface area leads to shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. There is a range of treatment options for emphysema. Depending on your condition’s severity and any other health issues or risk factors you may be living with, your doctor will recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
Without lifestyle changes and treatment, emphysema can cause tissue injury and eventually become fatal. While there’s no cure for emphysema, by working with your doctor and following their treatment plan, you can keep your condition from worsening to the point where only an invasive procedure can improve your lifestyle.
If you need help quitting smoking, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).