Despite many efforts of health professionals to help smokers quit smoking, it continues to be one of the major causes of illness and death around the world. One serious ailment that can be developed because of smoking is emphysema. Emphysema is one of the most fatal respiratory diseases in the United States today.
Emphysema is a chronic respiratory disease that is characterized by the inflammation of the alveoli or air sacks in the lungs. Emphysema may reduce the elasticity of the lungs and may result in the collapse of the bronchioles. As this happens, air cannot leave the alveoli and the function of the lungs is severely hampered. The lungs may lose their ability to shrink during exhalation, reduced exhalation may also reduce the amount of air that is inhaled. Because of this condition, waste air is not easily removed from the lungs and oxygen-rich air is not restored. Individuals with emphysema may have a hard time breathing and oftentimes gasp for air. Emphysema is most common among individuals aged 50 and older and may occur with other respiratory disease like bronchitis.
Heavy cigarette smoking is the primary cause of emphysema, causing about 80-90 percent of all emphysema cases. Pipe, cigar, and marijuana smoking may also damage the lungs and cause emphysema. Some experts suggest that marijuana may cause much severe damage because it inhaled deeply inhaled by smokers. Another cause of this condition is a deficiency of enzymes called alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT). Lack of these enzymes may cause chronic uninhibited tissue breakdown that may lead to the manifestation of emphysema.
The symptoms of emphysema may develop gradually over many years. Many individuals with emphysema become aware of this condition when they have already lost over half of the functioning of their lung tissue. These symptoms may include the following:
shortness of breath
swelling of the feet, ankles, or legs
excess mucus production
Despite the presence of modern technology and medical advancement, treatments for emphysema are not able to cure or reverse the damage to the lungs. These treatments are only designed to relieve the symptoms, slowdown the progression of the disease, and alleviate possible fatal complications that may develop. The first step in treating emphysema is for smokers to quit smoking to prevent further damage to the lungs.
Aside from acquiring emphysema certain conditions like cataract, macular degeneration, psoriasis, tooth loss, osteoporosis, and many more may be increased by smoking. However, it is never too late to quit smoking. Stopping the habit can make a difference in one’s cardiovascular and overall health. Individuals who are having a hard time cutting the habit may try using quit smoking products in the market. These products however cannot do all the work, the best and effective to quit smoking involves determination, discipline, and commitment to stop the habit permanently. Using these products can help smokers cut the habit by making them more comfortable and complacent to adjust to lives without cigarettes. Many quit smoking products are available over the counter, it is best to seek the approval of health professionals to clarify side effects and drug interactions that may be developed while under medication. With the right tools and attitude, quitting smoking and reducing the development of heart diseases can be easier than others think.