lung disease where the alveoli and the narrow passages leading to these air sacs become
permanently swollen with air.
What to look for
Typical symptoms of emphysema
over the years.
a chronic, mild cough,
sometimes accompanied by a small amount of phlegm brought on by the slightest exertion.
chewing and swallowing may
in severe cases a
barrel shaped chest.
Emphysema is a potentially
fatal lung disease and is characterised by a shortness of breath followed by coughing. Emphysema is most often caused by excessive and heavy
There is no cure for this
disease but seeing a Doctor may be able to help alleviate some of the symptoms.
Emphysema results when the
alveoli the tiny air sacs and the narrow passages leading to them become enlarged. These
sacs are responsible for taking oxygen to the bloodstream and drawing out carbon dioxide
waste. But when the lungs' airways become constricted or damaged, the lung tissues lose
their elasticity and become damaged and breathing becomes difficult. This is because the
damage prevents the lungs from supplying the blood with enough oxygen .
This disease is most common
in heavy smokers usually over 40 years of age.
The most common cause of
emphysema is heavy, long-term smoking. Cigarette smoke is thought to attack the lung
tissue. Smoking also has the effect of weakening the walls of the lungs airways, causing
them to collapse on exhalation, trapping stale air. Smoking also causes chronic bronchitis
and this in turn usually makes the emphysema worse.
Smoking causes the tiny cells
called cilia to become debilitated and dysfunctional. Their job is to rid the lungs of
excess mucus and other debris. Clogged with mucus, the lungs are then susceptible to viral
and bacterial infections.
Unfortunately there is no
treatment yet that will give you a new set of healthy and unaffected lungs. However you
can do some things that will help the symptoms and avoid the disease becoming worse.
You must consult a doctor if
you have any of the above listed symptoms and continue to see him or her regularly. Your
doctor may show you the correct ways to breath with this affliction.
Quitting smoking immediately
and avoiding any areas where there is cigarette smoke is a vitally important step.
Start and maintain a
low-impact exercise regime such as walking or swimming.
In severe cases of emphysema,
at-home oxygen therapy may be necessary; In some other serious cases, surgery may be an
You must never stop seeing
your doctor when you have this illness. However alternative therapies often relieve your
symptoms and discomfort.
This has been very successful in the treatment of emphysema. Popular essential oils
for this ailment are
globulus), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis),
Pine (Pinus sylvestris), and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).
Chinese Herbs -
The Chinese herb Ephedra
(Ephedra sinica), also called Ma Huang, is a potent
bronchodilator. This herb does have side effects and should only be taken under the
supervision of a Professional.
Herbal Therapies -
number of herbs act as expectorants and may be appropriate in the treatment of emphysema.
helenium), for example, is believed to help clear excess mucus from the lungs.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
tea is recommended for
soothing the mucous membranes.
Other herbs that may help
relieve shortness of breath include grindelia (Grindelia spp.), Euphorbia pilulifera,
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) Bark, Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Motherwort (Leonurus
Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum).
To treat emphysema, a Homoeopath might recommend Antimonium Tartaricum for wheezing
For symptoms that worsen on
damp days, in stuffy rooms, or early in the morning, Ammonium carbonicum.
For symptoms that grow worse
at night or in cold air and drafts, Hepar sulphuris.
Some Health Professionals
recommend avoiding foods that cause excess mucus production, such as dairy products,
processed foods, and white flour products. Also eat plenty of garlic.
Inhaling steam can help
loosen phlegm in your lungs. First, fill a sink with boiling water. Keeping your eyes
closed, drape a towel over your head and inhale the steam for two to five minutes. To
further ease breathing and help relieve nasal congestion, try adding a few drops of one or
more essential oils to the hot water.
Although there is no cure for
emphysema, you can practice some simple exercises and breathing techniques that will help
you cope with the disease. See a Yoga specialist and your doctor.
When to seek further
you cough up dark coloured
or thick mucus.
you have a lingering, mild
you begin to lose weight
and you are not trying to
you regularly become
breathless after simple activities.