Do Emphysema Symptoms Come and Go?

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  1. Asthma, a condition that involves narrowed and swelled airways.
  2. Abnormality or dysfunction in the heart.
  3. Interstitial lung disease, a large group of diseases that typically involves progressive scarring of a part of the lungs’ anatomic structure.
  4. Deconditioning. It is a complex condition of physiological change following a period of bed rest, sedentary lifestyle, or inactivity.
  5. Obesity. More pounds of excess weight you gain will add your lung’s and heart’s job, making them work harder than usual.

For acute breathlessness that comes on suddenly, the following are some possible causes:

  1. Lung diseases such as pulmonary embolism, asthma, pneumonia, collapsed lung, and acute upper away obstruction.
  2. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
  3. Heart problems such as heart attack, heart failure, and cardiac tamponade (a condition in which excess fluid builds up around the heart).
  4. Hypotension, low blood pressure.
  5. Sudden blood loss.

Since emphysema symptoms can be vogue, the diagnosis is not only based on the symptoms that you have. Even chronic shortness of breath, the most common symptom of emphysema, is also attributed by a number of different causes – as mentioned before!

So, how to know when you have emphysema?

Most commonly, people with emphysema seek help when they feel short of breath. See a doctor if you have the following conditions:

  1. If you have had unexplained breathlessness that lasts several weeks or months. This is especially true if the symptom gets worse (you’re so short of breath) or interferes with your daily routines.
  2. If you are not mentally alert!
  3. If your fingernails /lips change to become gray /blue with exertion.

Physical exam (including asking the symptoms that you have), interview (especially to ask whether or not you are a smoker), and lab tests are common procedures to get the clues to the cause of the problem.

You may need to take pulmonary test – a common procedure to diagnose restrictive or obstructive lung disease (including for COPD such as emphysema), as well as the severity of the disease. This can help assess the overall health of your lungs function by recording the volume and flow of air through your lungs.

Another test to diagnose emphysema is imaging test (such as CT scan and X-rays). If necessary, sometimes a procedure called bronchoscopy may be used to look inside the airways and remove a few samples of your lung tissue.

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