I recently went to the Dr. suspecting I had pneumonia. She listened to my lungs and heard nothing, reviewed my ex ray and saw nothing. Four days later I received a call from the clinic saying the x ray tec saw signs of emphysema. I went in foe a follow up and was told I had moderate to severe emphysema based on this x ray alone. I have no symptoms except a little short of breathe when I was sick. The x ray did show pneumonia also. I was referred to a pulmanoligist but I am extremely scared.
Emphysema is a chronic lung disease. Emphysema occurs when the air sacs in the lungs are gradually destroyed, leading to shortness of breath. Emphysema is one of several diseases known collectively as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema. If there is superadded infection it can lead to pneumonia.
Therapy is actually a combined approach. Well, like I mentioned, the first step would be to quit smoking, to prevent further damage to the lungs. And also immediately on cessation of smoking you will not see any improvement. If there is bronchospasm, this can be relieved by bronchodilators. To improve lung function practice breathing exercises. If the oxygenation is adequate, supplemental oxygen therapy may be needed. Any infection of the lungs, need to be tackled immediately. You may have been initiated on antibiotics for the pneumonia. Discuss these options with your doctor when you happen to meet him next time.
Don't be scared. The x-ray alone is usually not sufficient to diagnose emphysema. And if you had severe emphysema you would not need an x-ray to tell you that. You would have troublesome symptoms. In any case get tested by the pulmonologist.
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