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questions about emphysema
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questions about emphysema

I was recently told that I have moderate emphysema, which was quite a shock because I am a non-smoker and active person.
1. I know that everyone is different, but have there been any statistics on average length of time to go from stage to stage, i. e. mild to moderate to severe ?

2. 3 years ago I was told I have acid reflux disease due to a sore throat.esophogus .  I take prilosec every day, but still notice the pain and soreness.  Could it be from emphysema and not acid reflux ?

3.  I work out 3 times a week, and usually take a steam bath afterwords.  Is a steam bath good or bad for emphysema ?

I am a 65 year old male, 160 lbs, in relatively good shape and health.  I have been coughing up "stuff" from my lungs for about 1 year, but no other symptoms.  I don't get shortness of breath when I work out, although I have noticed in recent years that I can only hold my breath about 10-15 sec.
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While a chest x-ray may suggest emphysema, it does not specifically determine that it is emphysema.  Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are the best way to know if the problem is emphysema.  Check with your doctor about coughing up stuff.  You could have a lung disease other than emphysema.

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is the name given to a small number of cases of emphysema where there is a hereditary basis.  This can occur in people who have never smoked.  It is the result of not having enough of a major protein, called alpha-1 antitrypsin, in the blood.  A blood test that measures the amount of alpha-1 antitrypsin is the way this problem is identified.

Generally it takes a long time to go from one stage of emphysema to the next.  However for those who continue to smoke the emphysema will progress 3 times faster than for those who are smoke free.  Emphysema does not cause pain and soreness.  A steam bath should be good for emphysema.
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Emphysema does NOT cause pain, though acid reflux that is inadequately treated can indeed cause pain & should be further investigated.

There is no set "timetable" for emphysema progression, other than knowing that if you avoid whatever lung irritants CAUSED your emphysema it will slow your progression much more than if you continue to be exposed to such irritants (especially cigarette smoke).  A recent study has shown that there are a significant number of patients who have never smoked who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (conditions including emphysema).  That said, it may be worthwhile to go for a 2nd opinion to confirm whether you do in fact have emphysema or chronic asthma with NO emphysema (a high resolution spiral CT scan may be useful in helping distinguish between the diagnoses).

It is great that you continue to maintain good physical health & work out.  Conditioned muscles use O2 much more efficiently than poorly conditioned muscles.

Avoiding infections & flu (taking annual flu shot & pneumonia shot every 5 years) are important for those of us with chronic lung conditions.  We can lead very active & full lives.  I also have moderate to severe emphysema & have never smoked or been exposed to cigarette smoke & they can't figure out why my emphysema is so severe.

Starion
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Avatar_n_tn
hi,
just a quick question..what is the approximate timetable for when i stop being in shock from this emphysema dx i was given just a week ago? i feel like i keep saying "why why why" meanwhile, i should know its from the darn smoking i did for 17ish years..just didnt think at 32 yrs old id hear such a thing i guess....here i go again...."why why why"..ok, i think i just needed to vent..hehe i know this isnt exactly a support group site, but i do come here everyday, sorta feel comfy here..hope thats ok!!
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Avatar_n_tn
i have moderate to severe emphysema what is that stage im 40 yrs old im not out of breathe i dont wheezze or cough i had a blebectomy to remove blebs any help plz and should i get a second opinion i dont have no signs of emphysema
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Avatar_n_tn
HI,

I HAVE HAD A LUNG DISEASE FOR MANY YEARS NOW AND THERE IS NO CURE.  BUT THERE IS A TREATMENT.  SOMEONE HELP ME
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A related discussion, Night time coughing from Emphysema was started.
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