My girlfriend has recently told me that she's been suffering w/emphisema since she was 21. She has been in a hospital for 3 months and then got home treatment at the age of 22.She's now 29 and recently she has these terrible headaches. Could that be the sign of her conditon worsening.She is quite lively, doesn't show too many signs of phisical strain. Can she lead a long normal life with her condition ? Thanks :-)
Emphysema is a chronic lung disease that is also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The majority of these cases are linked with cigarette smoking. A small number of these cases are linked with significant exposure to work-related dust, such as coal, grain, or wood.
An even smaller number of cases of COPD are linked with a genetic based alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency. Not having enough of this major protein in the blood can lead to severe emphysema even in people who have never smoked. AAT deficiency is determined by two blood tests. One test measures the amount of alpha-1 antitrypsin and the other determines the phenotype or genetic pattern. Families with multiple members who develop severe emphysema early in life or in non-smokers should be tested for this deficiency.
Since the problem was discovered when your girlfriend was 21 years old, cystic fibrosis (CF) is another possibility. This is a genetic disease of the exocrine glands affecting the lungs and the digestive system. It causes sweat electrolytes, like sodium and chloride, to be high at birth. The small airways can be blocked by thick mucus. Symptoms of the problem are usually seen in infancy or childhood. Occasionally it isn
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