The Danger of Emphysema in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Overview of Emphysema

Emphysema is a serious form of lung disease and can interfere with daily life. Within the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) group, emphysema is one of the most common types to occur. Emphysema can occur in your lungs, especially the alveoli, and slowly causes damage to them.

Alveoli as a place for exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide will not function optimally and air trapping occurs in the lungs. Furthermore, these conditions cause blockages in the airways and cause complications. In addition, as the number of functioning alveoli decreases, the supply of oxygen into the bloodstream also decreases.

Emphysema Causes and Risk Factors

Emphysema occurs most frequently or is at highest risk in patients who have smoked for a long time. Long-term exposure to cigarette smoke can cause irritation, chronic inflammation and damage to the alveoli. Smoking is the biggest risk factor for the development of this disease. The longer and more often a person smokes, the higher the risk of developing emphysema.

Besides smoking, there are other factors that can cause emphysema. Long-term exposure to air pollutants, such as chemicals, industrial fumes, or dust, as well as genetic factors can affect a person's risk of developing emphysema, such as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, in which the body no longer produces enough of the protein that protects the lungs. -lungs from damage. Furthermore, the age factor and nutritional deficiency of vitamin D also make it possible to experience emphysema.

It is important to avoid risk factors that can lead to emphysema, such as smoking and exposure to harmful substances. If you have other risk factors, such as a family history or deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin protein, it is important to talk to your doctor to monitor your lung health and take the necessary precautions.

Symptoms and Impact on Quality of Life

Emphysema has symptoms that can significantly affect the sufferer's quality of life. Here are some of the common symptoms associated with emphysema and their impact on quality of life:

  • Shortness of Breath: Shortness of breath is the main symptom of emphysema. Sufferers often experience difficulty breathing, especially when doing physical activity. Prolonged shortness of breath can limit a person's ability to engage in daily activities, such as walking long distances or climbing stairs.
  • Chronic Cough and Excessive Phlegm Production: Emphysema often causes a chronic cough that lasts for a long time. This cough can be accompanied by excessive phlegm production which is difficult to clear. This can interfere with comfort and interfere with daily activities.
  • Fatigue and Decreased Energy: People with emphysema often experience prolonged fatigue and decreased energy. Physical activities that were previously easy to do can become tiring and require a longer recovery time.
  • Physical Activity Restrictions: The shortness of breath and fatigue that people with emphysema experience can limit their ability to perform physical activities. This can affect overall quality of life, reduce independence and limit participation in social and recreational activities.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Shortness of breath that gets worse when lying down or sleeping can interfere with getting a good night's sleep. People with emphysema often experience sleep disturbances which can cause fatigue and decreased quality of life.
  • Psychological and Emotional Impact: Emphysema can also have significant psychological and emotional impact. Difficulty breathing and restriction of physical activity can cause stress, anxiety, depression and feelings of frustration. This can affect the overall quality of life and requires psychological support.

The impact of these symptoms on quality of life often includes decreased independence, social isolation, changes in interpersonal relationships, and decreased overall life satisfaction. It is important for people with emphysema to receive appropriate medical and psychosocial support to improve quality of life and better manage symptoms.

Article written by dr. Budhi Imansyah, Sp.P, FISR (Lung and Respiratory Specialist at EMC Pekayon Hospital).