What is Emphysema and what causes it?

What Is Emphysema?

Emphysema occurs when the alveoli, or air sacs, in the lungs are destroyed; this is where oxygen in the air is replaced with carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. The walls of these air sacs are delicate and thin. When they are damaged, permanent holes are created in lower lung tissue. As air sacs are damaged, the lungs lose their ability to transfer as much oxygen to the blood, resulting in shortness of breath. The lungs will also have less elasticity. This may cause difficulty breathing, especially when exhaling, triggering even more breathing problems.

What Causes Emphysema?

Emphysema isn’t a condition that develops suddenly; it will occur gradually after long-term exposure to inflammation. The first indication comes with shortness of breath in physical activity. As the condition progresses, even a short walk can cause a bout of breathing issues. Chronic bronchitis may develop before emphysema occurs.

The main cause of emphysema is chronic inflammation related to:

  • Eating too many starchy foods
  • Dairy foods
  • Weak immune system
  • Air pollution
  • Smoking

A diet that is deficient in vegetables and enzymes will also contribute to emphysema and increase the likelihood of infection. Remember, the first sign of emphysema is shortness of breath in physical activity.

 

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