Emphysema - Research Paper Example

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Emphysema is a chronic ailment of the lungs that permanently damages the alveoli in the lungs leading to complications mainly in exhalation (Voikel, 2008). Studies suggest the condition is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. The anatomy of the lungs undergoes…
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Download file to see previous pages Trapped pockets of the air block airways leading to a difficulty in breathing. Emphysema is similar to another condition called the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that leads to a reduced airflow into the lungs. COPD is characterized by running out of breath, chronic cough, phlegm, and reduced ability to exhale. Emphysema gets worse with time, with the alveoli becoming larger while decreasing in number (Turino, 2006). As a result, the air sacs are destroyed as they change in structure. The condition greatly reduces the amount of air absorbed by the blood in the lungs. The major predisposing factor to the state includes smoking especially from the age of 35 years, air pollution, and exposure to allergens, genetics and other respiratory diseases such as asthma among other suspected causes.
The expiratory flow limitation is chronic and permanent. The limitation results from the airway inflammation and parenchymal cells damage. Progressive airways obstruction which leads to more breathing difficulties. The condition worsens with the inflammation of the airway characterized by the mucosal airway edema and mucous impaction. Emphysema results in the destruction of elastin impairing the ability of the lung to recoil after inhalation. As a result causing the lungs defective expiratory pressure. The airways become weak and narrow and thus there is an increased resistance to airflow. Expiratory flow limitation occurs when the expiratory airflow during spontaneous tidal breathing represents the maximum possible flow rate at operating lung volume. The expiratory flow rate does not rely on the muscle effort but on the ability of the lung to produce enough pressure for adequate exhalation during the recoil tide. In the case of expiratory flow limitation, the lung does not generate enough pressure for sufficient additional due to the reduced surface area and high volume of the alveoli, and the damaged elastin. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Emphysema is generally grouped together with chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis under the topic of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. The former is considered as an obstructive disease of the lung because the tissue damage causes irreversible airflow obstruction as air is trapped in the alveoli and patients find it very difficult to exhale this trapped air.
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In other words, it is a serious lung condition where the air sacs or alveoli, enlarge or over distend, losing their elasticity and part of their blood supply. The disease interferes with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood stream. (Emphysema, 2009)
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