As you age, your body undergoes many different changes. Many people believe feeling more short of breath is a normal sign of aging, but according to The Lung Association, it isn’t. If you experience shortness of breath, it could be a warning sign of an underlying health condition. The fact is you could be experiencing life with emphysema and not even know it yet. Here’s more on the topic from The Lung Association.
Other Signs and Symptoms
In addition to shortness of breath, other indicators that you’re living life with emphysema include:
• Wheezing breaths
• A barrel-shaped chest
• Fatigue and tiredness
• Unexplained weight loss
If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible. Ask for a spirometry test, which measures how well you move air in and out of your lungs. This is the main test used to diagnosis emphysema and other lung diseases.
What to Expect After Your Diagnosis
It may take some time to adapt to the thought of life with emphysema, but rest assured that many people live for many long, healthy years after being diagnosed. The severity and progression of your disease is likely to be smaller if you:
• Received an early diagnosis
• Quit smoking right away
• Receive the right medical care and treatment
• Have no other serious health problems
Complications of Emphysema
Keep in mind that life with emphysema is about more than simply experiencing symptoms of the disease. As it progresses, it can cause other complications, such as:
• Recurring respiratory infections, including the flu, common cold and pneumonia
• High blood pressure in the lungs that can lead to a condition called pulmonary hypertension
• A strained and enlarged right heart, which can lead to heart failure
Being diagnosed with emphysema is not all doom and gloom. The best ways to control your symptoms and reduce complications is to learn ways to enjoy a happy and productive life with emphysema, despite the limitations it presents.
To learn more about making the most of your diagnosis, download the free guide "Staying Healthy with Chronic Lung Disease" today.
Photo Credit: Antoine Robiez