Medical IDs for Emphysema

Medical ID bracelets are crucial for anybody with a serious health condition. Since emphysema directly impacts breathing, an information bracelet can clearly communicate a patient’s needs. Those who struggle with lung conditions are encouraged to be as safe as possible while at home.

Why Wear a Medical ID for Emphysema?

Emphysema is a chronic disease that will require an increasing amount of treatment. Because this disease affects the airways, emergencies can happen fast. There may be very little time to explain the information necessary to an emergency healthcare worker. If there is an accident or the condition is advanced, clear communication is necessary to convey a basic medical background.

Medical ID bracelets for emphysema provide personal health information to emergency medical professionals and doctors. This information includes the type of lung condition, individual management plans, medication, phone number, and emergency contact numbers.

A medical emergency is often chaotic and emotional. By wearing an ID bracelet, the important data is clear, easy to understand, and always there when you need it.

What Causes Emphysema?

According to the American Lung Association, over three million people in the United States have emphysema. In addition to smoking cigarettes, air pollutants and respiratory infections can cause this disease. 

Emphysema is a progressive disease that gets worse over time. As the lungs are increasingly damaged, the air sacs begin to rupture. When there is one large air pocket instead of several small ones, oxygen is prevented from flowing through the bloodstream. This air blockage makes it difficult to breathe.

The signs of emphysema may take years to notice. Shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and a productive cough are all symptoms. Although there is no cure, medical treatments are available to manage these symptoms.

Symptoms of Emphysema

Some of the symptoms of emphysema may seem vague. While chest pain and difficulty breathing are the hallmark symptoms of severe emphysema, there are other signs as well.

Appetite may change as the disease progresses. A decrease in hunger is common and weight loss is likely without a meal schedule. Depression and insomnia are also signs of advancing emphysema. Morning headaches and sexual dysfunction may or may not occur depending on the individual and what stage they are in.

The Importance of a Medical ID Bracelet

Wearing a medical ID at all times ensures your medical conditions are immediately known in an emergency.

When first responders see your MedicAlert ID, they know to contact MedicAlert to get your complete health record.

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What Does Emphysema Feel Like?

Since emphysema is a chronic and progressive lung disease, the initial symptoms may be difficult to spot. Many people have no symptoms in the beginning.

The initial symptoms include coughing and wheezing. Coughing is minimal at first but will increase in frequency and severity. A productive cough with mucus is likely to occur over time. Shortness of breath is also common, but only when exercising. In general, the early stages of emphysema leave people feeling tired or run down.

As symptoms become more severe this list continues to grow. It is not uncommon to hear a squeaky sound when inhaling and chest pain is likely to occur. The body is often more susceptible to other illnesses in addition to lung conditions. Those with emphysema may also catch frequent colds or experience swelling in the ankles and feet.

Emphysema Treatment

Certain medications can help ease the discomfort that lung conditions cause. Bronchodilator medications are frequently used to relax the muscles located around the airways. Often hand-held inhalants can be used as well.

Lung volume reduction surgery is another treatment available for those with emphysema. This is done by removing part of the diseased lung tissue to relieve pressure. By improving the elasticity of the lung, this can make it easier for the patient to breathe. 

Oxygen therapy is another treatment for advanced lung conditions. A nasal catheter is used so that patients can absorb oxygen from the outside. If an oxygen tank is damaged or impaired, this can be an emergency where the patient needs immediate care.

The Difference Between COPD and Emphysema

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term to categorize a group of lung conditions. Emphysema is just one of the lung conditions that fall within this category.

Lung diseases are the number three cause of death in the United States. Because it directly affects breathing, it requires prompt care even if the disease is ongoing. COPD is a long-term condition that currently has no cure.

COPD can include multiple different diseases such as bronchiectasis and chronic bronchitis. These diseases interfere with the ability to breathe normally and they often increase in severity. Chest pain and mucus in the airways are common as the disease progresses.

A patient cannot be diagnosed with emphysema if they do not have COPD. A patient can, however, be diagnosed with COPD without having emphysema. 

Emphysema is a severe lung condition. The lungs are damaged beyond repair and may affect the air sacs within the lungs. Although emphysema is commonly linked to smoking cigarettes, there are other reasons for the diagnosis.

Types of Emphysema

There are three types of emphysema. Each type still affects the lungs and is progressive by nature.

  1. Centriacinar emphysema affects the airways and the central acinus. 
  2. Panacinar emphysema affects the entire acinus. 
  3. Paraseptal emphysema is described as the lesion of pulmonary bullous disease.

A medical professional can diagnose emphysema after ordering X-rays; after a physical exam of the patient, a doctor will likely recommend image testing. A chest X-ray can help show which kind of emphysema a patient has by capturing where the lung is damaged. 

The most common type is centriacinar emphysema. This is found in the upper area of the lungs and continues to progress over time. With specific medications to reduce muscle tension, breathing is often easier with each type of emphysema. 

Regardless of which part of the lung is affected, emphysema causes a restriction of airflow. It is the permanent enlargement of air through the destruction of walls. The life expectancy is approximately five years.

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