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Get help with your emphysema | Central Oregon

The pulmonary experts at St. Charles Health System are trained in helping patients with emphysema live better lives. Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that results in the destruction of the air sacs in the lungs. How does it affect your breathing? Typically, you experience less lung capacity and difficulty breathing. About 3.7 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with emphysema, making it a relatively significant respiratory disorder. It is the third most common cause of death in American adults.  

What causes emphysema?

Smoking, especially if you have either smoked for many years or been exposed to significant secondhand smoke, is the most common cause of emphysema. Other factors include:

  • Breathing in dust particles or chemical fumes
  • Exposure to air pollution
  • Family history of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Jobs working with livestock, grain, textiles or coal
  • Preexisting lung disease

The most common symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath, which develops over time and can ultimately lead to emphysema. St. Charles treats symptoms of emphysema with smoking cessation therapy, bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory drugs, and pulmonary rehabilitation to improve breathing through coughing and breathing exercises. Living healthier can also help. Doing things like exercising regularly, avoiding respiratory irritants and cold air, and stopping smoking can slow the progression of the disease and decrease the risk of complications.

Talk with your doctor about how St. Charles can help

Want to learn more about the St. Charles Heart and Lung Center in Central Oregon or need to schedule an appointment? Please call us today at 541-706-7715.

The emphysema experts at the St. Charles Heart and Lung Center are here to help you breathe easier.