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What is Emphysema?

It is a lung condition that causes shortness of breath and cough. In this condition, the air sacs in the lungs (alveoli) are damaged and over time, the inner walls of the air sacs weaken and rupture, creating larger air spaces instead of many small ones.

Can physiotherapy help people with emphysema?

Yes. Pulmonary rehabilitation is the main focus of physiotherapy in the management of emphysema.

What causes emphysema?

The main cause of emphysema is smoking. Other contributing factors include:

  • Low body weight

  • Air pollution

  • Occupational dust – mineral dust or cotton dust

  • Over exposure to chemicals, coal, grains, isocyanates and cadmium

  • Childhood respiratory disorders

How do I know if I have emphysema?

You will experience the following:

  • Shortness of breath after mild exertion

  • Cough

  • Frequent lung infections

  • Heavy mucus production

  • Wheezing

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

  • Fatigue

  • Cyanosis

  • Sleep disorders

  • Morning headaches

  • In severe cases, the chest may become barrel-shaped, the shortness of breath becomes disabling that it affects your normal activities of daily living

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