Emphysema is one of the diseases in which the normal functioning of the lungs is interfered with. The lungs have to maintain a specific shape in order for it to function very well and normally, not causing any problems for the person. The interchange of gases as well as the oxygenation of blood takes place in the lungs.
What happens in people with the condition we are making reference to here is that the lung tissue gets destroyed, subsequently losing its ideal physical shape and hence its ability to perform its functions properly. This leads to manifestation of several symptoms that we will be looking at shortly. What is worth noting at this very early point is the fact that the symptoms we are just about to look at don't normally kick in all at once. Rather, they tend to come about progressively: such that a patient starts with one of these symptoms, before advancing to the next one and then to the next one after that.
Now the first major symptom through which the lung disease known as emphysema manifests is that of breathlessness. Since the lung tissue will be experiencing a gradual destruction, that means this disease will also take quite a while before it eventually turns into a full-blown lung disease. Breathlessness would set in after a major exertion, and this happens at the beginning of the disease or when the problem starts. But as time goes on, and the lung tissue destruction continues taking place, a point comes when one gets breathless even without major exertion. If this goes on and nothing is done to solve it, breathlessness would become even worse such that no effort would even be required. You can probably dismiss the early stages of the symptom as something that is just normal. The symptoms could then become distressing if left too long. That is when the person decides to get proper medical treatment for their condition.
Yet another symptom you should watch out for since it could mean emphysema is chest expansion. This is the obvious result of the breathing difficulties associated with the disease. In a bid to adapt, the chest keeps on expanding, up to a level where the expansion becomes noticeable. You can clearly see signs of the expansion by measuring the antero-posterior diameter of the chest, and when it is bigger than normal, you should be concerned.
If the patient notices his skin adapting a bluish tinge, he is observing one of the major symptoms of emphysema. It is not only emphysema that manifests this symptom. Lung diseases that involve lack of blood oxygenation will be showing this symptom. The skin discoloration occurs gradually, meaning it will take quite a long time for the bluish hue to become noticeable. By the way, this symptom is what is known as cyanosis. The bluish tint on the skin would be noticeable if the emphysema is left untreated. Although the cyanosis is not so apparent in the beginning, see to it that it gets nipped in the bud.
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