Emphysema is a serious disease in which the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs are damaged and lose their elasticity. The damage develops slowly as cigarette smoke causes the body to overproduce enzymes known as proteases. These enzymes cause damage in the thin and fragile tissues of the alveoli. These tiny compartments become unnaturally enlarged and the elasticity of the lungs is lost. Pockets of dead air form in the injured areas and the lungs become unable to expand and contract normally and breathing becomes difficult. Meanwhile, the patient grows progressively weaker. At first they may experience only minimal shortness of breath. Eventually, however, the patient is unable to attempt even minor physical activity, and in the end, is dependent on administration of oxygen, even at rest.
Home Medical Equipment for Emphysema Patients
Respiratory equipment used in the treatment of emphysema may range from nebulizers to oxygen delivery products depending on the severity of the disease. Treatment and equipment needs are very similar to that of chronic bronchitis. In instances where emphysema has resulted in general impairment of function, many other items such as bath safety products, ambulation devices, aids to assist with activities of daily living, and mobility devices like wheelchairs and scooters may help the patient to continue as active a lifestyle as possible for as long as possible.
Disclaimer: This is a sampling of information. Please refer to the CMS website (www.cms.gov) and consult your own experts for additional information.