Home | How It Affects the Lungs | Diagnosis | Treatments | Clinical Trials | Bibliography
As the picture below demonstrates, there is little that can be done to rebuild the elastin protein and restore the lung to functioning normally.  Even so, below is a list of various treatments (2003), and a description of each, that have been shown to effectively improve a patient's condition and everyday life.

Antibiotics - medication that limits the infections created by harmful bacteria

- medication that reduces the inflammation in the lungs that leads to damaged lung tissue

- medication that eases breathing by relaxing the bronchial muscles

Oxygen therapy
- use of portable oxygen tanks to make breathing easier

Exercise - exercise in gradual amounts can slowly train the lung muscles to use oxygen more efficiently

Lung transplantation
- replacing an infected lung with a healthy lung

Lung-volume-reduction surgery - a surgery that removes some of the damaged lung tissue, thereby making the lung smaller and breathing easier


Depending on the severity of the infection, some of these treatments can be effective in improving a person's everyday life, while other ones might not be as effective.  Also, treatments like oxygen therapy, lung transplantation, and lung-volume-reduction surgery, can be very costly.  Furthermore, lung transplantation, while an effective solution, is a limited resource and can cause further complications.  Finally, as smoking clearly introduces irritating pollutants into the lungs, it is imperative for a person infected with emphysema to quit smoking immediately.

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