Emphysema (Lung Condition) (cont.)
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
George Schiffman, MD, FCCP
Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.
In this Article
- Emphysema facts
- What is emphysema?
- What are the stages of emphysema?
- What causes emphysema?
- What are the risk factors for emphysema?
- What are the signs and symptoms of emphysema?
- How is emphysema diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for emphysema?
- Quitting smoking
- Emphysema medications
- Surgery for emphysema
- Pulmonary rehabilitation for emphysema
- What is the life expectancy and outlook for someone with emphysema?
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) FAQs
- Find a local Pulmonologist in your town
What is the life expectancy and outlook for someone with emphysema?
Emphysema is a disease that affects quality of life and not necessarily the quantity of life. The goal for treatment of emphysema is to prevent further lung damage, and to maximize the function of the remaining healthy lung tissue.
Symptoms of emphysema occur because the body is not being supplied with adequate oxygen, and because it takes significant effort to take deeper breaths. These both contribute to the very miserable sensation of constantly feeling short of breath.
There are no studies that have been able to predict mortality from emphysema, but studies from the American Lung Association and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 133,000 people died from COPD in 2009. The most recent National Health Interview Survey performed in 2011 found that 4.7 million people had been diagnosed with emphysema and that 24.1 million people had evidence of impaired lung function.
The BODE score can help measure quality of life and prognosis for future function.
- B = Body Mass Index (BMI).
- O = Obstruction. Lung function based on pulmonary function tests.
- D = Dyspnea (breathlessness)
- E = Exercise capacity. How far the emphysema patient can walk in 6 minutes
Neither the GOLD or BODE scores can predict longevity or mortality but are guidelines to assess the severity of emphysema and how it may affect future lifestyle.
Albert, et al, Azithromycin for prevention of exacerbations of COPD, NEJM; 2011;365:689-698.
CDC.gov. Leading Causes of Death.
American Lung Association. Trends in COPD (Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema): Morbidity and Mortality. March 2013.
Medscape. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Treatment & Management.
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