What is emphysema?

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

15 Aug 2001, 05:28 #11

Thanks for the invite Joel. I found this great article entitled "Living with COPD, The Human Story". Since I have beginning emphysema it really hit me hard. If I did this right you should be able to get there by clicking on the picture. Hope this helps.


If it doesn't work, please delete.
Last edited by Hal(Gold) on 06 Apr 2009, 10:22, edited 1 time in total.

mitch (Gold)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:29

15 Aug 2001, 11:02 #12

Thanks Zep and Joel... Mitch here. Twas I who asked to learn more about emphysema. Since I quit over 3 months ago, I've had bronchial asthma (had that when I was a kid), hay fever and recently a shortness of breath. I attribute it all to...smoking had masked these symptoms.

But... I find that I'm stressed out lately and hoving hyper tension...you know...hyperventilating...not being able to get enought oxygen...then it goes away...poof...everythings fine.

After reading and talking to others, I was a little paranoid about the possibility of having emphysema. It's just that the quit had made my lungs, smell and attention so acute...every little thing is noticed.

I'm fine...nothing like a little flyfishing to relieve the stress. I'm breathing like a champ today, deep breaths...no worries.

One thing that's really came home to me is that breath is the connection to life. How fragile it is. I'm really loving breathing lately.

Thanks yall for everything. I'm 4 months into my quit. Mitch

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Aug 2001, 19:51 #13

As you've already know, Mitch, the most important thing is that you've stopped the destruction of healthy lung tissue. My mother had emphysema and spent the last year and a half of her life on oxygen, my younger sister Pat (who started smoking at age 12) has it, and yes, even I was told that I had very eary signs, as well. I'd had pneumonia for two Januarys in a row, my cough, constant throat clearing and wheezing sounds were chronic, and still I sucked down three packs a day. Two years + later, I feel great! I have more energy then I've had in years! The noises are all gone too! I have not had a single breathing illness, flu or cold either!

Oh, I'm not kidding myself! I know that later in life I'll probably pay a price but I know I've lowered it bit by quitting now, and so have you! Mitch, I found this article on emphysema surgery, that was published yesterday, which only makes this new life we've gifted to ourselves all the more important.

Enjoy the fishing and listen to your doctors! I hope you're feeling better soon. YQB Zep : )

Study: Emphysema Surgery DangerousBy Jeff Donn
[/size]Associated Press Writer
[/size]Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2001; 6:42 p.m. EDT[/size]BOSTON -- An increasingly common operation for emphysema that involves cutting away part of the lungs is dangerous - and even deadly - for many patients in advanced stages of the disease, researchers say. Sixteen percent of the very ill patients who had the surgery were dead within a month, according to the latest findings from an ongoing national study of the procedure coordinated by the National Institutes of Health.

Those who survived showed limited benefit from the procedure.

Researchers immediately halted more surgery on patients with the same characteristics of advanced illness. They are now confining their testing to more than 1,000 other emphysema patients because the surgery may still help them.

The investigators will publish the findings Oct. 11 in The New England Journal of Medicine but released them Tuesday to alert doctors and patients immediately. The disease, which is tied largely to smoking, strikes about 2 million Americans each year.

The surgery has stirred much excitement over the last five years, and some studies have suggested it can give at least a reprieve to many patients.

"There has been a prevailing view - that I think unfortunately surgeons have contributed to - that this operation may be a temporary cure for your disease, and it's clear that it's not for this subset of patients," said one of the researchers, Dr. Steven Piantadosi of Johns Hopkins University.

A pioneer in the surgery, Dr. Joel Cooper, downplayed the findings. He said they were predictable because patients reported in the latest findings suffered from disease that was widely spread around their lungs. He said they were bad candidates for the surgery in the first place.

Cooper said his team dropped out of the five-year study in 1997 over this and other disagreements, including a condition that all participating surgeons stop doing the surgery outside the study.

He also said administrators at the federal Medicare program for the elderly, which is funding the study, are seeking justification to limit, delay or deny coverage for the surgery, which typically costs from $25,000 to $40,000.

"Medicare has used the trial for its own purposes," said Cooper, a lung surgeon at Washington University in St. Louis.

An official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the agency didn't interfere with the scientific decision-making. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, which is agency policy.

Dr. Gail Weinmann, project officer for the study at the National Institutes of Health's Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, said surgeons agreed to forgo surgery outside the study because they saw a need for systematic research.

"There was a concern about the spread of the procedure so quickly, and that it could be doing harm," she said.

The surgery was first tried more than 30 years ago with disastrous results. Improvements in anesthesia, surgical methods and postoperative care revived it in the 1990s. It is based on the idea that smaller, but healthier lungs can work better after the operation.

The technique became so widespread in recent years, with around 8,000 operations now performed, that researchers had trouble finding patients for the study. They said some candidates feared they would be assigned to comparison groups taking normal treatment, which includes diet, exercise and drugs.

In the latest findings, though, none of the 70 patients in the normal treatment group died within a month. The surgery left 11 of 69 patients dead.

Over three years, surgery patients were four times more likely to die than the others. Also, surgery survivors gained only limited benefit in better breathing or quality of life.

Weinmann defended the decision to operate on patients included in the latest findings, saying they were an important group to study and there is little medicine can do for them.

Lung specialists outside the study said patients with broadly spread disease were suspected to be relatively poor candidates for the surgery. However, they said the findings are valuable because they underscore the potential danger for some patients who may be overly eager for the surgery.

"In these patients ... someone needs to have a serious talk with them," said Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, a lung specialist who is also editor-in-chief of the journal.

"My guess is that most physicians will heed this warning," added Dr. Norman Edelman, scientific consultant for the American Lung Association.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:34

15 Aug 2001, 21:41 #14

Hello Joel, Zep and everyone..

I am doing ok, but this disease is a killer for sure. I have gotten to the point I have trouble breathing when we travel to large cities with a bad smog level. People really need to understand how horrid it is. Slow suffocation is all it is... and its terrible.


Six months, two weeks, five days, 8 hours, 41 minutes and 12 seconds. 12021 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,442.30. Life saved: 5 weeks, 6 days, 17 hours, 45 minutes.
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mitch (Gold)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:29

16 Aug 2001, 02:46 #15

Thanks yall...Mitch here. Wow...that's some nasty %$#@ emphysema. Really don't like the operation route...really glad I don't smoke anymore...AND...really glad I just have hypertension, something I can do something about.

The definition of hypertension...picture a cat in a room full of rocking chairs during an earthquake. Anyway...all I needed was more rigorous exercise...and to stop worrying about imaginary things that I make up and can do nothing about anyway...no worries.

Geez Zep...3 packs a day...****...that's one smoke every 18 minutes. Boy am I glad you cancelled that habit...and thanks for the support and concern.

Yeah lungs are precious. Deep breaths are a gift...no more abuse ever again. 4 months now. I never even knew some Dahlias have a fragrance and I'm a Dahlia freak. Wow...life is awesome.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Feb 2002, 04:29 #16

I've been visiting a few lung transplant sites on the net and I found it interesting that many require smokers to quit smoking BEFORE surgery. For example, these are the online posted transplant requirements of the University of Penn. Transplant Center -

Who is a candidate?

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John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

14 Apr 2002, 01:02 #17


Probe, as you can see from this thread, emphysema is the actual destruction of individual air sacks which not only ends their use for removing carbon dixoide from the body but also for taking in new oxygen. Congratuations on four days of awesome healing! Baby steps to glory! John
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John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 Jul 2002, 09:48 #18

Stuart, as I believe this thread indicates, emphysema is primarily an environmental disease and not one that spreads like an infection or cancer. You've stopped inflicting damage by destroying additional alveoli from smoking. If concerned you can see a pulmonologist and not only get all your questions answered but also get a second opinion.

I too have been told I have early emphysema. I try to remember to wear a mask when digging in dirt (gardening) or mowing the grass. I can run like wind for the first time since I was 15, Stuart. What's done is done. By quitting we've turned off the burner. We've put our lungs in a condition where they'll age naturally, from their current state, from here on out. It's the best thing we could have done.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Aug 2002, 08:59 #19

Click to Enlarge
Last edited by John (Gold) on 06 Apr 2009, 09:41, edited 1 time in total.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Nov 2002, 10:47 #20

This is emphysema
Last edited by John (Gold) on 06 Apr 2009, 09:39, edited 1 time in total.