Emphysema (Lung Condition) (cont.)

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What is the treatment for emphysema?

The first treatment for patients with emphysema is smoking cessation if they are currently smoking tobacco. This is a difficult lifestyle change for many patients, and without support from their doctors, family members, and friends; this most important treatment will likely fail. The best way to accomplish this difficult task is outlined in the "quitting smoking" section. In addition, there is pharmacological and surgical therapy available for emphysema patients and these therapies will be discussed in the next sections.

Quitting smoking

Quitting smoking is the most effective therapy for people with emphysema. Consequently, successful cessation is a major goal for people with COPD/emphysema. This goal usually can be reached with cooperation between the doctor, patient, family members, and friends. Quitting smoking usually requires patient education about the risks of smoking, methods to help the patient quit smoking (including a target date to quit), and follow-up support. Many people will relapse, but they still should be encouraged to try to change their lifestyle and attempt to quit again.

Many people may benefit from both self-help and group smoking cessation programs. Patients need to understand that nicotine is responsible for their addiction to smoking and may benefit from a program that allows them to slowly withdraw from nicotine addiction. There are several types of pharmacological interventions such as nicotine chewing gum, transdermal nicotine patches, and other treatments such as varenicline (Chantix) and Zyban that may be used to help the patient overcome their nicotine addiction.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/16/2014

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Emphysema - Experience Question: Please share your experience with emphysema.
Emphysema - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with emphysema?
Emphysema - Risk Factors Question: What risk factors do you have for emphysema? If so, what lifestyle changes do you plan to implement to prevent progressive emphysema?
Emphysema - Treatments Question: What treatments have been helpful in treating emphysema?
Emphysema - Diagnosis Question: What kinds of tests and exams did you have that led to a diagnosis of emphysema?
Emphysema - Causes Question: If known, what was the cause of your emphysema?
Emphysema - Smoking Question: Are/were you a smoker prior to your emphysema diagnosis? If you've stopped, what worked for you?