Emphysema...Early Detection a Must

Discussion created by Sylvia_Deitz on Oct 19, 2009
I copied and pasted this from another site...

Author: Jeanette Vielhaber
Abstract Number: 1049

When I went to the ER on the night of January 29, 1994, I was diagnosed with Emphysema. I finally had a name to go with how I felt. And, I felt bad, with an fev1 of 33%. I had seen my doctor regularly before this. Chronic Bronchitis had been my constant companion and nobody said this would lead to Emphysema. And, even if they had, I would not have known what they meant. There was nothing in the media then to educate me. Nobody said each exacerbation would scar my lungs. I had been told I should stop smoking and I had tried at least twenty times. I did not know that my habit was an addiction and like all addictions needed intervention. That night in ER was my intervention.

For several years before this trip to ER, I complained of being short of breath. In 1990, while on vacation, I was unable to walk up an incline and I was 59 years old. A trip to Colorado in 1991 caused me to barely be able to function. I didn’t know why and I was really scared. Now, I rarely am able to travel. Even a trip to the mall has to be planned like a safari. A lot of hopes and dreams literally went up in smoke.

Today, doctors have tools that can diagnose this killer and everybody who smokes should be observed as a potential patient of Emphysema. Even those who don’t smoke should have access to a spirometry evaluation. Young people, who are so vulnerable, should have more warning than the words on a cigarette package. We need the media to join us in explaining, in detail, what COPD is. Every magazine, every news program and every school should be educating our families and friends. Many of us don’t look sick so the general public still has no fear. If you did not see my oxygen tank that is part of me, you would never realize that I am in the end stages of this disease.

To me, emphysema is no longer a word on a cigarette package. To me, it spells death.