Understanding Medical Language

Emphysema is a condition when destruction of alveolar walls takes place. These terminologies were picked from all the rest since they are five of the most significant units in understanding the disorder called emphysema. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), also known as chronic obstructive lung disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease pertains to a number of lung disturbances that greatly affects air movement from in and out of the lungs.

To be more accurate and precise, some pulmonologists insisted the use of the term chronic airflow limitation. Emphysema is one of the most important forms of COPDs. Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) is an important framework in keeping track of the acid-base homeostasis. Through a series of measurement of arterial blood gases, acid-base balance is monitored and imbalances are recognized. Respiratory acidosis is one of the four disorders of acid-base imbalances and in COPDs, specifically emphysema, it is also one precarious parameter to watch out for.

Respiratory Acidosis is “a state of relative excess of acid in body fluids resulting from retention or excessive production of Carbon dioxide” (CO2) (Black and Hawks, pp 254, 2005). Patients with emphysema are bound to experience respiratory acidosis that is why ABG monitoring is very important to sustain adequate ABG values and maintain acid-base balance. Hypoxemia is a reduction in sustained oxygen levels of the arterial blood cells. It is a pressing threat resulting from respiratory acidosis that can damage vital organs and interfere with the normal functioning of the body.

It is one pathological symptom and in patients with emphysema, pursed-lip breathing and use of accessory muscles in shortness of breath are the typical characteristics. Bronchodilators are the primary, first-line drug treatment for emphysema to reduce airway tightness. Its primary function is lessening airway blockage through loosening tight muscles around airways and it can also alleviate manifestations in COPDs. Alpha Antitrypsin (AAT) is a protein, which serves as lungs’ standard defense mechanism.

This protein inhibits enzymes that form destroying and collapsing lung walls. Emphysema is a result of a deficiency in AAT, thus, breakdown in lung tissue. Awareness in emphysema is a crucial thing. The involvement of these terms are pivotal in grasping knowledge about this lung affliction because it is a summary of understanding the diagnosis, treatment and complications of one of the so-called pillars of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Black, J. M & Hawks, J. H. (2005) Medical Surgical Nursing: Management for Positive Outcomes (pp 254, 1814-1821).

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