Donate to Emphysema Research, Patient Care and Education

Emphysema is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that occurs when the alveoli (air sacs) in a person’s lungs either collapse, become narrowed, overinflated, stretched or destroyed, resulting in compromised breathing. Emphysema is a progressive disease and damage to the lungs is irreversible. More than 4.7 million people in the United States have emphysema, with 90 percent being over the age of 45. Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will play a crucial role in helping specialists at Northwestern Medicine to treat those who suffer with this debilitating disease.

While emphysema is most commonly associated with people who smoke or have smoked in the past, it can, and does, affect people who have never even picked up a cigarette or pipe. Others who suffer from this degenerative condition include people who have been exposed to chronic secondhand smoke, those who have had occupational exposure most commonly associated with chemical fumes or dust from wood, grain or cotton, and those who have had chronic exposure to air pollutants such as heating oil, car exhaust and smog. When you make a contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help physicians at Northwestern Medicine to detect even the most difficult-to-diagnose cases of emphysema.

Although shortness of breath and fatigue are the most common symptoms of emphysema, many patients may not experience any symptoms for years. Later stages of emphysema may include shortness of breath even at rest, heart disease and chronic respiratory infections. Early detection may help to slow down the progression of emphysema, and your contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will ensure that physicians and staff at Northwestern Medicine continue to have leading-edge resources at their disposal.

Emphysema Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

There is no cure for emphysema, but your contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help Northwestern Medicine continue to cultivate one of the largest programs in the Midwest that focuses specifically on COPD and asthma-related diseases. In addition, Northwestern Medicine has the only Lung Volume Reduction Program in the region. Our scientists are committed to accelerating clinical research, finding advanced treatments and offering state-of-the-art therapies to patients with emphysema. Your support will ensure that our multidisciplinary team will continue to offer the following treatment options, among many others:

  • Medications:
    • Smoking cessation drugs
    • Bronchodilators to alleviate coughing and shortness of breath
    • Inhaled corticosteroids for immediate relief
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation: A program that educates the patient on breathing techniques to reduce shortness of breath and improve the ability to exercise.
  • Supplemental oxygen: Some patients may need to breathe oxygen from a tank, via a narrow tube that fits into one’s nose.
  • Lung volume reduction surgery: Surgeons remove small sections of damaged lung tissue to increase the efficiency of other parts of the lung.
  • Lung transplant surgery: In some of the most serious cases, a transplant may be necessary.

Even further, Northwestern Medicine is dedicated to educating patients about how to slow the progression of emphysema by encouraging the following:

  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid secondhand smoke
  • Avoid respiratory irritants
  • Exercise
  • Avoid respiratory infections
  • Wear a mask while working

By contributing to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will become an integral part of the quality care that people with emphysema receive at Northwestern Medicine. Help us continue to make a significant difference in many lives!

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