Hyperinflation of lungs means that they are expanded beyond their normal size because of trapped air. Any condition you suffer from which reduces the amount you exhale can cause hyperinflated lungs. The condition is most commonly associated with chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD).
Since you take in lesser amounts of air, it leads to a less number of oxygen particles circulating in your body. Other than breathing problems, hyperinflated lungs may cause your heart to fail as well.
Symptoms of Hyperinflation of Lungs
Symptoms of pulmonary hyperinflation and those of underlying causes are difficult to differentiate from one another.
If you have hyperinflated lungs, you may experience the following:
- Difficulty during inhalation
- Struggling to breath
- SOB- Shortness of breath
- Low energy
Lessened Exercise intolerance is common in people who have lung hyperinflation. You may see signs of exhaustion and shortness of breath even with normal activity. During the early stages, extreme intolerance of exercise can serve as the first sign of pulmonary hyperinflation.
The potential impact of lung hyperinflation on heart function is one of the main worries. Over time, the left ventricle of the heart may change as a result of a rise in pressure in the chest cavity (thorax). These changes can reduce the ventricle’s capacity to pump blood out of the heart, thus can result in heart failure.
The major cause of the condition of the subject is COPD, characterized by 3 conditions:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Cystic fibrosis
An examination of your physical condition, a review of your medical history, and imaging studies are all often performed to diagnose pulmonary hyperinflation.
Using a stethoscope as part of the physical checkup, the doctor will listen for unusual sounds during respiration, such as those indicating valve regurgitation or a heart murmur. Furthermore, to have hyperinflated lungs, a person may also have a “barrel chest,” where the chest constantly appears inflated.
Lung hyperinflation is easily detectable via imaging tests, including:
- Chest X-rays: This test provides detailed images of the lungs, heart, and airways for the lung specialist to examine.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan: This test comprises multiple X-ray images joined to create three-dimensional pieces of the chest cavity
- Echocardiogram, use to check for problems with the heart.
Several treatments are possible to manage lung hyperinflation, some of which are more invasive than others. These include the following:
- Bronchodilators are medicines that help expand the bronchi.
- Breathing exercises include purse-lips breathing to help expand the airways.
- Oxygen therapy restores blood oxygen to healthy, normal levels.
- Lung-volume reduction surgery alleviates the compression of the lungs and heart when other options fail.
Are Hyperinflated Lungs Serious?
Improvements in patient symptoms following lung volume reduction surgery serve as an indicator that hyperinflated lungs can have significant negative consequences on breathing.
If you feel that your breathing is not quite right, you hear crackling sounds, or in general; you suffer from shortness of breath, get in touch with the lung doctor in Houston from Pulmonary Medical Consultants. Dial (281) 357-1300 to connect with us, or drop by our clinic at 27721 State Highway 249, Suite 300, Tomball, TX 77375