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Emphysema Santa Monica, CA

Among the diseases included in the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) category is emphysema. In most cases, emphysema is caused by cigarette smoking. People who have never smoked but who have been in environments with smokers have also been diagnosed with this chronic condition.

Unfortunately, at this time, there is no cure for emphysema. There are treatments to help patients manage the disease and assist in breathing easier. Testing helps determine to what extent the lungs have been damaged and how well they are working.

Treatments for emphysema include the use of bronchodilators, which help relax the muscles in the lungs. These drugs are normally used with an inhaler but can also be administered in pill or liquid form. The inhaler is the most effective form and has the least side effects.

Steroids and combination medicines are also used to treat emphysema. These medications reduce the swelling and mucus production in the lungs. They are also inhaled and may be used in combination with a bronchodilator.

Oxygen therapy may be used as emphysema gets worse. Your doctor will determine if you need oxygen, and if so, how much and in what form. Oxygen concentrators filter air and remove other gases in order for you to breathe near-pure oxygen. Liquid oxygen is supercooled, pure oxygen that is stored in a canister. Oxygen cylinders also contain pure oxygen. In this form, the oxygen is stored in large or small tanks under high pressure.

When a protein deficiency is the cause of emphysema, Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) protein therapy may be used to help slow the disease. Normal white blood cells damage the lungs in a person with AAT deficiency. Infusions of the AAT protein can slow emphysema’s progress in these patients.

Other treatment options for emphysema include PDE-4 inhibitors, which are newer drugs. These are taken by mouth and have been shown to improve lung function when they are used with bronchodilators. Mucolytics are used to help thin the mucus in the lungs, so it is easier to cough it up. These drugs may reduce flare-ups in more severe cases of emphysema.

Symptoms of Emphysema

This pulmonary disease gradually destroys lung tissue as it thins and irreparably damages the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. Air pockets form in the lungs and the size of the lungs increases. Air gets trapped in the pockets created by the damaged lung tissue. As the disease advances, the patient has an increasingly difficult time breathing.

Emphysema patients are also more prone to chronic bronchitis. This produces frequent coughing with phlegm that can clog airways, adding to the difficulty in breathing. Daily activities such as exercising, even walking, can become challenging due to shortness of breath.

With a thorough examination, your condition can be diagnosed, and an effective treatment program can be put in place to help you manage your condition. Contact Dr. Michael today to schedule your appointment.

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Our Patient Reviews

Brent J. Michael, MD

4.7 / 5.0

Based on 34 reviews

Tammy Siever

Dr. Michael is the most Caring Dr. I have had the privilege of having taking care of my health needs. His calm and personal demeanor is above and beyond what I have ever experienced. I have never had issues with the the waiting time but, if ever I did I would not complain because he is worth the wait. I get his complete attention the entire visit. When I leave I feel very confident that he has completely covered my heath needs from head to toe. I would recommend him to anyone who wants is concerned or wants a Dr. to be concerned about their health.

Gianpaolo von Nacher

Dr. Michael has been our family doctor for over 10 years. He has always been the main pillar in our family care; specially a few years ago when my father wouldn’t have been able to get through a very difficult period without his care. He always goes the extra mile. His staff is amazing. Anita, his nurse, always efficient, loving and caring. Aileen, in the front desk, always responsive and helpful. I’m very grateful to have them on our side.

Mark B

I could literally write pages about Dr. Michael. I thankfully met him and his staff over 13 years ago after I had been suffering from a serious lung infection for over a month that 2 other doctors had missed.- 1 due to being totally arrogant and thinking I just had a cold. I was burning up and so sick I could barely walk. Dr. Michael took the time and actually listened to me - instead of just saying its probably just the flu (as the other doctors had done) or just a cold and sending me home, he actually did a complete physical on me an then had the intuition to order a chest x ray on me (I was not even coughing at the time) and then really looked at it and discovered that I actually had a really serious lung infection and started me on antibiotics. While this may sound like no big deal - it actually was, as he actually saw that it was not a normal looking lung infection and I later learned he went above and beyond and had a infectious disease specialist look at the x ray just to be safe and as he suspected it was even more serious. Since that day he has always been my main doctor. I would also like to add that I have a serious long term health condition and most doctors would generally attribute many of my current and past health issues to my main condition (it usually is the case) but Dr. Michael always looks at whatever is happening to me at the moment as if I was a new patient. This is probably his biggest talent and gift as a doctor as he has on more than one occasion over the years thought outside the box with me and has figured out quickly why I was sick at the time - sometimes it was minor but more than a few times it was really serious. His quick way of thinking and knowledge and intuition is what kept me from getting sicker and going into the hospital. If you are looking for a doctor that actually treats you like a person and not a number then see this man. I am not a celebrity or a wealthy person - far from it - but he treats me like I am - many Vets like myself go to the VA and its a great blessing but I just do not have the energy to go there as its so big. Dr. Michael is seriously brilliant and really patient and I am truly thankful I found him.

Edward Dragavon

Dr. Michael takes the time to explain the meaning of medical terms and test results in a way that a lay person can understand. He is very thorough and answers any question that you may have. His staff is also very professional and competent at their tasks. Given a choice, I wouldn't go anywhere else.

Tim Whalen

Dr. Michael is an intelligent caring human being who is focused on positive outcomes. He has a great ability to synthesize the details of lab results and other tests into preventive measures. I greatly respect his approach to care.

William Barry

A very smart and caring doctor. Very intuitive and yet he will base his decisions on test data. Patient for over 10 years. 5 stars

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logo Brent J. Michael, MD Santa Monica, CA

Brent J. Michael, MD

2001 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 880W
Santa Monica, CA 90404



Mon-Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM