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Doctors attempt to tackle emphysema with experimental treatment

According to estimates, nearly 3 million Americans suffer from severe emphysema, a debilitating lung condition. For many people, the medical condition can prevent individuals from being able to perform simple physical tasks, due to an inability to inhale enough oxygen.

If the case of emphysema is serious enough, a person may have to consider applying for Social Security disability benefits, since the condition could make any job an impossibility. Without effective, safe treatments availabe, SSDI might be the best option available to make ends meet from month to month.

According to one physician, there may be a big breakthrough in emphysema treatment. In the past, surgery was the only option for treatment, but many doctors shied away from this option because of high mortality rates and the pain the treatment could cause. Now, a treatment developed in Europe is beginning to be tested on American soil.

With the new treatment, doctors use a scope that passes through the mouth to implant 10 coils in each lung. When they are in place, the coils deploy and allow for greater lung capacity and easier breathing.

One man who recently received the treatment has been astounded by the results so far. For many years, he was physically unable to take showers. Within days of receiving the experimental treatment, he embarked on a week-long camping trip with his loved ones.

Of course, this treatment is still experimental, which means it's not yet widely available. Until an effective treatment is approved for greater use, those who have emphysema may need to continue receiving SSDI benefits. However, if they receive an effective treatment and become able to maintain a job, it may be possible to consider other options down the road.

Source: MyFoxHouston.com, "Big breakthrough for Emphysema patients", Randy Wallace, Dec. 16, 2013

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