Early detection of emphysema can be possible with a simple blood test with researchers hopeful that the test will soon become a part of the yearly physical examinations for most Americans.
Emphysema is a long term lung disease that is often caused due to excessive smoking or long time exposure to air pollution. The disease destroys the lung tissues which are vital for the functioning of the organ.
The new blood test, discovered by tests that were sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health, can detect emphysema even before the earliest symptoms start to express themselves and thereby giving the doctors a big chance of a more effective treatment for such patients.
Led by Dr Ronald Crystal of Weill Cornell Medical College, the study discovered the new test that will check for the presence of capillary debris, known as endothelial microparticles (EMP), in the bloodstream of the patients. EMPs are the result of injury to lung's air sacs.
"We know from other studies that smokers who learn from objective evidence that their health is in danger are much more likely to quit. That is the only thing that will help them avoid this deadly disorder", Dr Crystal said. The study has been published in the online edition of American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.