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Daily Lung Specalizes in Health, Medical, and Disease Related News and Topics

What is Emphysema

August 5, 2014 Published by: DL

Emphysema is a chronic type of lung disease where the sufferer has a lot of difficulty breathing from a reduction of air flow.

There is more than one way to get emphysema, however, the most common way is from smoking. Emphysema is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and similarly though less severe, chronic bronchitis is also another form of COPD caused from smoking.

When someone has this disease, the alveoli damaged and start to acquire pockets and holes within them. On top of this they tend to clump together causing reduced surface area in the lungs, and thus less oxygen within the bloodstream — and a much harder time breathing.


As said prior, there are multiple ways of acquiring emphysema, however, the most commons and most reliable cause is from the effects of long term tobacco use. While this is the most common it can be caused from a plethora of other air pollution inhalations such as, marijuana, smog, coal, coal, and factory type pollutants. There is also the few cases in the lungs where a lack of the protein known to support the elastic tissue (alpha-1-antirypsin) is deficient through hereditary induced means.

Some victims of the disease may not notice any symptoms for years. But eventually, they will start to notice shortness of breath, especially when it comes to physical types of exercise. Typically they will notice they are gasping for air during activities where they otherwise were not; and eventually the same will happen when the person is even in a resting type state.

A range of physical examinations and electronic tests may be ordered by your doctor to diagnose emphysema.

Such physical methods will include acquiring knowledge on family history; such as smoking status of family and yourself and whether your family history is known for lung disease or lunge related issues.

Other diagnosis methods will include examining your smoking experience, your medical issues, and how often and too what extent you suffer from breathing or lung related issues — whether that be colds, shortness of breath, or current diseases or infections.

Methods using electronics will include things like x-rays, blood tests, CT scans, etc.

Chest infections, pneumonia, and frequently re-occuring colds
Collapsing of the lung; which can actually kill victims of emphysema once the lungs have been damaged enough
Significantly elevated blood pressure
Empty pockets within the lungs that can grow excessively large; also known as bullae

At the current time emphysema is not a curable disease, however, there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help to slow down its rate of destruction and hinder some symptoms.