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Emphysema


What is Emphysema?

It is a disease of the lung that involves damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). As a result of this disease, your body does not receive the necessary levels of oxygen.*  

What Causes Emphysema?

Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of emphysema. Air born pollutants like Tobacco smoke are thought to cause the release of chemicals from within the lungs that damage the walls of the air sacs. Over time, this damage becomes worse. People with this disease have air sacs in the lungs that are not capable of filling with fresh air. This affects the oxygen supply to the body.*

Alpha-1 antitrypsin, a naturally occurring substance in the lungs, may protect against this damage. But, people with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (lack of a liver protein that blocks the destructive effects of certain enzymes) are at an increased risk for this disease.*

Common Symptoms of Emphysema?

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic cough with or without sputum production
  • Wheezing
  • Decreased ability to exercise 

Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/

 

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