Emphysema is a type of COPD involving damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. As a result, your body does not get the oxygen it needs. Emphysema makes it hard to catch your breath. You may also have a chronic cough and have trouble breathing during exercise.
The most common cause is cigarette smoking. If you smoke, quitting can help prevent you from getting the disease. If you already have emphysema, not smoking might keep it from getting worse. Treatment is based on whether your symptoms are mild, moderate or severe. Treatments include inhalers, oxygen, medications and sometimes surgery to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.
- Oxygen Therapy: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Staying Healthy (American Association for Respiratory Care)
- Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Inherited Emphysema) (National Jewish Health) - PDF
- Emphysema and Alpha-1 (American Association for Respiratory Care)
- Genetics Home Reference: alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (National Library of Medicine)
Statistics and Research
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Includes: Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema (National Center for Health Statistics)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Emphysema (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Pneumomediastinum caused by occult paraquat poisoning: Case report.
- Article: Pneumomediastinum and pneumopericardium as rare complications after retroperitoneal transpsoas lateral...
- Article: Emphysematous pyelonephritis and cystitis in a patient with uremia and...
- Emphysema -- see more articles
- How to breathe when you are short of breath (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Lung diffusion testing (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Lung surgery (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Pulmonary function tests (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Traveling with breathing problems (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Using oxygen at home (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish