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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.
- Emphysema (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Living Well with COPD: Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema (American College of Chest Physicians) - PDF
- MedlinePlus: Oxygen Therapy (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- MedlinePlus: Pulmonary Rehabilitation (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Staying Healthy (American Association for Respiratory Care)
- Hyperinflated Lungs: What Does It Mean? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- 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)