By: Katelynn Dick

What is Emphysema

A condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are damaged and enlarged causing breathlessness

What causes emphysema?

The main cause of emphysema is long term regular tobacco smoking. It may also be caused by marijuana smoking.

Emphysema symptoms

Shortness of breath is by far the most common of emphysema symptoms. Most people with emphysema first notice something's wrong when they become winded during a previously routine activity. This might be climbing stairs or mowing the lawn.

The shortness of breath in emphysema results from structural changes in the lungs. These occur over years in response to lung damage, usually from smoking.

  • The linings between air sacs are destroyed creating air pockets in the lungs.
  • Air is trapped in these air pockets and is difficult to breathe out.
  • The lungs slowly enlarge and breathing takes more effort.

In people with emphysema the muscles responsible for breathing have to work harder and tire out sooner. The result is feeling breathless at first with activity and at rest in advanced emphysema.


Emphysema can't be cured, but treatments can help relieve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease

Bronchodilators these drugs can help relieve coughing shortness of breath and breathing problems by relaxing constricted airways but they're not as effective in treating emphysema as they are in treating asthma or chronic bronchitis's

Inhaled steroids corticosteroid drugs inhaled as aerosol sprays may help relieve shortness of breath. Prolonged use may weaken your bones and increase your risk of high blood pressure cataracts and diabetes.

Antibiotics if you develop a bacterial infection like acute bronchitis or pneumonia antibiotics are appropriate.


Pulmonary rehabilitation a pulmonary rehabilitation program can teach you breathing exercises and techniques that may help reduce your breathlessness and improve your ability to exercise.

Nutrition therapy you'll also receive advice about proper nutrition. In the early stages of emphysema many people need to lose weight while people with late-stage emphysema often need to gain weight.

Supplemental oxygen if you have severe emphysema with low blood oxygen levels using oxygen regularly at home and when you exercise may provide some relief. Many people use oxygen 24 hours a day. It's usually administered via narrow tubing that fits into your nostrils.


Depending on the severity of your emphysema your doctor may suggest one or more different types of surgery

Lung volume reduction surgery in this procedure, surgeons remove small wedges of damaged lung tissue. Removing the diseased tissue helps the remaining lung tissue expand and work more efficiently and helps improve breathing

Lung transplant lung transplantation is an option if you have severe emphysema and other options have failed.

Prevent Emphysema

To prevent emphysema, don't smoke and avoid breathing secondhand smoke. Wear a mask to protect your lungs if you work with chemical fumes or dust.

The subgroups

The people that smoke for long periods of times and never try to quit.

My opinion about smoking and Emphysema

My opinion about smoking and emphysema is and could be very different from your opinion. I think if you like to smoke you can but most kids now a days smoke to be "cool" and they think that now but when they have emphysema or some case caused by smoking will be sorry and regret they never started because I've heard that once you start smoking it makes you never want to stop. It helps with stress which i don't really understand how that's suppose to help with stress because of how much it hurts you. If you were to look at an athletes lungs and a smokers lungs i think that should be your motivation too want to stop if not and if you don't care then oh well.. i guess you will sooner or later pay the price.
COPD (chronic bronchitis and emphysema)

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