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Doctor insights on: What Is Enphysema

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What is emphysema?

What is emphysema?

Lung damage: Destruction of lung tissue from exposure to cigarette smoke. As more lung tissue is destroyed, shortness of breath gets worse, and ultimately the lungs cannot do their job, and the body gets starved of oxygen. ...Read more

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Dr. Sue Ferranti
490 doctors shared insights

Emphysema (Definition)

Emphysema is a lung disease caused by destruction of lung tissue--specifically the alveoli, which are the smallest sac-like units of the lung responsible for oxygen exchange. It is characterized by shortness of breath, an expanded chest, and possible signs of low oxygen in the body such as bluish ...Read more


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What is emphysema?

Breakdown of walls: Of the small air pouches in your lung, called alveoli. When the walls become damaged, the alveoli merge into one larger pouch, decreasing the surface area where gas exchange can occur. Think of this by comparing the surface area of a ballon of equal size to a bunch of grapes. Though individually smaller, there are many grapes in the same volume, so more surface area. ...Read more

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What is emphysema ?

What is emphysema ?

Definition...: Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is usually caused by cigarette smoking which damages the lungs leading to this disease. It is an incurable, slowly progressive disease. Once present, treatments are aimed at reducing symptoms and insuring that there is enough oxygen in the body to support it. Smoking cessation is vital to decrease airway inflammation. ...Read more

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Can emphysema be cured?

Can emphysema be cured?

No: Emphysema is, by definition, a disease characterized by irreversible damage to the lungs. However, there are all degrees of emphysema and the goal of therapy is to ameliorate symptoms, treat complications, and prevent or slow progression. ...Read more

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Is emphysema inherited?

Is emphysema inherited?

Could be rarely: Most commonly it is from smoking. But some people have Alpha 1 antitruson deficiency they can get emphysema still smoking plays a major role. ...Read more

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Consequences of emphysema ?

Progressive...: Emphysema is a progressive disease and it progresses faster if smoking is continued. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, cough sometimes productive of sputum, decreased oxygen level with increased carbon dioxide level, etc. With progression, the signs and symptoms worsen. COPD can lead to death so smoking cessation is necessary to slow progression. The patient should see doc for therapy. ...Read more

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How long can emphysema last?

How long can emphysema last?

Life long: Once you have emphysema, it will always be there. Once you lose lung tissue, it is gone forever. That doesn't mean life is over...There are very good treatments, and people with emphysema can life full, productive lives. Best thing is to stop smoking and see a doctor to get treated. ...Read more

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What is done for emphysema?

Smoking Cessation: The most important thing is to stop the cause, which in the vast majority of cases is smoking-related. Thereafter, treatment focuses on keeping the airways open with medications. There is less room in the lungs (even though they're bigger) for gas exchange, so many of these patients require supplemental oxygen. ...Read more

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What is end stage emphysema?

Chronic Lung Disease: Emphysema is a form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). There are different classifications of COPD. End stage could refer to you needing to use daily medications in order to relieve symptoms of shortness of breath. This could also mean needing to use oxygen. If a physician has mentioned "end stage" it is worth visiting with a lung specialist called a Pulmonologist. ...Read more

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How can I have gotten emphysema?

Possibilities...: Most of the time, COPD is caused by smoking, if you are a non-smoker, there are environmental exposures that can contribute so what type of work you do may be relevant. There is also a form of COPD, alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency, which is caused by an enzyme deficiency. This can be diagnosed via a blood test and the enzyme can be replaced so the disease won't progress further. ...Read more

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