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What is emphysema?
Emphysema is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that presents as
an abnormal and permanent enlargement of air spaces distal to the terminal
bronchioles. It frequently occurs in association with obstructive pulmonary
problems and chronic bronchitis. It is unusual for someone to have pure
emphysema unless it is a result of genetic abnormalities. Most people have
some combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis with varying degrees of
airway bronchospasm. This condition is commonly referred to as COPD (and
in the United Kingdom, as chronic obstructive lung disease, COLD).
There are three morphological types of emphysema; 1) centriacinar, 2)
Centriacinar begins in the respiratory bronchioles and spreads
peripherally mainly in the upper half of the lungs and is usually associated
Panacinar predominates in the lower half
of the lungs and destroys the alveolar tissue and is associated with homozygous
alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a
preferentially localizes around the septae of the lungs or pleura, often
associated with inflammatory processes, like prior lung infections.