Emphysema is a disease of the lung in which the alveoli (small sacs) that allow oxygen exchange between the air and the bloodstream are destroyed. Emphysema is one of the known causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The primary symptom of emphysema is difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Other associated symptoms can include wheezing, cough, chest pain, and chest tightness. Early on in the disease course, symptoms may only occur with exercise, but as the condition progresses, symptoms occur at rest.
Causes of emphysema
The main cause of emphysema is tobacco smoking, so emphysema is considered to be a preventable disease in most cases. There are other genetic conditions that can cause emphysema, but these are rare in comparison to smoking. Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency is a genetic cause of emphysema.
Other emphysema symptoms and signs
Main Article on Emphysema Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Lung and Respiratory Health: Reasons You're Short of Breath
Have you ever found yourself gasping for air after just a short flight of stairs? You may just need to do a bit more exercise, or...
Picture of Lungs
The lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest (thorax). See a picture of the Lungs and...
Examples of Medications for Emphysema Symptoms and Signs
- Advair Diskus, Advair HFA (fluticasone and salmeterol oral inhaler)
- albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil)
- albuterol and ipratropium inhaler (Combivent Respimat)
- budesonide/formoterol hfa inhaler (Symbicort)
- fluticasone disk inhaler - oral, Flovent Rotadisk
- fluticasone propionate oral inhaler (Flovent)
- formoterol powder in capsule - oral inhalation, Foradil
- ipratropium bromide inhaler (Atrovent)
- ipratropium solution - inhalation, Atrovent
- prednisone (Prednisone Intensol, Rayos) Corticosteroid
- salmeterol (Serevent)
- Spiriva (tiotropium bromide)