Emphysema is a specific type of COPD, where destruction of the lung tissue is a core element. Lung tissue destruction removes natural supporting tissue that normally holds airways open. During breathing, airways collapse and obstruction can be felt especially while attempting to exhale. Symptoms include breathlessness during exercise and a feeling of continuous breath holding.
- The leading cause of emphysema is smoking but environmental pollution and genetic conditions can also cause this disease to occur.3
- Emphysema damages the elastic fibers (elastin) in lung tissue. Lung tissue with elasticity normally holds airways open and helps squeeze air out of the lung during breathing. When a patient with emphysema breathes out, the airways collapse and air becomes trapped in the lungs. Physical activity results in lungs that become overinflated with trapped air which makes breathing more difficult.
- As the disease progresses, more lung tissue continues to be destroyed and the lungs trap air more easily to cause severe lung expansion that is known as hyperinflation. Breathing becomes very difficult at this stage.
If you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, general exhaustion and reduced ability to enjoy personally meaningful daily activities, you might be suffering from severe Emphysema. For further assessment of your condition, please visit a doctor who specialises in pulmonary care.