Emphysema is a form of chronic (long-term) lung disease, usually caused by smoking. Because of lung damage, people with emphysema have difficulty blowing air out.
The major symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath. In most people, symptoms of emphysema are slowly progressive. Emphysema symptoms also include cough and wheezing.
Don't panic if
you start to have a flare-up. If you are prepared, you may be able to get it
under control. Work with your doctor to make a plan for dealing with a COPD
Take your medicines as your doctor says:
First, use your quick-relief inhaler. If your symptoms don't get better after you use your medicine,
have someone take you to the emergency room. Call an ambulance if
With inhaled medicines, a spacer or a nebulizer may help you get more medicine to your lungs. Ask your doctor
or pharmacist how to use them properly. Practice using the spacer in front of a
mirror before you have a flare-up. This may help you get the medicine into your
If your doctor has given you steroid pills, take them as directed.