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What is emphysema?

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Emphysema happens when smoke from tobacco or other pollutants slowly damage the tiny air sacs in your lungs called alveoli. Normally, some 300 million alveoli help bring oxygen into your body and get rid of carbon dioxide. As the alveoli break down, your bronchial tubes can start to collapse, too.

That can trap air in your lungs and overfill them. You may need more effort to breathe in and out, which leaves you feeling short of breath. The disease is progressive, meaning that over time, it'll get harder and harder for you to breathe.

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on November 05, 2019

Medically Reviewed on 11/05/2019

SOURCES:

American Lung Association: “Nutrition and COPD.”

CDC: “Spirometry Reference Value Calculator.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Nutritional Guidelines for People with COPD,” “Emphysema.”

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: “Global Report on The Diagnosis, Management, And Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: 2019 Report.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Emphysema.”

Mayo Clinic: “Emphysema,” “Spirometry.”

NIH News in Health: “Oxygen Therapy for Patients with COPD.”

UpToDate: “Multidimensional assessment of COPD,” “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Definition, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and staging.”

Johns Hopkins University: “Emphysema.”

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on November 05, 2019

SOURCES:

American Lung Association: “Nutrition and COPD.”

CDC: “Spirometry Reference Value Calculator.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Nutritional Guidelines for People with COPD,” “Emphysema.”

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: “Global Report on The Diagnosis, Management, And Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: 2019 Report.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Emphysema.”

Mayo Clinic: “Emphysema,” “Spirometry.”

NIH News in Health: “Oxygen Therapy for Patients with COPD.”

UpToDate: “Multidimensional assessment of COPD,” “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Definition, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and staging.”

Johns Hopkins University: “Emphysema.”

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on November 05, 2019

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