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What causes hyperinflated lungs?

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Anything that limits the flow of air out of your lungs can lead to hyperinflation.

The most common culprit is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, mainly caused by smoking.

COPD is made up of one or more of three serious lung illnesses that make it harder to breathe and get worse over time:

Normal asthma (not linked to COPD) can also limit airflow and enlarge your lungs. Less common conditions that can limit airflow and lead to hyperinflated lungs include:

  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive asthma
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis
  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis

SOURCES:

Cedars-Sinai Hospital: “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).”

Cleveland Clinic: “Emphysema.”

HealthyWomen.org: “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Chronic Bronchitis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Hyperinflated lungs: What does it mean?”

Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society: “Why does the lung hyperinflate?”

Radiopedial.org: “Lung hyperinflation.”

University of Michigan Health System: “Lung Volume Reduction Surgery.”

UpToDate: “Dynamic hyperinflation in patients with COPD,” “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Definition, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and staging.”

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on April 24, 2020

SOURCES:

Cedars-Sinai Hospital: “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).”

Cleveland Clinic: “Emphysema.”

HealthyWomen.org: “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Chronic Bronchitis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Hyperinflated lungs: What does it mean?”

Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society: “Why does the lung hyperinflate?”

Radiopedial.org: “Lung hyperinflation.”

University of Michigan Health System: “Lung Volume Reduction Surgery.”

UpToDate: “Dynamic hyperinflation in patients with COPD,” “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Definition, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and staging.”

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on April 24, 2020

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What are symptoms of hyperinflated lungs?

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