What is Emphysema?

Emphysema, a common form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a long-term disease of the lungs affecting many people with COPD. A healthy lung is made up of tiny air sacs that stretch when air comes in and shrink when air moves out. In emphysema, these air sacs are destroyed, making it challenging to move air in and out of the lungs.

Causes of Emphysema

The damage to the air sacs in the lungs may be the result of a number of factors, including the following:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Inhaling toxins or other irritants
  • Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency (A1AT), a genetic defect that can causes emphysema at an early age