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Emphysema and Smoking | Emphysema Symptoms | Lung Disease | Chronic Bronchitis | COPD | Stop Smoking
Emphysema is a type of lung disease characterised by shortness of breath. A large number of people with emphysema also have chronic bronchitis. Most cases of emphysema are caused by cigarette smoking. Also long term exposure to certain industrial pollutants or dust may also cause emphysema. Complications of emphysema can include pneumonia, collapsed lung and heart problems.
Many people with emphysema also have chronic bronchitis. A combination of the two lung diseases is commonly called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking is responsible for 82% of all COPD, including emphysema. An estimated 2 million Americans suffer from emphysema, and emphysema ranks as the 15th most common chronic condition that contributes to activity limitation. Almost half of the patients with emphysema report that their daily activities are substantially limited by the disease. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place in the small air sacs of the lungs (alveoli). If a person with emphysema, the alveoli are damaged. The main tubes leading into the lungs (the bronchi) are also damaged and narrowed. In addition, chronic bronchitis is marked by a thickening of the walls of the bronchi with increased mucus production and difficulty in expelling these secretions. This results in coughing and sputum production.
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