Emphysema is a serious and chronic lung condition in which the air sacs in the lung become weak. They lose their ability to contract after expanding and thus air gets stuck in the lungs. Eventually, they can burst, and this can make it difficult for you to get enough oxygen into the body. The most common cause of emphysema is from smoking. Up to 80% of all cases of emphysema are a result of long-term smoking of either cigarettes or other substances. Second-hand smoke, pollution, and industrial chemical fumes can also contribute to emphysema. It’s also possible to get it through a hereditary genetic deficiency.
Once you get emphysema, it can’t be reversed because the air sacs can’t be repaired. This means that the best way to deal with the condition is to avoid getting it in the first place. That means avoiding smoking, breathing clean air when possible (if these means getting a filtration device, then do so!) and making sure not to inhale second-hand smoke or chemical vapors.
Emphysema generally occurs in stages with various symptoms. In this article, we’re going to outline the most common symptoms of emphysema so you can decide whether or not you’ve got the condition and seek medical help if you deem it necessary.
Symptom #1: No Symptoms
It’s important to note that many people who are developing emphysema may not experience any symptoms at all. Oftentimes nobody will experience any symptoms until more than 50% of the air sacs in their lungs have received irreversible damage.
If you’re a heavy smoker, remember that just because you’re not experiencing shortness of breath or other breathing problems doesn’t mean that you’re safe from emphysema. The problem can creep up on you, and once it does, it’s too late.