What Is Emphysema?

Author By Jolene

2. Pathophysiology

The development of the disease is due to a chronic inflammatory response because of the inhalation of irritants. The inflammatory state can be further aggravated by chronic bacterial infections. The process involves macrophages, neutrophil granulocytes, and possible Tc1 lymphocyte and eosinophils. The presence of free radicals from tobacco use can also cause oxidative stress leading to the breakdown of connective tissue in the lungs. This results in emphysema and poor airflow. With chronic inflammation and scarring, the airways can become narrowed, reducing the outflow of air. Since more air is trapped in the lungs than intended, there is an increase in the total volume of air in the lungs (hyperinflation). Gradually, this leads to poor gas exchange, resulting in low oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels.

What Is Emphysema?

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