What are the symptoms of emphysema?
The primary symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath, which may or may not be accompanied by other symptoms.
Common symptoms of emphysema
You may experience emphysema symptoms daily or just once in a while. Symptoms are usually worse during morning hours. At times, any of these emphysema symptoms can be severe:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Clubbing of the fingers and toes (thickening of the tissue beneath the nail beds)
- Coughing up clear, yellow, light brown, or green mucus
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing (tachypnea)
- Wheezing (whistling sound made with breathing)
Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition
In some cases, emphysema can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:
- Bluish coloration of the lips or fingernails
- Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
- Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
- Respiratory or breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, or choking
What is emphysema?
Emphysema is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that causes destruction of the air sacs in the lungs, resulting in reduced lung capacity and difficulty breathing. Emphysema is a common respiratory disorder in the United States: about 3.7 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with it. It is the third most common cause of death in American adults. People o... Read more about emphysemaintroduction
What causes emphysema?
Emphysema is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that causes destruction of the air sacs of the lungs, resulting in reduced lung capacity and difficulty breathing. The most common cause of emphysema is smoking. Rarely, nonsmokers develop emphysema as the result of an inherited deficiency in alpha-1 antitrypsin, ... Read more about emphysemacauses
How is emphysema treated?
Treatment for emphysema begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. The goal of treatment is to improve breathing. Severe cases not responding to therapy or accompanied by serious bleeding may require surgical resection, or, in rare cases, lung transplant.