Damaged Air Sacs in the Lungs


How Does Emphysema Occur?

Emphysema occurs when the air sacs in your lungs gradually become damaged, and smoking is one of these leading causes.

When the small sacs (alveoli) become damaged, the walls rupture, causing one big space in the lungs instead of many small ones. This makes it harder to breathe because the surface are of the lungs is reduced.  In turn, there is less oxygen that reaches the blood. Eventually, the alveoli don’t work properly, and when you try to exhale, air gets trapped in the lungs and fresh oxygen has no room to enter.

Symptoms of Emphysema

Unfortunately, symptoms of emphysema can creep up on you, and before you know it, shortness of breath can get in the way of completing daily activities.  You may notice that you start avoiding more active things that cause you to be short for breath.  As conditions worsen, emphysema can even cause you to be short of breath while you sleep.

Smoking EmphysemaCauses of Emphysema – Prolonged Exposure to Irritants

When To See A Doctor

If, for several months, you have had shortness of breath, you definitely need to see a doctor as soon as possible.  If symptoms are getting worse too, that is another sign to see a doctor. It’s misleading to think that your age or weight could be the reason.

Treatments & Medication

Depending upon the severity of your symptoms, your doctor might suggest medications, which include antibiotics to help fight any infection, or inhaled steroids to help relieve shortness of breath.  Bronchodilators are another option, which relax restricted airways, to help reduce coughing and shortness of breath.

3 Main Therapy Options For Emphysema

Is Surgery an Option?

If emphysema is severe, you may need a lung transplant and other options have failed.


It’s important that you trust your Pulmonologist. There are hundreds of Pulmonologists to choose from; however, not all doctors are created equal. That’s why we’ve selected your city’s best Pulmonologists – to make the decision process easier for you and your family.

For your peace of mind, Top10MD Pulmonologists’ credentials are validated yearly to verify medical licenses have no serious patient care sanctions, current Board Certifications in their given medical specialty, current DEA & DPS licenses, and malpractice insurance. A Top10MD has at least 5+ years experience or has performed 300+ procedures in their given specialty and a current Patient Satisfaction Score of 8.5 or higher.

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