What is Emphysema?
Emphysema is one of the major obstructive lung diseases under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) umbrella. This lung condition gradually destroys the air sacs in the lungs, making it progressively more difficult to breathe. The tiny cluster-like air sacs in the lungs are responsible for bringing oxygen to the bloodstream. As emphysema progresses, the inner walls of the air sacs form holes, weakening their internal structure. The disease deters oxygen from reaching the bloodstream. Emphysema also destroys the elasticity of the airways that lead to the air sacs. As a result, the air sacs collapse, trapping oxygen in the lungs. Sufferers of emphysema constantly struggle to breathe.
Both Men and Women
Historically, men had developed emphysema more often than females. Starting in 2011, women have reported a higher rate of emphysema diagnosis than men.
Older people are at a higher risk for developing emphysema. Emphysema is a progressive disease, which worsens over time and as you age, your physical health begins to decline. As a result of these two factors, older individuals are more likely to develop the disease.
- With your lung specifically, two conditions that may pop up as possible causes of your breathing issues include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. What’s the difference? Read more
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