Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Emphysema Overview

What is emphysema?
Emphysema is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that causes destruction of the bronchioles and tiny air pockets in the lungs. These are the parts of the lung that pass oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the bloodstream. A person with emphysema usually has damage to the lungs that was caused by smoking. Emphysema may also be caused by chronic exposure to dust and smoke.

What are the symptoms of emphysema?
The damage from emphysema causes a persistent cough, wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.

How does the doctor treat emphysema?
The treatment for emphysema may include bronchodilator medications to reverse wheezing, inhaled corticosteroids, oral corticosteroids, antibiotics, home oxygen therapy, and chest physiotherapy.

Continue to Emphysema Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Emphysema References
  1. Doherty DE, Briggs DD Jr. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: epidemiology, pathogenesis, disease course, and prognosis. Clin Cornerstone. 2004;Suppl 2:S5-16. [15500179]
  2. Ebell MH. Systemic corticosteroids for acute exacerbations of COPD. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Aug 1;72(3):437-8. [16100857]
  3. Kerstjens H, Postma D, Ten Hacken N. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Clin Evid. 2004 Jun;(11):2003-30. [15652094]
  4. Weder MM, Donohue JF. Role of bronchodilators in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Apr;26(2):221-34. [16088439]
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