Emphysema is a lung disorder in which damage to the air sacs in the lung reduces their ability to obtain oxygen from the air. Emphysema is classified as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is most commonly caused by cigarette smoking, but can also result from air pollution, allergies, infections, dust or chemicals in the air. The chances of developing emphysema increase as the patient ages.
The first sign of emphysema is persistent, gradually worsening difficulty breathing. Pus-filled coughs, swelling, and changes to the skin and chest anatomy are also signs. A CT chest scan can confirm the development of emphysema. Once the condition has been confirmed, doctors will treat the patient through medication, exercise and diet changes. Severe cases may require hospitalization.