Can children have emphysema?


While rare, emphysema can develop in children. In most cases, emphysema takes years to develop, usually as the result of smoking. However, in some cases, the disease is caused by a lack of alpha1-antitrypsin protein, which protects your alveoli from damage by a certain enzyme in your body. This protein deficiency can be passed on hereditarily and may lead to early development of emphysema in children, but this is still rare. Damage to the alveoli generally takes years to build up. Another type of emphysema, called lobar emphysema, can develop in children before they are even born. Left untreated, it can be fatal. If you believe your child is displaying symptoms of emphysema, see your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and find out what treatment options are available.

Continue Learning about Emphysema


Emphysema is difficulty breathing due to air trapped in the lung, resulting in reduced lung capacity. Smoking is usually the cause, as it damages the linings of the air sacs in the lungs making them close. This leads to areas of t...

rapped air in your lungs. Other causes may include coal dust and other pollutants. Your lungs enlarge to compensate, but there are limits to this. Treatment may be medical and include oxygen support, medication and respiratory therapy. Of course stopping smoking is always recommended. Surgical treatment by cutting out damaged portions of the lungs and reducing lung volume is also effective.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.