Can non-smokers get emphysema?

Non-smokers can get emphysema, although smoking is the most important risk factor for the development of emphysema. Other exposures and medical issues can also lead to emphysema. Passive smoke exposure, or second-hand smoke, as well as exposure to biomass fuel, fumes, and chemical dusts can cause emphysema. Additionally there is a condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which causes emphysema. In this condition the person may have an insufficient amount of, lack of, or dysfunction of alpha-1 antitrypsin, an enzyme that is vitally important to lung health.


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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.