Is emphysema contagious?

Emphysema is not contagious. You can't develop it from coming in physical contact with someone else who has it. However, you can develop the disease as a result of secondhand smoke, which means if you live with a smoker or spend a lot of time with people who smoke, you are at higher risk of developing emphysema. In some cases, a higher risk for the disease can also be passed on hereditarily in the form of a protein deficiency. A protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin helps protect your alveoli from getting damaged by a specific enzyme in your body. If you don't have enough of the protein in your body, you may develop emphysema.

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.