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What causes emphysema?

Smoking is by far the most common cause of emphysema. Cigarettes are filled with dangerous chemicals that destroy tiny air sacs in your lungs called alveoli. When your alveoli get damaged, your airways, or bronchioles, may collapse, making it incredibly difficult to breathe. Emphysema can also be caused by secondhand smoke and harsh environmental conditions, like air pollution. Much less commonly, emphysema may be the result of a protein deficiency. The specific protein is called alpha-1 antitrypsin, and its job is to prevent a certain enzyme in your body from destroying your alveoli. If you don't have enough of it, you may develop emphysema.

Continue Learning about Emphysema

Is emphysema life threatening?
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Emphysema is a type of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and can be life threatening due ...
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Does emphysema get worse over time?
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Emphysema will get progressively worse over time. It is a form of a serious condition called chronic...
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What is emphysema?
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Can non-smokers get emphysema?
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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.