Emphysema is chronic pulmonary disease that damages the air sacs in the lungs and makes it hard to catch your breath. It also causes a chronic cough and shortness of breath during exercise.
- The main cause of emphysema is cigarette smoking.
- The air sacs of the lung produce defensive cells called "macrophages".
- When exposed to cigarette smoke, these macrophages consume the inhaled particles.
- Unfortunately, they are also stimulated to release materials that can destroy proteins that let the lungs expand and contract, called elastin and collegen. *Smoking also damages the cilia, which are tiny hair like projections in the bronchi, that assist with removing bacteria and foreign bodies from the lungs.
- The best way to prevent emphysema; is to of course never smoke cigarettes.
- If you are smoking presently; there are many smoking cessation programs available.