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Emphysema is "a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) involving damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. As a result, the [body] does not get the oxygen it needs. Emphysema makes it hard for [the victim] to catch [their] breath. [They] may also have a chronic cough and have trouble breathing during exercise."[1]

If untreated, emphysema sufferers often have so much trouble breathing that they must be put on a ventilator. The disease is often fatal, but the death is very slow and painful.

The most common cause is cigarette smoking. Quitting smoking can help prevent getting the disease or alleviate its effects.


  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/emphysema.html