Emphysema is a form of chronic (long-term) lung disease. People with emphysema have difficulty breathing from a limitation in blowing air out. There are multiple causes of emphysema, but smoking is by far the most common. Emphysema is one of the main types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It’s called “obstructive” because people with emphysema exhale as if something were obstructing the flow of air. The other form of COPD is chronic bronchitis, which can also be caused by smoking. Although emphysema has no cure, quitting smoking reduces the speed at which the disease gets worse. You can have emphysema for many years without noticing any signs or symptoms. The main symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath, which usually begins gradually. You may start avoiding activities that cause you to be short of breath, so the symptom doesn't become a problem until it starts interfering with daily tasks.
• More shortness of breath than usual.
Greater tightness in your chest. Globally, as of 2010, COPD affected approximately 329 million people (4.8% of the population). The disease affects men and women almost equally, as there has been increased tobacco use among women in the developed world. The increase in the developing world between 1970 and the 2000s is believed to be related to increasing rates of smoking in this region, an increasing population and an aging population due to less death’s from other causes such as infectious diseases. Some developed countries have seen increased rates, some have remained stable and some have seen a decrease in COPD prevalence. The global numbers are expected to continue increasing as risk factors remain common and the population continues to get older.