Emphysema is a type of COPD involving damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. As a result, your body does not get the oxygen it needs. Emphysema makes it hard to catch your breath. You may also have a chronic cough and have trouble breathing during exercise. Treatments and Therapies: Treatment for emphysema can take many forms. Different approaches to treatment are available. Stop smoking: Although not strictly a treatment, all doctors should make this recommendation. Bronchodilator drugs: These medications, which cause the air passages to open more fully and allow better air exchange, are usually the first line of treatment for emphysema. In very mild cases, bronchodilators may be used only as needed, for episodes of shortness of breath. Steroid medications: These decrease inflammation in the body. They are used for this effect in the lung and elsewhere and have been shown to be of some benefit in emphysema. Antibiotics: These medications are often prescribed for people with emphysema who have increased shortness of breath. Even when the chest X-ray does not show pneumonia or evidence of infection, people treated with antibiotics tend to have shorter episodes of shortness of breath. It is suspected that infection may play a role in an acute bout of emphysema, even before the infection turns into a pneumonia or acute bronchitis. Oxygen: In the most severe cases, it may even be necessary to place a tube in your windpipe and allow a machine to assist your breathing. In some cases, it may be necessary for you to receive oxygen at home as well. Pulmonary rehabilitation: Many people with COPD benefit from a programme of exercise and education. It helps improve mobilty, exercise capacity and confidence.