The American Lung Association claims more than 94 percent of patients diagnosed with emphysema are 45 years or older.
Emphysema is one form of chronic obstructive airways disease (COPD). Emphysema was known as the smoking man’s disease. But, recently women are being diagnosed more than men. Some research has shown women’s lungs are more sensitive than men’s lungs.
If you have emphysema, damage to your lungs is irreversible. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), emphysema causes the walls between the air sacs in the lungs to lose their ability to stretch and shrink back. Over time, the air your breath becomes trapped in the lungs because of your air sacs are weakened and damaged.
Risk factors of emphysema include the following:
• Exposure to heavy amounts of pollution
• Exposure to heavy amounts of secondhand smoke
• Exposure to certain gases or fumes in the workplace