Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
George Schiffman, MD, FCCP
Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.
- What is emphysema?
- What are the risk factors for emphysema?
- What causes emphysema?
- What are the signs and symptoms of emphysema?
- How is emphysema diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for emphysema?
- Quitting smoking
- Emphysema medications
- Pulmonary rehabilitation for emphysema
- Surgery for emphysema
- What are the stages of emphysema?
- What is the life expectancy and outlook for someone with emphysema?
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) FAQs
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Experience
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Causes
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Smoking
- Find a local Pulmonologist in your town
What is emphysema?
Emphysema is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that presents as an abnormal and permanent enlargement of air spaces distal to the terminal bronchioles. It frequently occurs in association with obstructive pulmonary problems and chronic bronchitis. It is unusual for someone to have pure emphysema unless it is a result of genetic abnormalities. Most people have some combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis with varying degrees of airway bronchospasm. This condition is commonly referred to as COPD (and in the United Kingdom, as chronic obstructive lung disease, COLD).
There are three morphological types of emphysema; 1) centriacinar, 2) panacinar, and 3) paraseptal.
- Centriacinar begins in the respiratory bronchioles and spreads peripherally mainly in the upper half of the lungs and is usually associated with long-standing cigarette smoking.
- Panacinar predominates in the lower half of the lungs and destroys the alveolar tissue and is associated with homozygous alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic disease.
- Paraseptal emphysema preferentially localizes around the septae of the lungs or pleura, often associated with inflammatory processes, like prior lung infections.
What are the risk factors for emphysema?
The major factors that increase the risk for developing emphysema are:
Smoking: Smoking is one of the major risk factors for developing emphysema; the risk increases as the number of years the person has been smoking increases, and is related to the amount of tobacco smoked (for example, three cigarettes a day versus a pack and a half per day); smoking is a major risk factor also for developing lung cancer.
Exposure to secondhand smoke: the risk factors or emphysema increase for people exposed to secondhand smoke according to the number of years exposed to secondhand smoke, and the amount of smoke the person is exposed to.
Exposure to fumes or dust in the environment: People that work in close association with chemical fumes or dusts generated in mining, chemical plants or other industries are higher risks for developing emphysema; these risks are further increased if the person smokes tobacco.
Pollution: Air pollution caused by fumes from vehicles, electrical generating plants that use coal and other fumes produce increases the risk of emphysema.
In the underdeveloped parts of the world, indoor air pollution primarily from open wood flames used for cooking is the primary mechanism for acquiring emphysema.
Next: What causes emphysema?
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