Symptoms of emphysema are insidious in nature and may not, at first, be easy to recognize. Emphysema is among a group of lung diseases known as COPD, in which the alveoli of the lungs become damaged, causing them to enlarge and burst. Because the alveoli are where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged, damage to this area makes it difficult for people with emphysema to expel all their air. This causes a build up of carbon dioxide in the body.
Currently, there is no cure for the disease and it tends to get worse over time. Recognizing the following symptoms of emphysema will lead to earlier emphysema treatment:
Tachypnea is the medical term for rapid breathing, which is another common symptom of emphysema. Learn why people with emphysema suffer from tachypnea.
A person with emphysema usually has a history of cigarette smoking accompanied by a long-term, (chronic) cough. The cough may be either be productive (with sputum) or non-productive (without sputum). Learn more about chronic cough and find out why COPD causes increased mucus production.
Many people with emphysema have a reduced capacity for any type of exercise or activity. This often gets worse over time, as the emphysema progresses. Learn why people with COPD struggle with decreased exercise tolerance.
Anorexia is the medical term for loss of appetite, not to be confused with the mental condition, anorexia nervosa, which has nothing to do with COPD. Learn more about how loss of appetite leads to weight loss in people with emphysema, and discover how to control shortness of breath during mealtimes so you can get the calories you need.
7. Barrel Chest
Barrel chest is a rounded, bulging, barrel-like appearance of the chest, which is common in the later stages of emphysema. Learn what causes a barrel chest.
Discover more about emphysema and emphysema symptoms:
To find out more about your specific emphysema symptoms, visit Symptom Checker, About.com's interactive tool to help you better understand symptoms related to emphysema, as well as many other health conditions.
Bare, Brenda G. & Smeltzer, Suzanne C. Brunner and Suddarth's Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing(8th Edition). Philidelphia, PA: Lippincott-Raven Publishers.