Emphysema effects the alveoli, or air sacs, in your lungs making it harder to breathe. Emphysema weakens these sacs and the inner walls eventually rupture. With less air sacs there is less area for oxygen to reach your bloodstream.
Emphysema is a respiratory condition that damages the air sacs in the lungs, which leads to shortness of breath and reduces how much oxygen is delivered into the bloodstream. Emphysema, along with chronic bronchitis, falls under an umbrella of lung diseases known as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Emphysema is most common in men between 50 and 70 years of age. Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema, which makes it one of the most preventable respiratory diseases.
Emphysema ruptures the alveoli—the air sacs at the end of bronchial tubes in the lungs. When damage occurs, the alveoli are unable to support the bronchial tubes, which causes them to collapse and trap air inside the lungs. As a result, there is no space for new oxygen-rich air to enter the lungs. Although treatment may slow progression of the condition, it can’t reverse the damage.