Emphysema Treatments & Symptoms | MedStar Health
A man coughing.

Emphysema is a chronic lung disease that limits the amount of air you can breathe out. And is a type of COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which involves damage to the lungs over time. Patients are typically smokers, however, some people have a protein deficiency that puts them at risk for developing this disease.


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Emphysema destroys the alveoli and the alveolar ducts. As your lungs lose elasticity, the alveoli rupture creating large air spaces that reduce the surface area needed by your body to absorb oxygen and remove carbon dioxide waste.

Emphysema symptoms

If you suffer from this disease, you know how debilitating it can be. Even performing simple daily activities can be challenging. Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Tightness of the chest

Emphysema treatments

With an experienced multidisciplinary team, we offer a variety of treatment options for emphysema, from rehabilitation programs to medication and lifestyle modification programs.

  • Smoking cessation program: Stopping smoking is the most important part of treatment. It’s the only way to stop further damage to the lungs. Learn more about programs to help you quit.

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation: A 6 to 10-week program with individualized exercise therapy and education. Learn more about the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program.

  • Lung volume reduction surgery: A procedure to help people with end-stage disease. The goal is to remove diseased lung tissue, which helps patients breathe more efficiently.

Our providers

Pulmonologists checking paitent’s lungs

Expert pulmonology care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our pulmonologists.

Our locations

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MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237