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I am 55 years old woman who have been heavy smoker for many years. Then, I live in the city, where I think air pollution is constant problem. Lately I have heard all these factors are warrant for emphysema. Since I realized I could get attack, I started to worry about it. I would like to know more about emphysema, how it attacks and is it curable.

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That is true all these factors helping emphysema to occur, but not only that is important to define if you are going to have it. Some people are born with a lack of a substance called alpha-1 antitrypsin, which makes them more likely than others to get emphysema. Person with emphysema does not develop the disease suddenly, but it comes on gradually. Patient probably had several very bad colds each winter for the past few years. Each cold could be accompanied by a heavy cough, and often with chronic bronchitis. The cough often persists between colds and becomes chronic, but symptoms that bring them to doctor is short breath in morning. Later, even a short walk may be enough to bring on an attack of breathlessness. The emphysematous patient must stop smoking to retard progression of this disease. Doctors may prescribe various bronchial dilating medications to treat an asthmatic component that often co-exists with emphysema, and antibiotics are able to help for acute chest infections.
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