Marengo CIMS Hospital is dedicated to providing comprehensive healthcare services and fostering patient well-being. As part of our commitment to patient education, we have developed the Marengo CIMS Hospital Medical Encyclopedia—an invaluable online resource designed to empower patients with knowledge about various medical conditions, treatments, and preventive measures. This encyclopedia serves as a trusted and accessible repository of medical information, allowing patients to make informed decisions regarding their health and collaborate more effectively with healthcare professionals.


Emphysema is a chronic and progressive lung disease that affects millions of people worldwide. While India has witnessed a rise in respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it is essential to comprehend the signs, symptoms, classification, causes, risk factors, diagnostic tests, treatment options, complications, and prevention techniques associated with emphysema. This article aims to provide a detailed overview of emphysema, its potential impact on India, and explain these concepts in simple terms. 

Signs and Symptoms:

Emphysema primarily affects the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, leading to their gradual destruction. The most common signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, chronic cough, chest tightness, fatigue, unintended weight loss, and reduced exercise tolerance. Individuals with emphysema may also experience frequent respiratory infections and have difficulty breathing while performing routine activities.

What is Emphysema? :

Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) characterized by the progressive destruction of lung tissue. It results in the enlargement of air spaces and loss of elasticity in the alveoli, making it challenging to exhale properly. Emphysema is often caused by long-term exposure to harmful substances, primarily cigarette smoke.

How is Emphysema Classified? :

Emphysema can be classified based on the distribution and severity of lung damage:

  • Centriacinar Emphysema: This type primarily affects the central or proximal parts of the respiratory bronchioles, while the distal airways and alveoli remain relatively spared. It is commonly associated with cigarette smoking.
  • Panacinar Emphysema: Panacinar emphysema involves the destruction of the entire respiratory acinus, including both proximal and distal airways. It is typically associated with a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which predisposes individuals to early-onset emphysema.

Causes and Triggers:

Emphysema is primarily caused by long-term exposure to irritants, particularly cigarette smoke. The smoke and other inhaled pollutants lead to inflammation and damage in the airways, triggering an immune response that ultimately results in the destruction of lung tissue. Other factors contributing to the development of emphysema include exposure to occupational hazards (e.g., chemicals, dust, fumes), indoor and outdoor air pollution, and genetic predisposition.

Risk Factors with Examples:

Several risk factors increase the likelihood of developing emphysema, including:

  •  Smoking: Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of emphysema. The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the air sacs in the lungs over time, leading to the development and progression of the disease.
  • Occupational Exposure: Individuals working in industries with high levels of dust, chemicals, or fumes, such as mining, construction, or textile manufacturing, have an increased risk of developing emphysema.
  • Genetic Factors: A rare genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency predisposes individuals to the early onset of emphysema, especially in the absence of smoking.

Types of Emphysema:

Emphysema can be classified into two main types: centriacinar and panacinar emphysema. These types differ in terms of the areas of the lungs primarily affected and the underlying causes.

  • Centriacinar Emphysema: This type of emphysema is most commonly associated with smoking. It primarily affects the central or proximal parts of the respiratory bronchioles while sparing the distal airways and alveoli.
  • Panacinar Emphysema: Panacinar emphysema is often caused by a genetic condition known as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. It involves the destruction of the entire respiratory acinus, including both proximal and distal airways.

Diagnostic Tests and Treatments:

The diagnosis and management of emphysema involve various diagnostic tests and treatment options:

  • Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs): These tests assess lung function, including lung capacity, airflow, and gas exchange. Spirometry, a common PFT, measures how much air an individual can exhale forcefully and how quickly.
  • Chest X-ray and CT Scan: Imaging tests such as chest X-rays and CT scans help evaluate the lung structure, identify signs of emphysema, and rule out other lung conditions.
  • Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) Analysis: ABG analysis measures oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood, providing information about the severity of respiratory impairment.
  • Inhalers and Medications: Bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, and other medications are prescribed to manage symptoms, reduce inflammation, and improve breathing.
  • Oxygen Therapy: In advanced cases, supplemental oxygen may be prescribed to maintain adequate blood oxygen levels.

Complications of Emphysema:

Emphysema can lead to several complications, including:

  • Respiratory Infections: Weakened lung function and reduced ability to clear mucus increase the risk of respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
  • Pulmonary Hypertension: Emphysema can cause increased blood pressure in the lungs, leading to a condition called pulmonary hypertension.

Prevention Techniques:

To prevent emphysema and slow down its progression, individuals can take the following steps:

  • Quit Smoking: The most effective way to prevent emphysema is to avoid smoking and limit exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Occupational Safety: Workers in high-risk industries should use appropriate protective equipment and follow safety protocols to minimize exposure to harmful substances.

Emphysema is a chronic lung condition that affects millions of people worldwide, causing breathing difficulties and reduced lung function. Marengo Asia Hospitals, spread across India, is well-prepared to handle patients with emphysema. Through comprehensive care plans, specialized treatments, and support services, the network aims to improve the quality of life for individuals living with this condition.

Understanding Emphysema:

Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that occurs when the air sacs in the lungs become damaged, leading to their overinflation and reduced elasticity. This damage is typically caused by long-term exposure to harmful substances like cigarette smoke or environmental pollutants. As a result, the lungs struggle to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide efficiently, leading to symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.

Marengo Asia Hospitals Approach:

  • Multidisciplinary Care: Marengo Asia Hpospitals adopts a multidisciplinary approach to treating emphysema patients. A team of healthcare professionals, including pulmonologists, respiratory therapists, nurses, and physiotherapists, collaborate to provide comprehensive care tailored to the individual’s needs. This integrated approach ensures that patients receive holistic care and support for their condition.
  • Diagnosis and Evaluation: The network’s hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to accurately diagnose emphysema and assess its severity. These tests may include lung function tests, chest X-rays, and CT scans. The results help healthcare professionals understand the extent of lung damage and develop appropriate treatment plans.
  • Medications and Inhalation Therapy: Emphysema treatment often involves the use of medications to manage symptoms and improve lung function. Marengo Asia Hospitals ensures that patients receive the right medications, such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids, to reduce inflammation, open up airways, and alleviate breathing difficulties. Inhalation therapy, involving the use of inhalers or nebulizers, is also commonly prescribed to deliver medication directly to the lungs.
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation: The network offers pulmonary rehabilitation programs to help emphysema patients improve their lung capacity, enhance physical endurance, and learn techniques for breathing control. These programs often include exercise routines, breathing exercises, and education on managing symptoms and avoiding exacerbations. Pulmonary rehabilitation empowers patients to actively participate in their own care and improve their overall well-being.
  • Smoking Cessation Support: Since smoking is a significant cause of emphysema, Marengo Asia Hospitals places great emphasis on helping patients quit smoking. They provide counseling, support groups, and access to nicotine replacement therapy to assist individuals in overcoming their addiction and reducing further damage to their lungs.
  • Home Oxygen Therapy: In severe cases of emphysema where oxygen levels are critically low, the network offers home oxygen therapy. This involves the use of portable oxygen concentrators or cylinders to ensure patients receive an adequate oxygen supply, even outside the hospital setting. Home oxygen therapy helps improve breathing and allows individuals to engage in daily activities with greater ease.

Emphysema can significantly impact a person’s ability to breathe comfortably and enjoy a fulfilling life. However, Marengo Asia Hospitals across India is committed to providing comprehensive care and support to individuals with this condition. Through accurate diagnosis, personalized treatment plans, pulmonary rehabilitation programs, and ongoing support, they strive to improve lung function, manage symptoms, and enhance the overall well-being of patients with emphysema. With their expertise in respiratory care and a patient-centered approach, the network aims to empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives while effectively managing their condition.


Contact Us

Marengo CIMS Hospital
Off Science City Road, Sola, Ahmedabad – 380060
Gujarat, INDIA

24×7 Helpline +91 70 69 00 00 00
Phone: 079 4805 1200 or 1008
+91 79 2771 2771 or 72
Fax: +91 79 2771 2770
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Email: info@cims.org