Familial emphysema is a lung problem that induces difficulties in breathing. The air sacs in the lungs are compromised in persons who have emphysema. The inner walls of the air sacs deteriorate and tear over time, resulting in bigger air gaps rather than numerous small ones. This decreases the surface of the lungs and, as a result, the number of oxygen that enters the blood.

When you exhale, the injured alveoli don’t function properly, trapping old air and preventing fresh, oxygen-rich air from entering. Chronic bronchitis affects the majority of patients with familial emphysema. Chronic bronchitis is a condition in which the passages that deliver air to your lungs become inflamed, resulting in chronic cough.


You may go years without seeing any signs of illness. Shortness of breath is the most common sign of familial emphysema, and it usually develops gradually. You may try to avoid things that cause you to become breathless, so the condition may not become an issue until it begins to interfere with your everyday activities. Nevertheless, it leads to difficulty breathing even while you’re at rest.

If your unusual breathing problems worsen, don’t go away, or affect your normal activities, see your physician.


Your doctor will ask about your health information and perform a physical check to see if you have emphysema. A range of tests may be suggested by your doctor.

  • Imaging tests. An X-ray can assist confirm an advanced emphysema diagnosis and check out other reasons for breathing problems.
  • Lab tests. The ability of your lungs to carry oxygen into and eliminate carbon dioxide from your bloodstream can be determined using blood drawn from an artery in your wrist.
  • Lung function tests. These noninvasive procedures determine how much oxygen your lungs can retain, as well as how well air moves in and out of them. 


Familial emphysema cannot be cured; however, therapies can help reduce symptoms and decrease the disease’s severity.


Your doctor may recommend the following treatments based on the intensity of your signs:

  • Inhaled steroids
  • Bronchodilators
  • Antibiotics


  • Nutrition therapy
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Supplemental oxygen


  • Lung transplant
  • Lung volume reduction surgery

If you have familial emphysema, there are a few things you can do to slow down the disease’s progression and safeguard yourself against risks:

  • Avoid other respiratory irritants
  • Stop smoking
  • Protect yourself from cold air
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get vaccinations

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