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Causes of Emphysema

List of causes of Emphysema

Following is a list of causes or underlying conditions (see also Misdiagnosis of underlying causes of Emphysema) that could possibly cause Emphysema includes:

Causes of Emphysema (Diseases Database):

The follow list shows some of the possible medical causes of Emphysema that are listed by the Diseases Database:

Source: Diseases Database

Emphysema Causes: Risk Factors

The following conditions have been cited in various sources as potentially causal risk factors related to Emphysema:

Emphysema: Related Medical Conditions

To research the causes of Emphysema, consider researching the causes of these these diseases that may be similar, or associated with Emphysema:

Emphysema: Causes and Types

Causes of Types of Emphysema: Review the cause informationfor the various types of Emphysema:

  • Smokerís emphysema - common form, also called nonfamilial emphysema; about 15-20% of smokers get Emphysema
  • Familial emphysema - a rare genetic inherited form, often arising earlier (30's or 40's).
  • more types...»

Causes of Broader Categories of Emphysema: Review the causal information about the various more general categories of medical conditions:

Emphysema as a complication of other conditions:

Other conditions that might have Emphysema as a complication may, potentially, be an underlying cause of Emphysema. Our database lists the following as having Emphysema as a complication of that condition:

Emphysema as a symptom:

Conditions listing Emphysema as a symptom may also be potential underlying causes of Emphysema. Our database lists the following as having Emphysema as a symptom of that condition:

What causes Emphysema?

Causes: Emphysema: The number one cause of emphysema is smoking. Other contributing factors in its development or exacerbation (increase in severity) include long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust. It is also recommended to avoid long-term exposure to second hand smoke. Emphysema is not infectious and cannot be passed from person to person. Rarely, some people may develop emphysema due to a hereditary condition, in which they are born lacking an important protein that protects the lungs. This condition is known as alpha 1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency-related emphysema. Smoking greatly increases the severity of AAT deficiency-related emphysema.
Article excerpts about the causes of Emphysema:

Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema: NHLBI (Excerpt)

In emphysema there is permanent destruction of the alveoli, the tiny elastic air sacs of the lung, because of irreversible destruction of a protein in the lung called elastin that is important for maintaining the strength of the alveolar walls. The loss of elastin also causes collapse or narrowing of the smallest air passages, called bronchioles, which in turn limits airflow out of the lung. The number of individuals with emphysema in the United States is estimated to be 2 million. (Source: excerpt from Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema: NHLBI)

Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema: NHLBI (Excerpt)

Some scientists believe that nonfamilial emphysema, usually called "smoker's emphysema," also results from an imbalance between elastin-degrading enzymes and their inhibitors. The elastase-AAT imbalance is thought to be a result of the effects of smoking, rather than inherited as in familial emphysema. Some evidence for this theory comes from studies on the effect of tobacco smoke on lung cells. These studies showed that tobacco smoke stimulates excess release of elastase from cells normally found in the lung. The inhaled smoke also stimulates more elastase-producing cells to migrate to the lung which in turn causes the release of even more elastase. To make matters worse, oxidants found in cigarette smoke inactivate a significant portion of the elastase inhibitors that are present, thereby decreasing the amount of active antielastase available for protecting the lung and further upsetting the elastase-antielastase balance. (Source: excerpt from Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema: NHLBI)

Medical news summaries relating to Emphysema:

The following medical news items are relevant to causes of Emphysema:

Related information on causes of Emphysema:

As with all medical conditions, there may be many causal factors. Further relevant information on causes of Emphysema may be found in:


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