This disease presents itself slowly and usually not until after many years of continuous exposure to cigarette smoke. Although emphysema is caused by a few other things as well as smoking, smoking does make you ten times more likely to die from emphysema than a person who has never been exposed to cigarette smoke. Some major symptoms of emphysema include anxiety, constant cough, shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles and feet, wheezing, and weight loss.
Because emphysema is a slow developing disease, you do not even know you have it until it is already preventing you from breathing properly, which in some cases is too late to really do anything about it. Although the terrible effects of the disease are permanent and incurable once they develop, you can stop smoking right now, and help prevent any more damage from happening and possibly increase some lung function.
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