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Emphysema is a disease that affects the small air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide pass in and out of the blood. The walls of the alveoli break down so that larger air spaces are formed, greatly reducing the total surface area available for gas exchange.

Causes: Smoking is the most important known factor.
Treatment: There is no cure as damaged lung tissue cannot be replaced. The first step in treatment is to stop smoking to prevent further damage.

More info: NHS Direct
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