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Quitting smoking can slow the worsening of emphysema symptoms.

Quitting smoking can slow the worsening of emphysema symptoms.
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Emphysema symptoms

1-minute read

The symptoms of emphysema depend on how severe the underlying lung disease has become.

People with emphysema often have shortness of breath, which when severe can occur when they are resting.

They also often have:

  • a persistent cough
  • production of phlegm
  • wheezing
  • swelling of the feet and legs, which can be a sign of heart problems.
  • If you have emphysema, you may find that the periods of breathlessness become more frequent and that you are continually short of breath, even when sitting or lying down.

    At times, the symptoms may get worse suddenly and this may indicate you should see a doctor - for example, in case you need antibiotics for a chest infection.

    Last reviewed: November 2016

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