Symptoms of Emphysema
The primary symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath, although you can have emphysema for years without any signs or symptoms. Others will experience symptoms including:
- Cough producing mucus or blood
- Tightness in the chest
- Swelling in the lower limbs
- Weight loss
Often, people with emphysema will avoid activities that cause them to be short of breath, which may mask their symptoms. Eventually, emphysema will advance to the point where you experience shortness of breath even while at rest.
Other complications can include:
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Heart disease
If you have had shortness of breath for several months, you should see your physician. If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention*:
- You are so short of breath that you cannot speak.
- Your lips or fingernails are turning gray or blue.
- Your heartbeat is very fast.
- Your mental alertness is impaired.