Emphysema vs. Chronic Bronchitis: Is There a Difference?

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If you've been diagnosed with emphysema, you've probably been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis as well, or vice versa. These two diseases are part of a group of disorders known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). One main difference between chronic bronchitis and emphysema is that chronic bronchitis refers to a health diagnosis—someone who has a chronic cough with mucous production every day for at least three months, for two years in a row. On the other hand, emphysema is a term that refers to the actual damage to the air sacs in the lung, called the alveoli. Both conditions have similar symptoms and are typically caused by the same thing — smoking. Less common causes include genetic conditions, air pollution, exposure to toxic gases or fumes, and dust. Following are the symptoms they have in common, and how you can tell the difference between these similarities: Keyword: symptoms emphysema chronic bronchitis