EmphysemaBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/medical/IM04560
In emphysema, inflammation and other processes damage the fibers around the walls of the airways and the alveoli, causing them to lose their natural elasticity and to collapse too much. This also causes destruction of the walls of the alveoli, creating relatively few large air spaces instead of many small ones. This reduces the surface area available for gas exchange.