Health A-Z

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Prognosis

There is no cure for emphysema. But the condition can be controlled.

People with mild emphysema who quit smoking have a normal life expectancy. Those who adopt good health habits can enjoy a fairly normal lifestyle for a long time. Even people whose emphysema is severe have a good chance of surviving for five years or more.

In people with emphysema who continue to smoke, smoking dramatically increases the severity of the illness. It may reduce life span by 10 years or more.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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