Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue and a reduced capacity for physical activity, which get worse as the disease progresses. Eventually, sufferers have trouble breathing when relaxing, and especially during colds, flu or other respiratory infections.
Oddly, coughing is not common with the disease, but when it does arise, the cough is unproductive. A chronic productive cough may be a sign of bronchitis.
Sufferers of emphysema also experience a loss of appetite and marked weight loss. Because of labored breathing, eating becomes more difficult and can make breathing even more laborious. The expansion of the stomach caused by eating can push on the diaphragm, compressing the lungs even further.