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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Why does emphysema affect my diaphragm?

07/01/2008

Question:

I just found out today that I have early onset emphysema. One of the ways my Dr. could tell that I have it was his seeing on the x-rays that my diaphragm is flat on the top, and doesn`t look like a healthy diaphragm. He showed it to me, and it clearly looks different. I`m trying to see how that connects with a lung disease in early stages. Can you tell my why that happens?

Answer:

The diaphragm can become flattened because of increased air-trapping, which can happen in emphysema. In emphysema the lungs can start to lose their elasticity, making it harder to get all of the air out of the lungs.  The extra air in the chest pushes down on the diaphragm, making it somewhat flat. 

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Response by:

Mahasti   Rittinger, RRT Mahasti Rittinger, RRT
Clinical Program Manager of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University