The damage done to the airways in the lungs by emphysema is permanent and is not reversible. However, with regular medical care and consistent patient compliance with treatments and lifestyle changes, the symptoms of emphysema can be controlled and progression of the disease can be slowed. The key treatment and prevention of emphysema is to quit smoking. It is also important to eliminate or minimize exposure to potential lung irritants that can lead to or worsen emphysema. These include air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust. Following manufacturer's directions for the safe use of chemicals, including wearing appropriate masks, is vital. Emphysema is also treated with medications, including bronchodilators and corticosteroids, which are inhaled into the lungs using a device called an inhaler. Bronchodilators help to relax and open up the lower airways in the lungs and corticosteroids reduce airway inflammation. Moderate to severe emphysema, which results in low levels of oxygen in your blood, may also be treated with oxygen therapy, in which extra oxygen is administered through nasal prongs or a mask. Pulmonary rehabilitation is another form of treatment. It can involve a medically supervised exercise program, disease management training, and nutritional and psychological counselling to help improve overall health and quality of life. It is also vital to prevent common diseases that can seriously complicate emphysema and become life threatening. These include influenza and pneumonia , which may be prevented with vaccines or treated with antibiotics.
Q. can you ever get better from emphysema? A. Emphysema is a chronic state where the lungs pathologically expand and cause them to lose their compliance during breathing. This is not a reversible state, and usually the lung pathological changes will continue to deteriorate if the lungs are exposed to the same pathogens that caused the initial damage (for example- smoking). However, smoking cessation is known to have benefitial results in slowing down the progress of lung disability and somewhat reversing part of the damage by regression of the inflammatory processes that are related to the emphysema.
Genetics play a role in the development of COPD.  It is more common among relatives of those with COPD who smoke than unrelated smokers.  Currently, the only clearly inherited risk factor is alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency (AAT).  This risk is particularly high if someone deficient in alpha 1-antitrypsin also smokes.  It is responsible for about 1–5% of cases   and the condition is present in about 3–4 in 10,000 people.  Other genetic factors are being investigated,  of which there are likely to be many.