Another major difference between the symptoms of emphysema and chronic bronchitis is the type of fatigue one can experience. Emphysema and bronchitis can both cause fatigue or tiredness. However, a person with emphysema might appear to be extremely fatigued to the point of not being able to do the tasks or jobs they normally used to do without difficulty.
People suffering from emphysema might also experience developing a blue tinge on their fingernails due to a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. This is uncommon in patients with chronic bronchitis.
Emphysema vs Chronic Bronchitis: Causes
Both of these lung conditions share the same causes such as smoking or constant exposure to irritants (examples include secondhand smoke and fumes). However, they differ in the part of the lungs which they primarily affect. Emphysema primarily affects the alveoli, while chronic bronchitis mainly affects the bronchi.
In patients with emphysema, chronic damage to the air sacs can weaken the walls of the air sacs, causing them to collapse or rupture. This can lead to the lungs producing less oxygen than it did before, resulting in shortness of breath. The damage to the alveoli also significantly affects the quality of oxygen in the lungs.