Ask a Doctor
My grandpa worked at a concrete plant all his life and was never a cigarette smoker. Even though he didn’t use tobacco, his doctor just diagnosed him with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – emphysema, specifically – after a month of coughing fits that never got better. I though you could only get emphysema from smoking. Is it possible my grandpa’s case is work-related? How do you get emphysema?
Some people have a rare form of COPD called alpha-1 deficiency-related emphysema, which is caused by a genetic condition that affects the body's ability to produce a protein that protects the lungs.