Are you asking what your life expectancy is with emphysema, or whether it will go away with time?
I agree with the others, there's no cure as far as I know. But you can have some control over it. As was already mentioned, stopping smoking will make a difference. If it isn't too bad yet, and you quit smoking, you'll probably see at least some improvement, and you shouldn't get worse. There are some really good inhaled and oral medications out there that can keep your lungs open so you can breathe more easily. If you have bad spells, there are treatments that help move secretions out of your lungs, too.
So, it won't go away, but it can improve. A lot of people live a long time with emphysema. Take the best care of yourself that you can, and you may have many, many good years ahead of you.
My FIL lived 3 years longer than his respiratory physician ever dreamed of because he educated himself constantly and was diligent in medications, exercise and anything else .. physio, OT.. you name it.
It depends how bad you are *NOW* of course ... if your on 24/7 oxygen therapy, then you can, through education & self management give yourself your best options available. Go to the hospital when you feel an exacerbation coming on. Don't wait until your 'bad' because that takes longer to 'recover'. Every admission to hospital however, marks another deterioration.
I wish you luck. This is a horrible disease. I nursed my FIL for 2 years and my last picture of him was on A BPAP (sp?) machine ......
Breath in through your nose, and out through pursed lip (helps get rid of CO2 build up). You will not be able to process o2 normally and can build up CO2, so you need to get rid of it ASAP.
Back rubs with moisturiser & peppermint oil help breathing and is good for night\time relaxation. Sleep in a semi sitting up position ....... keep medications close at hand. Get an Oxymeter so you know your O2 level and can act appropriately if it drops ...
avoid Humidity (makes you feel worse)
Continue exercise (mild to moderate).
I think you can live a normal lifespan with emphysema depending on how bad you have it and as long as you quit smoking or doing things that cause it. Percentage wise, everyone loses lung capacity as they age. People with emphysema seem to lose it faster on a percentage basis because they have less capacity to start with. I have a bit in both lungs and I don't plan on checking out any time soon.
As someone said it depends at what stage you are diagnosed. I was diagnosed over 20 years ago but I am not on O2 yet and stupidly smoked for most of those years. Not now. I am 71. I know people that have been on O2 for years that are still active and leading a good life. If you can get pulmonary rehab go for it as it will keep you in shape and allow your body to use O2 more efficiently. See a good pulmonologist and listen and question. The more you know the better you will be and probably a lot longer. You will probably die from something else.