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Lung Disease


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Lung diseases refer to a wide array of lung disorders that occur in the air passages, tissues or blood vessels of the lungs. Since the lungs are involved in respiration, an individual with lung disease is most likely to experience breathing difficulty. We shall analyse this subject over here...

What causes lung disease?

  • Blockage or narrowing of the airways (trachea)
  • Infection (bacterial and viral) or inflammation in airways
  • Inflammation of lung tissue and air sacs (alveoli)
  • Allergy in the airways
  • Clotting of blood inside the blood vessels of lungs
  • Inflammation to blood circulation in lungs


Symptoms of lung disease

  • Long term coughing
  • Chronic production of mucus
  • Blood in cough or mucus


Different types of lung diseases

Asthma: The walls of the bronchial tubes become inflamed, swollen and overly sensitive to certain triggers like pollen, dust, smoke, smell, mites, chemical sprays, pollutants, pet dander, etc. An individual suffers from breathing problem due to narrowing of the airways.

Cystic fibrosis: It’s a genetic lung disease, characterized by presence of thick and sticky mucus inside the lungs which block the airways. This leads to severe shortness of breath and causes lung damage.

Emphysema: It is mainly caused from smoking cigarettes. It’s a type of COPD wherein the alveoli are damaged which makes breathing, especially exhalation difficult. Chronic cough is also one of the symptoms of COPD. 

Bronchitis and bronchiolitis: Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial tubes (the major air passages of lungs) by bacteria and viruses. It could be chronic or acute while bronchiolitis is inflammation of the bronchioles, which are the small airways in the lungs.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): In this condition chronic obstructive bronchitis and emphysema occur together.

Pulmonary fibrosis: The tissues of the lungs become scarred, thick and stiff which affects a person’s ability to breathe normally. In case of idiopathic PF, the cause is unknown. Otherwise it could result from Wegener’s syndrome, exposure to environmental gases, asbestos, radiation therapy and autoimmune diseases as well.

Tuberculosis: One of the most common lung diseases is tuberculosis, caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It’s an airborne disease that affects the lungs. The characteristic symptoms are persistent cough, pneumonia, weight loss, and coughing up blood.

Pneumonia: Infection of the lungs caused by bacteria or virus. It usually follows cold or flu and acquiring pneumonia, the individual faces hard time in breathing. It could be chronic.

Pulmonary Sarcoidosis: It usually begins in the lungs wherein the alveoli, bronchioles and the lymph nodes are inflamed. The lungs become stiff and are incapable of holding enough air.  Lung tissues get scarred and the individual suffers from chronic cough and shortness of breath.

Pulmonary edema: The lungs swell up as the alveoli gets filled up with fluid leaking out from mail bloodstream. The individual faces difficulty in breathing and it could be acute. Pulmonary edema can result from pneumonia, heart problems, etc.

Acute respiratory distress syndrome: ARDS results from accumulation of fluid inside the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. The lungs are incapable of taking in enough oxygen as a result of which other organs of the body are deprived of oxygen needed for normal functioning.

Lung cancer: It could be small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). The staging would determine the spread and severity of the cancer, depending upon which the treatment is decided.


Diagnosis and Treatment of Lung Diseases

Diagnostic tests for lung diseases involve lung function tests like spirometry, bronchoscopy, chest x ray, MRI, CT scan, thoracentesis, swab test, lung biopsy etc.

The treatment is determined on the basis of diagnostic reports and medical severity of the disease.

Written by: healthplus24.com, team
Date last updated: February 12, 2014

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