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Common Types Of Lung Diseases
July 12, 2019
What is Lung Disease?
Lung diseases are some of the most common medical conditions in the world. Smoking, infections, and genetics are responsible for most lung diseases.
The lungs are part of a complex apparatus, expanding and relaxing thousands of times each day to bring in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Lung disease can result from problems in any part of this system.
Types of Lung Disease
The common cold is a viral infection of your nose and throat (upper respiratory tract). It’s usually harmless, although it might not feel that way. Many types of viruses can cause a common cold.
Children younger than 6 are at greatest risk of colds, but healthy adults can also expect to have two or three colds annually.
Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Microorganisms grow and thrive in the lungs, creating difficult symptoms. The air sacs become inflamed and may fill up with fluid, which disrupts the flow of oxygen. Most of t
Asthma is one of the most common types of chronic lung disease. When triggered, your lungs become swollen and narrow, making it harder to breathe. Symptoms include:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease in which your lungs become inflamed, making breathing more difficult. The inflammation leads to an overproduction of mucus and a thickening of the lining of your lungs. The air sacs, or alveoli, become less efficient at bringing oxygen in and sending carbon dioxide out.
People with COPD typically have one or both of the following conditions:
Emphysema: This disease damages the air sacs in your lungs. When healthy, the air sacs are strong and flexible. Emphysema weakens them and eventually causes some to rupture.
Chronic bronchitis: You may have experienced bronchitis when you had a cold or sinus infection. Chronic bronchitis is more serious, as it never goes away. It causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes in your lungs. This increases mucus production.
Lung cancer is a disease in which the cells in your lungs grow abnormally, gradually developing tumors. As the tumors get bigger and more numerous, they can make it more difficult for your lungs to do their job. Eventually, the cancerous cells can spread to other areas of your body.
Pulmonary hypertension is simply high blood pressure in your lungs. Unlike regular high blood pressure, which affects all the blood vessels in your body, pulmonary hypertension affects only those blood vessels between your heart and lungs.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited lung disease that affects newborn children. It changes the makeup of mucus in the body. Instead of being slippery and watery, mucus in a person with cystic fibrosis is thick, sticky, and excessive.
This thick mucus can build up in your lungs and make it more difficult to breathe. With so much of it around, bacteria grow more easily, increasing risk of lung infections.
Symptoms of Lung Disease
Chronic cough: A cough that you have had for a month or longer is considered chronic. This is an important early symptom that tells you something is wrong with your respiratory system.
Shortness of breath: It’s not normal to experience shortness of breath that doesn’t go away after exercising, or that you have after little or no exertion. Labored or difficult breathing—the feeling that it is hard to breathe in out—is also a warning sign.
Chronic mucus production: Mucus, also called sputum or phlegm, is produced by the airways as a defense against infections or irritants. If your mucus production has lasted a month or longer, this could indicate lung disease.
Wheezing: Noisy breathing or wheezing is a sign that something unusual is blocking your lungs’ airways or making them too narrow.
Coughing up blood: If you are coughing up blood, it may be coming from your lungs or upper respiratory tract. Wherever it’s coming from, it signals a health problem.
Chronic chest pain: Unexplained chest pain that lasts for a month or more—especially if it gets worse when you breathe in or cough—also is a warning sign.
To increase your odds of avoiding chronic lung disease, consider these tips:
– Don’t smoke, or quit smoking. Avoid secondhand smoke.
– Try to reduce your exposure to pollutants in the environment, at work, and in your home.
– Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate is best.
– Eat a nutritious diet.
– Get regular checkups with your doctor.
– Be sure to get a flu shot every year, and after you turn 65, get a pneumonia shot.
– If you’re at risk for lung cancer, ask your doctor about screening options.
– Test your home for radon gas.
– Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, and stay away from individuals who are sick.
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