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Lung disease – Types, Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

LUNG DISEASE

What is lung disease?

Any abnormal condition or disease that stops the lungs from performing properly is referred to as lung disease. Lung disease encloses a wide range of diseases that impair the lungs’ ability to function normally.

Lung Disease

Lung infections, including bacterial, viral and fungal infections, cause a variety of illnesses.

Other lung disorders such as Asthma, mesothelioma and lung cancer are some of the prevalent lung diseases.

Types of lung disease  

Following are the three major types of lung diseases:

Airway diseases  

Airway diseases make it difficult for patients to breathe in and out of the lungs through the airways.

Airways, which are responsible for transferring oxygen and other gases into and out of the lungs, are affected by several disorders that result in airway diseases.

In most cases, the airways are frequently narrowed or blocked due to lung infections. Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis are examples of airway diseases.

Lung tissue diseases  

The lungs have difficulty in diffusing oxygen from the airways into the bloodstream if it is affected by lung tissue diseases.

Due to this condition, the structure of the lung tissue is affected, and the lungs are unable to expand due to scarring or inflammation of the tissue. Hence, the lungs have a hard time taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide.  

As a result of lung tissue diseases, they are unable to take deep breaths. Lung tissue diseases include pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis.

Lung circulation diseases  

The way blood travels from the heart to the rest of the body to give oxygen to the organs and tissues is affected by lung circulation diseases.

The blood arteries in the lungs are also affected by these disorders. Clotting, scarring or inflammation of the blood vessels are the major causes of lung circulation diseases. Pulmonary hypertension is one such example of a lung circulation illness.  

Symptoms of lung diseases

Symptoms of Lung Disease

Trouble breathing  

Breathing trouble occurs due to lung diseases like Asthma, emphysema and Pneumonia. If your heart is unable to pump enough blood to deliver oxygen to your body, you may have breathing trouble and panic attacks.

Shortness of breath  

The difficult sensation of not receiving enough oxygen to breathe is known as shortness of breath. Shortness of breath occurs during walking, climbing stairs, running or even sitting quietly.

Inadequate air

Respiratory failure occurs when the lungs are unable to deliver enough oxygen to the bloodstream. Inadequate oxygen to the lungs results in breathing problems and eventually causes lung diseases in the body.

Decreased ability to exercise  

When you are performing lung exercises, you may experience trouble doing it. This is a vivid example that you may have been affected by lung diseases.

Coughing up blood or mucus  

Hemoptysis is the term defined for coughing up or spitting up blood. If you’re coughing up a lot of blood accompanied by chest pain, then it might be a sign of lung disease.

Pain or discomfort when breathing  

When you breathe, cough or sneeze, you are likely to experience an acute discomfort in the lungs. Bacterial or viral infections, pulmonary embolism, pneumothorax, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and cancer are some of the notable symptoms of lung diseases.

Causes of Lung diseases  

Smoking  

People who smoke are more likely to develop lung diseases, including lung cancer. Apart from lung diseases, they might also get affected by other ailments like heart disease, Stroke and mouth cancer.

COPD, which encompasses emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is one of the lung diseases caused by smoking. Cigarette smoking is responsible for the majority of lung cancer cases.

Radon  

In most cases, lung cancer is caused due to Radon (a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas). Radon exposure is one of the vital causes of lung cancer.

Radon gas breaks down in the air into tiny radioactive elements that can stay in the lining of the lungs and emit radiation. Lung cells can be damaged by this radiation, which can lead to lung cancer.

Asbestos  

Inhaling asbestos fibres causes Asbestosis (a persistent lung illness). Long-term exposure to these fibres can result in scarring of lung tissue and shortness of breath.

Asbestosis symptoms usually don’t show up for years after the original exposure.

Air pollution  

Air pollution can irritate your airways by causing shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks and chest pain.

Lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes are some of the major risks associated with air pollution exposure.

Risk factors of lung diseases  

Tobacco Smoking  

Smoking is the biggest threat to lung infections. If you have the habit of smoking, stop it immediately to prevent lung diseases.

Air pollution  

Air pollution can cause problems like Asthma and also the formation or progression of chronic illnesses such as lung cancer, COPD and emphysema.

Allergens  

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is an allergic reaction that causes swelling and soreness in and around the lungs’ air sacs and airways. Allergies can be triggered by dust, microorganisms or chemicals.

Allergic Asthma is a respiratory condition caused by exposure to antigens in the environment that cause allergic inflammation and intermittent airway blockage in the lungs.

Occupational risks  

Based on the prevalence and severity, Occupational lung diseases are the leading cause of lung diseases. The majority of occupational lung disorders are caused by repetitive and long-term exposure to hazardous agents present in the air.

Treatments of lung diseases  

Bronchodilators  

Bronchodilators are medications that relax the muscles in the lungs and open the airways, making breathing easier. Bronchodilators are used to treat long-term disorders that cause the airways to shrink and inflame.

Inhaled steroids  

Inhaled corticosteroids contain broad anti-inflammatory properties that are widely utilised in the treatment of Asthma and COPD.  

Inhaled corticosteroids enhance lung function and prevent diseases from progressing further.

The risk involved here is that those who use this for long periods of time are more likely to acquire Pneumonia because the medication is inhaled directly into the lungs and may cause few side effects.

Combination inhalers  

Combination inhalers are used for asthma problems which are used as corticosteroid preventers and a long-acting bronchodilator in one device. It also provides long-term relief from symptoms, including dyspnea and chest tightness.

Oral steroids

Oral steroids are synthetic versions of hormones that your body makes naturally. Oral steroids relieve Asthma symptoms by reducing inflammation and soothing affected airways.

Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors  

Phosphodiesterase inhibitors are a type of medicine that causes blood vessels to dilate and smoothes heart and lung muscles. It is also known as a PDE4 inhibitor.

Theophylline  

Theophylline may have a unique effect in the treatment of COPD and decreases inflammation by potentially increasing corticosteroid sensitivity in patients.

Theophylline is used to prevent and cure symptoms like Asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other lung illnesses.

Antibiotics  

Antibiotics are frequently used to treat respiratory illnesses such as cystic fibrosis (CF), non-CF bronchiectasis, Asthma and COPD. Long-term antibiotics can be supplied as nebulised aerosols or taken orally in adverse circumstances.

Prevention of lung diseases  

The following are the ways that prevent you from getting affected by lung diseases:

Don’t Smoke  

Smoking not only causes lung inflammation but also destroys the tiny air sacs called alveoli in the lungs. Lung cancer is also a substantial risk factor for smokers. You’ll increase your chances of developing COPD if you continue to smoke.

Avoid exposure to Indoor pollutants

People should be aware of the air quality and take necessary precautions such as limiting their time outside and wearing masks whenever necessary to reduce the detrimental effects of ambient air pollution.

Minimise exposure to outdoor air pollution  

Staying indoors, avoiding outdoor air infiltration to indoors, purifying indoor air with air filters and limiting physical effort might reduce exposure to ambient air pollution.

Prevent Infection  

  • Toxic odours, gases, smoke and other dangerous substances should be avoided.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with the flu or a cold.
  • Get your flu shot every year.

Get regular Check-ups  

Lung function tests are a group of tests that assess how effectively the lungs are functioning. Spirometry is the simplest basic test that determines how much air the lungs can store. The test also assesses how quickly and strongly one can expel air from the lungs.

Exercise

Lung disease patients should try to exercise on a regular basis. The advantage of lung exercise is your lungs and heart remain stronger, and you feel mentally and physically better.

These workouts can aid in the more efficient functioning of the lungs. The lungs are responsible for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide, which is required for the body’s proper functioning.  

When to see a doctor?  

If you have a persistent cough or breathing difficulties, you need to consult a doctor or a pulmonologist to diagnose and treat lung diseases.

Conclusion

Lung diseases can be bacterial, viral or fungal illnesses. Lung diseases like Pneumonia affect one or both lungs, causing infection in the air sacs. Cough, sputum, fever and chest pain are all symptoms of Pneumonia. Lung infections and diseases can affect anybody, in most cases, elderly people are more susceptible to the disease.

FAQs

1. How do you prevent weak lungs?  

1 · Stop smoking
2 · Strive to inhale more deeply
3 · Pollution should be avoided at all costs
4. Infections should be avoided

2. Which food is good for the lungs?  

1 · Garlic
2 · Water
3 · Peppers
4 · Apples
5 · Pumpkin
6 · Turmeric
7 · Tomato and tomato products
8 · Blueberries
9 · Green tea
 

3. What are the most serious lung diseases?

1 · Pulmonary edema
2 · Pneumonia
3 · Lung cancer
4 · Emphysema
5 · Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
6 · Bronchitis
7 · Atelectasis  
8 · Asthma

4.  What are the first signs of lung problems?  

1 · Long-term chest pain
2 · Excessive mucus production
3 · Wheezing
4 · Persistent coughing
5 · Swelling or pain, tenderness in legs
6 · Feeling constantly exhausted
7 · Coughing-up blood
8 · Shortness of breath
9 · Weight loss
10 ·Persistent respiratory infections

5. Can lung disease be cured?  

Lung diseases like Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have no cure, but medication can help slow the disease’s progression and symptoms.

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