Most Common Lung Diseases and Infections
Lung diseases include a wide range of illnesses or conditions that impair the ability of the lungs to function normally. Our lungs are a crucial component of our body. It’s a network of airways and sacs that expand and contract countless times daily to exchange gases that keep us alive.
In lung diseases, pulmonary and respiratory functions are often most affected. Any problem that occurs with any of these parts somehow ends up damaging the entire system. Some of these conditions occur because of microbes, viruses, or fungal infections, while others are caused by inhaling harmful substances. Here are some common lung diseases.
Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide. In the US, more than 130,000 people die of lung cancer each year. Excessive smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer, and often the disease takes months or even years to manifest itself. Therefore, it’s best to visit a doctor for regular checkups if you’re a regular smoker.
However, not all lung cancers are caused by tobacco-related products and breathing poor quality air. Inhaling asbestos fibers can also cause a rare and fatal form of these disease called mesothelioma. Mostly construction workers and army veterans are at risk of developing this disease. So if you’ve served in either field, visit mesotheliomahope.com to get more info on signs, symptoms, treatments, and funding options.
Asthma is a long-lasting inflammatory condition that makes breathing difficult when the airways are constrained by swelling or obstructed by mucus. The condition typically first manifests in childhood, although it can emerge later. It is relatively more common in people with respiratory allergies, severe childhood respiratory illness, or a family history of asthma. Some symptoms include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Chest discomfort or stiffness
- Wheezing (in children)
- Excessive coughing
However, the severity of the ailment may differ, and hence the symptoms might vary among patients. Most people use daily preventive medicine to manage symptoms and lead active healthy lives. But if left untreated, the condition can be fatal.
In cystic fibrosis, the cells that make mucus are affected. Normally, these produced fluids are slick and thin. However, a faulty gene in CF patients makes the secretions thick and sticky. The secretions clog up tubes, ducts, and passages instead of lubricating them, particularly in the pancreas and lungs. In the long run, it can result in breathing issues. The illness can affect multiple organs as well. It typically results in specific lung issues, such as obstructions from excess mucus that catch harmful bacteria and cause infections.
Depending on how severe the condition is, there are different symptoms of cystic fibrosis. These include:
- Long-lasting coughing up sputum)
- Intolerance to exercise
- Lung infections repeatedly
- Inflamed nasal passages
- Chronic sinusitis
As time goes on, these symptoms can get better or worse, even in the same person. Some people might not start showing symptoms until they are teenagers or adults. It is best to seek immediate help in the case of this disease.
In bronchitis, the bronchial tube becomes irritated or inflamed. The membrane of the respiratory tube may produce excessive amounts of mucus to cover the area, which results in inflammation. All this makes breathing a very arduous task to carry out.
You can have acute or chronic bronchitis, but the two variants differ significantly. Symptoms include headaches, runny nose, throat pain, and fatigue. They occasionally continue for a very long time. If the symptoms persist for at least three months, it becomes chronic bronchitis.
Although there is no known treatment for chronic bronchitis, there are still several drugs that can aid with symptom relief. To prevent your symptoms from aggravating, it’s crucial to stay away from smoking and smoke-filled areas, as the smoke particles only make it worse.
Emphysema is a kind of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that develops when the lungs’ capillary sacs (alveoli) become less elastic. The function of these alveoli is to expand, contract, and stretch, allowing air to flow into or out of them. If you have emphysema, your lungs’ ability to transfer oxygen from the air you inhale into your blood diminishes air sacs sustain damage and eventually die off.
Emphysema has no apparent symptoms other than breathlessness and often develops gradually. However, it can be present for many years without showing any signs. Some causes of emphysema can be:
- Cigarette smoke
- Air toxicity
- Dust and chemical fumes
It can begin after prolonged exposure to other contaminants and chemicals, in addition to smoking, which is one of the main contributors. Additionally, emphysema risk factors include age and obesity as well.
Pulmonary hypertension is when the blood vessels connecting the heart and lungs are under too much pressure. It causes arteries in the lungs to build more muscle on their inner walls, become rigid, and restrict flow. Simply put, pulmonary hypertension is increased blood pressure in the lungs. Pulmonary hypertension only affects the blood vessels between your heart and lungs, compared to typical high blood pressure, which impacts all the blood vessels in your body.
In the early stages of the disease, pulmonary hypertension shares symptoms with other illnesses, for instance, breathing issues and fatigue. It sometimes delays diagnosis until the onset of more serious symptoms, such as faintness, chest pain, ankle swelling, or palpitations.
Numerous environmental factors and lifestyle choices have an impact on our health. Since these have a profound impact on lung health, being aware will help us take steps to avoid anything that might have a long-term negative impact on your well-being. So visit your general physician for regular checkups every year to keep risks at bay.