Overview Of Lung Disease
The lungs are part of our respiratory system. Along with the trachea, alveoli, bronchi, and diaphragm, they help us breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Lungs can be affected by infection or allergy or may puncture or collapse. Respiratory diseases, or lung diseases, affects men, women, children, smokers, non-smokers, and individuals who have never smoked.
Types of respiratory illness:
Asthma is defined as a common, chronic respiratory condition that causes difficulty breathing due to inflammation of the airways. Asthma symptoms include dry cough, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Usually, asthma starts in childhood years and progresses into adulthood.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is an umbrella term that encompasses several respiratory illnesses that cause breathlessness, or the inability to exhale normally. People usually experience symptoms, including shortness of breath, and normally cough up sputum (mucus from the lungs), especially in the morning.
Chronic bronchitis is a form of COPD emphasized by a chronic cough. Usually, people cough up sputum (mucus from the lungs), especially in the morning. Chronic bronchitis is a form of COPD, it’s treated the same way. People can also develop acute bronchitis, which is not a long-term lung disease but rather an infectious problem. It develops from a viral or bacterial infection and can be treated with antibiotics.
Emphysema is a serious respiratory disease, which is another form of COPD. The most common cause is smoking. Those who suffer from emphysema have trouble exhaling air from their lungs. Cigarette smoke damages the air sacs in the lungs to a point where they can no longer repair themselves. mphysema evolves slowly over the years, and there is no cure; however, those who quit smoking are more likely to see the disease’s progression slow.
With the ability to develop in any part of the lungs, this cancer is difficult to detect. Most often, cancer develops in the main part of the lungs near the air sacs. DNA mutations in the lungs cause irregular cells to multiply and create an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, or a tumor. These tumors interfere with the regular functions of the lungs. Symptoms can take years to appear but include things like chronic coughing, changes in voice, harsh breathing sounds, and coughing up blood.
Cystic Fibrosis/ Bronchiectasis
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic respiratory disease caused by a defective gene that creates thick and sticky mucus that clogs up tubes and passageways. This mucus causes repeat, and dangerous, lung infections, as well as obstructions in the pancreas that prevent important enzymes from breaking down nutrients for the body. Bronchiectasis is a condition in which patients develop abnormally dilated bronchial tubes. This allows mucus to pool, causing frequent respiratory tract infections, wheezing, and shortness of breath. There are other ways bronchiectasis develops besides cystic fibrosis, including other infections,
Pneumonia is a common lung disease caused by an infection in the air sacs in the lungs. The infections can be bacterial, viral, or fungal. Most people can recover in one to three weeks, but for certain people, pneumonia can be extremely serious and even life-threatening. The very young and the very old are more at-risk for pneumonia and complications associated with pneumonia. Patients can be increasingly susceptible to pneumonia, based on their smoking history or just their overall immune status. If they are frail or sickly, they can develop pneumonia more readily than young, healthy, well-nourished people. Symptoms, which include cough, fever, shaking chills, and shortness of breath, can range from mild to severe.
Pleural effusion is a collection of fluid between the lung and the chest wall in what’s called the pleural space. The fluid can collect for a variety of reasons, including pneumonia, cancer, or congestive heart failure. Usually, patients notice symptoms of increasing chest discomfort and shortness of breath. Those with this diagnosis usually undergo a procedure to remove the fluid, which allows the lung to re-expand, allowing the patient to breathe better. Then, the fluid is tested to determine what’s causing it and a treatment plan is formed.
Additional Illness – COVID-19
The illnesses listed above have all withstood the test of time. COVID-19 is new, meaning we’re still learning about it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that belongs to a large family of viruses called coronaviruses. This type of virus infects humans and animals, but this new strain has not been seen in humans before 2019.
Causes Of Lung Disease
Smoking, infections, and genes cause most lung diseases.
Symptoms of Lung Disease and the Need for Early Detection
Symptoms of lung disease include weariness, coughing up mucus, coughing up blood, and chest pain. Often lung disease is diagnosed in its later stages reducing the chance of effective treatment. Early detection can help to fully treat or at the very least, stall the progression of lung disease. The four most common lung conditions include:
1. Individuals with respiratory issues:
- Chronic cough, coughing up phlegm, mucus, and in severe cases blood
- People who easily get weary or tired
- Chest pain, especially when breathing
2. Individuals at high-risk :
- Smokers and drug abusers
- Workers who work in a polluted environment with smoke or chemical gases that may adversely affect the respiratory system
- Workers who work in mines/cement quarries
- Workers in a radioactive environment
- Workers in an industrial environment, where they may come into contact with Asbetos Fiber, such as the car industry
- Individuals who received radiotherapy
- Individuals with a poor immune system
Treatment Of Lung Disease
The treatment you receive depends on the type and severity of the condition. The lung care team will focus on managing symptoms, improving breathing, slowing the progression of scarring and inflammation, and improving blood flow to the lungs.
A typical treatment plan for lung disease includes:
- Prescription or over-the-counter cough suppressants ease symptoms associated with repetitive coughing.
- Bronchodilators open up the blocked airways of the lungs.
- Steroids reduce swelling and inflammation of lung tissue.
- Antibiotics treat respiratory infections, which are often associated with symptom flare-ups.
- Antifibrotics reduce the formation of scar tissue in and around the lungs.
- Blood thinners help prevent the formation of blood clots.
- Vasodilators can help prevent harmful pressure in the arteries of the lungs.
- Oxygen therapy delivers air with a higher percentage of oxygen to the lungs. It may be used continually or as needed.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation includes breath retraining, muscle-strengthening exercises, and nutritional and medication advice.
- A lung transplant may be required in highly advanced cases if symptoms are severe enough, treatments haven’t been successful, and if you meet specific criteria.
- Lifestyle changes can help you manage lung disease. For example:
- Don’t smoke. If you currently smoke, enroll in a program to quit, which can include medications, counseling, behavior modification, and other therapies that can be adjusted to the needs.
- Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, dust, and pollution.
- Prevent illness and infections by getting regular vaccinations (especially for influenza and pneumonia), maintaining good hygiene, and avoiding crowded environments.
- Stay healthy and active. Don’t put off medical checkups or screenings, and exercise regularly (with doctor’s approval).
The most common lung diseases include:
- Collapse of part or all of the lung (pneumothorax or atelectasis)
- Swelling and inflammation in the main passages (bronchial tubes) that carry air to the lungs (bronchitis)
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Lung cancer
- Lung infection (pneumonia)
- Abnormal buildup of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)
- Blocked lung artery (pulmonary embolus)