What is a Lung Disease?
Lung diseases are a few of the most common respiratory conditions in the world. It refers to disorders that affect the lungs, and other organs that enable us to breathe. Most breathing problems are caused by lung diseases and may prevent the body from getting the adequate amount of oxygen. A few examples of this include asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, influenza, pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer, and more. There are three main types of lung diseases. They are:
- Airway Diseases: These affect the tubes or airways that carry oxygen and other gases into and outside the lungs. They often cause a narrowing or a blockage of the airways and include diseases like asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and more.
- Lung Tissue Diseases: These affect the structures of the lung tissue. Inflammation or scarring of the tissue makes it difficult for the lungs to expand fully. Thus, making it tough for the lungs to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. As a result, people who have lung tissue diseases can’t breathe properly. A few examples of this include the sarcoidosis and pulmonary fibrosis.
- Lung Circulation Diseases: These affect the blood vessels in the lungs and are caused due to clotting, inflammation or scarring of the blood vessels. They affect the lung's ability to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. In some cases, it may also affect the functions of the heart. Pulmonary hypertension is an example of a lung circulation disease.
However, it is essential to know that most lung diseases involve a combination of these types.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Lung Disease?
A cough or wheezing may barely register during our busy days. However, it is crucial to pay attention to even the mildest symptoms. Very often people think that having difficulty in breathing is just something that comes with age. It is necessary to pay attention to such symptoms as they could be the first signs of a lung disease. Knowing the early signs of the disease can help you prepare for yourself and receive better treatment before the disease becomes critical or life-threatening. Here below are a few warning signs that you must be aware of, to detect the possibility of a lung disease.
- Wheezing: Wheezing, also known as noisy breathing is a sign that something is blocking the airways of your lungs, making them narrow. Thus, causing you to wheeze.
- Chronic Mucus Production: Sputum, commonly called mucus or phlegm is produced by the airways as a defence against the infections or irritants. If the production of your mucus has lasted for over a month, it could be an indication of a lung disease.
- Shortness of Breath: It is not normal to experience shortness of breath that does not go away post a workout session or after you have exerted a little. Difficult or laboured breathing can be one of the warning signs of a respiratory disease.
- Coughing Up Blood: If you are coughing blood, it may be coming from your upper respiratory tract or lungs. Wherever it is coming from, it is a sign of a serious health problem.
What causes a Lung Disease?
The reasons for all lung disease are yet unknown. However, a few of the causes include:
- Smoking: The smoke from cigars, cigarettes or pipes is one of the leading causes of lung diseases. Therefore, if you are a smoker, it is essential that you quit smoking. It is also advisable to avoid second-hand smoke as it is extremely harmful to all babies, children and even adults.
- Asbestos: A natural mineral fibre, asbestos is one that is used in fireproofing materials, car brakes, insulation, and other products. It can give off small fibres that are sometimes tiny and can be inhaled. Besides, it also harms the lung cells and causes lung scarring or lung cancer.
- Radon: This is a colourless and odourless gas that is present in many homes and is a known cause of lung cancer. Most kits that are bought from hardware stores often have radon present in them.
How to Treat a Lung Disease?
If you have been experiencing the above symptoms for a long time now, it is highly advisable to consult a doctor immediately. There are numerous lung disease treatments, depending on the type of lung disease diagnosed. Here below are a few treatment options for lung diseases.
- COPD and asthma patients may most likely require inhalers or bronchodilators that could help relieve the symptoms, opening the airways.
- Patients who experience shortness of breath are treated with oxygen therapy, where the prescribed levels of oxygen are delivered through a mask.
- Corticosteroids are sometimes given to reduce inflammation and swelling of the lung tissues.
- In critical cases of a lung disease, thoracic surgical interventions are used, in which the lung volume or the expansion and contraction of the diaphragm can be improved for better functioning of the lungs.
- Lung transplant is the last option for those with the end stage of a lung disease. However, it is also essential to adopt additional measured like lifestyle management, and more that not only help protect the functioning of the lungs but also prevent the disease.
We, at Apollo Clinic, offer our you few of the best services and treatment options for various conditions, one of them being lung diseases. With a team of few of the best pulmonologists in the country, we aim at providing you with the best medical solution for all your respiratory health conditions. Promising to help you live with positivity, we ensure you lead a healthy and happy life.