7 lung diseases that could affect you

Lung diseases

Your lungs are two spongy organs in your chest that expand and contract up to 20 times a minute to supply oxygen. This oxygen is  distributed to tissues all over the body and expel carbon dioxide that has been created throughout the body.

Classification of lung diseases 

  • Airway diseases that target the tubes that carry oxygen to the lungs.
  • Lung circulation diseases which are caused by clotting, inflammation, and scarring of the blood vessels in the lungs.
  • Diseases of the lung tissues which makes it hard for the organ to absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide.

1. Pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism is the sudden blockage of a major blood vessel (artery) in the lung, usually by a blood clot. In most cases, the clots are small and are not deadly, but they can damage the lung. But if the clot is large and stops blood flow to the lung, it can be deadly.

In most cases, pulmonary embolism is caused by a blood clot in the leg that breaks loose and travels to the lungs. A blood clot in a vein close to the skin is not likely to cause problems. But having blood clots in deep veins (deep vein thrombosis) can lead to pulmonary embolism.

Other things can block an artery, such as tumours, air bubbles, amniotic fluid, or fat that is released into the blood vessels when a bone is broken. However, these are rare.

2. Asthma

A condition in which your airways become inflamed, narrow, swell and produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe.

The typical symptoms are wheezing, cough, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

3. Chronic Bronchitis

A condition caused by inflammation of the lining of bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the lungs. This leads to coughing and difficulty breathing.

It is characterized by a cough with mucus that persists for most days of the month, for at least three months, and at least two years in a row.

Cigarette smoking is the most common cause although breathing in polluted air, fumes, or dust over a long period of time may also cause it.

4. Emphysema

This is a condition that involves gradual damage of lung tissue, specifically thinning and destruction of the alveoli or air sacs.

The air sacs weaken and eventually break, which reduces the surface area of the lungs and the amount of oxygen that can reach the bloodstream.

This results in a chronic cough and also causes your lungs to lose their elasticity which leads to difficulty in breathing. It is mainly caused by smoking but it can also be genetic

5. Lung Cancer

Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma, is a malignant lung tumour characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung.

This growth can spread beyond the lung to nearby tissue or other parts of the body. Causes of lung cancer include smoking, second-hand smoke, exposure to certain toxins and family history.

6. Pneumonia

This is an infection that inflames air sacs in one or both lungs, which may fill with fluid or pus. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

Both viral and bacterial pneumonia can spread to others through inhalation of airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough. But while you can become infected with fungal pneumonia from the environment, it doesn’t spread from person to person.

Bacterial pneumonia is the most common type in adults. Symptoms include some combination of productive or dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing.

Children below 2 years and people aged above 65 are more prone to contracting pneumonia.

7. Pleural Effusion

This is the build-up of fluid between the tissues that line the lungs and the chest. Fluid can accumulate around the lungs due to poor pumping by the heart or by inflammation.

This excess fluid can impair breathing by limiting the expansion of the lungs. Symptoms include coughing, sharp chest pain or shortness of breath.


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