PULMONARY DISEASES

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Warning Signs for Pulmonary Disease

Chronic cough

A cough that you have had for a month or longer is considered chronic. This is an important early symptom that tells you something is wrong with your respiratory system.

Shortness of breath

It’s not normal to experience shortness of breath that doesn’t go away after exercising, or that you have after little or no exertion. Laboured or difficult breathing-the feeling that it is hard to breathe in out-is also a warning sign.

Chronic mucus production

Mucus, also called sputum or phlegm, is produced by the airways as a defence against infections or irritants. If your mucus production has lasted a month or longer, this could indicate lung disease.

Wheezing

Noisy breathing or wheezing is a sign that something unusual is blocking your lungs’ airways or making them too narrow.

Coughing up blood

If you are coughing up blood, it may be coming from your lungs or upper respiratory tract. Wherever it’s coming from, it signals a health problem.

Chronic chest pain

Unexplained chest pain that lasts for a month or more-especially if it gets worse when you breathe in or cough-also is a warning sign.   Lung diseases are some of the most common medical conditions in the world. Tens of millions of people suffer from lung disease in the U.S. Smoking, infections, and genetics are responsible for most lung diseases. The lungs are part of a complex apparatus, expanding and relaxing thousands of times each day to bring in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Lung disease can result from problems in any part of this system.

Lung Diseases Affecting the Airways

The trachea (windpipe) branches into tubes called bronchi, which in turn branch to become progressively smaller tubes throughout the lungs. Diseases that affect the airways include : Lung Diseases Affecting the Air Sacs (Alveoli) The airways eventually branch into tiny tubes (bronchioles) that dead-end into clusters of air sacs called.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lung. It can be caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Pneumonia causes inflammation in your lung’s air sacs, or alveoli. The alveoli fill with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe.

Tuberculosis

A slowly progressive pneumonia caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. People infected with TB bacteria have a lifetime risk of falling ill with TB of 10%. However persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill. When a person develops active TB (disease), the symptoms (cough, fever, night sweats, weight loss etc.) may be mild for many months. This can lead to delays in seeking care, and results in transmission of the bacteria to others. People ill with TB can infect up to 10-15 other people through close contact over the course of a year. Without proper treatment up to two thirds of people ill with TB will die.

Pulmonary edema

Fluid leaks out of the small blood vessels of the lung into the air sacs and the surrounding area. One form is caused by heart failure and back pressure in the lungs’ blood vessels; in another form, direct injury to the lung causes the leak of fluid. Lung cancer has many forms, and may develop in any part of the lungs. Most often this is in the main part of the lung, in or near the air sacs. The type, location, and spread of lung cancer determines the treatment options. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS): Severe, sudden injury to the lungs caused by a serious illness. Life support with mechanical ventilation is usually needed to survive until the lungs recover.

Pneumoconiosis

A category of conditions caused by the inhalation of a substance that injures the lungs. Examples include black lung disease from inhaled coal dust and asbestosis from inhaled asbestos dust.

Asthma

The airways are persistently inflamed, and may occasionally spasm, causing wheezing and shortness of breath. Allergies, infections, or pollution can trigger asthma’s symptoms. Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to come in and out of the lungs. If you have asthma your airways are always inflamed. They become even more swollen and the muscles around the airways can tighten when something triggers your symptoms. This makes it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness. For many asthma sufferers, timing of these symptoms is closely related to physical activity. And, some otherwise healthy people can develop asthma symptoms only when exercising. This is called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), or exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Staying active is an important way to stay healthy, so asthma shouldn’t keep you on the side-lines. Your physician can develop a management plan to keep your symptoms under control before, during and after physical activity. People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more prone to developing asthma. Many people with asthma also have allergies. This is called allergic asthma.

Occupational asthma is caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust or other potentially harmful substances while on the job.

Childhood asthma

impacts millions of children and their families. In fact, the majority of children who develop asthma do so before the age of five. There is no cure for asthma, but once it is properly diagnosed and a treatment plan is in place you will be able to manage your condition, and your quality of life will improve.

allergist / immunologist

The best qualified physician in diagnosing and treating asthma. With the help of your allergist, you can take control of your condition and participate in normal activities. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Lung conditions defined by an inability to exhale normally, which causes difficulty breathing.

COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. This disease is characterized by increasing breathlessness. Many people mistake their increased breathlessness and coughing as a normal part of aging. In the early stages of the disease, you may not notice the symptoms. COPD can develop for years without noticeable shortness of breath. You begin to see the symptoms in the more developed stages of the disease. That’s why it is important that you talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. Ask your doctor about taking a spirometry

    Signs and symptoms of COPD

  • Increased breathlessness
  • Frequent coughing (with and without sputum)
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest

Risk factors and common causes of COPD Most cases of COPD are caused by inhaling pollutants; that includes smoking (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, etc.), and second-hand smoke. Fumes, chemicals and dust found in many work environments are contributing factors for many individuals who develop COPD. Genetics can also play a role in an individual’s development of COPD-even if the person has never smoked or has ever been exposed to strong lung irritants in the workplace.

Smoking

COPD most often occurs in people 40 years of age and older who have a history of smoking. These may be individuals who are current or former smokers. While not everybody who smokes gets COPD, most of the individuals who have COPD (about 90% of them) have smoked.

Environmental Factors

COPD can also occur in those who have had long-term contact with harmful pollutants in the workplace. Some of these harmful lung irritants include certain chemicals, dust, or fumes. Heavy or long-term contact with second-hand smoke or other lung irritants in the home, such as organic cooking fuel, may also cause COPD.

Chronic bronchitis

A form of COPD characterized by a chronic productive cough.

Emphysema

Lung damage allows air to be trapped in the lungs in this form of COPD. Difficulty blowing air out is its hallmark.

Acute bronchitis

A sudden infection of the airways, usually by a virus.

Cystic fibrosis

A genetic condition causing poor clearance of mucus from the bronchi. The accumulated mucus results in repeated lung infections.

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