Lung Diseases

Bronchitis nebulization

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of lung diseases

Lung diseases also referred to as respiratory tract diseases are one of the leading causes of death across the globe. A recent survey conducted by the WHO (World Health Organization) revealed that more than 3 million deaths (that roughly makes up 6% of all global deaths) are caused due to COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It also suggested that 90% of all deaths caused as a result of respiratory disorder occur in low and middle-income countries. The report further stated that globally there are over 235 million patients of asthma (a common childhood respiratory condition)

Respiratory tract infections are very common in low and middle-income countries since these regions have poor health and hygiene conditions that predispose the inhabitants to severe pulmonary disorders. “Lung diseases” are particularly common in tropical and temperate regions of the world that have a favorable climate for sustaining disease-causing pathogens. People belonging to all age groups, ethnic groups, and genders are equally susceptible to lung diseases. When left unattended for a long time, lung diseases may lead to lung cancers. Based on the estimates of the American Cancer Society, 158,080 deaths occurred in the year 2016 due to lung cancers. Therefore adequate measures are necessary for the prevention of lung diseases throughout the world.

What are lung diseases?

Bronchitis medicines“Lung diseases” is a collective term for different kinds of lung infections that are triggered by microbial agents.

Unhealthy lifestyle practices worsen these diseases. In any kind of lung disease, one or both the lungs may develop infections. This disrupts the lung functions.

This leads to the deficiency of oxygen and an increase in carbon-dioxide levels in the body.

Patients who suffer from lung diseases often have an obstruction in the bronchi or accumulation of fluid in lungs. In either case, the person suffers from acute breathlessness, cough, and other symptoms.

What causes lung diseases?

Viral or bacterial pathogens are the primary mediators of lung diseases. But there can be other contributing factors in addition to these. The common etiological factors are as follows-

  • Viral infections: Viral pathogens like Influenza virus (Influenza A or B), Adenovirus, Rhinovirus or Parainfluenza virus can cause lung diseases.
  • Bacterial infections: Several bacterial agents are responsible for lung diseases. These include but are not limited to- Chlamydia pneumoniae, Bordetella pertussis or Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Bacterial infections occur as secondary infections.
  • Fungal infections: Fungal pathogens present in debris or soil can lead to different types of lung infections in immunocompromised people.
  • Allergens: Several allergens such as pollen grains, sea-foods, animal dander or dust can lead to irritation of the respiratory tract. This can give rise to lung diseases.
  • Smoking: Lung diseases are common in both active and passive smokers. Regular smokers develop a type of lung disease called emphysema. Here the lung alveoli dilate and suffer severe damage. 42% of active smokers develop lung diseases at some point in time.
  • Environment: Residents of industrial areas come in direct contact with industrial emissions, vehicular pollutants and particulate matter throughout the year. This can cause lung diseases that arise from bronchial spasms.
  • Existing diseases: Gastric reflux diseases, seizures or strokes can transfer huge volumes of food and gastric juices to the lungs. This may lead to lung diseases. Such instances are rare.
  • Foreign materials: Presence of any kind of foreign material (irritant) within the respiratory tract can lead to lung diseases. This may resolve if the particle is removed.
  • Toxicity: Different metals like cadmium, lead, and asbestos can lead to serious lung diseases. People who are exposed to asbestos (Eg: factory workers) have high risks of developing a particular type of lung cancer. This is known as “mesothelioma”.
  • Radiations: Exposure to different types of harmful radiations in the course of radiotherapies (for the treatment of other diseases) can contribute to lung cancer.
  • Genetics: People who have a family history of lung diseases are at higher risks of developing similar infections. The genes which are primarily responsible for these types of infections are- LKB1, EGFR, MET and KRAS.

 What are the common warning signs?

Bronchitis babyLung diseases can be easily identified by the following symptoms-

  • A persistent cough (productive or non-productive)
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Difficulty breathing (due to partial obstruction of the respiratory tract)
  • Pain in the chest during breathing, coughing, and sneezing
  • The feeling of tightness in the chest
  • High fever and headache
  • Body pain and occasional chills
  • Production of blood-tinged sputum
  • Pain in the diaphragm region radiating to the abdomen
  • Increased heart rate
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Generation of wheezing sound during breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Disturbed mental state

What are the different types of lung diseases?

Lung diseases are usually categorized into the following types-

  • Asthma: Asthma is a type of obstructive lung disease caused due to increased sensitivity of the respiratory tract to various triggers or allergens. Acute inflammation of the lungs and bronchioles may be observed in this disease.
  • Bronchiectasis: This disease is characterized by excessive stretching and weakening of the respiratory passage caused by an accumulation of excess mucus. Bacterial infection may occur at a later stage that can worsen the existing conditions.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): It encompasses two types of diseases- bronchitis and emphysema. Bronchitis is characterized by severe inflammation of the bronchi and bronchioles. The bronchial tubes become narrowed due to an accumulation of excess mucus. In emphysema, degeneration of the lung alveoli occurs, that causes a shortage of oxygen supply to the body.
  • Interstitial lung disease: It is a severe form of lung disease where the lung tissues are damaged and inflammation of alveoli occurs. Stiffening of lungs occurs in the final stage due to scarring of the interstitial tissues.
  • Pneumonia: It is a kind of lung disease caused by viral or bacterial agents. Acute inflammation of lungs occurs in this case, along with the build-up of excess mucus.
  • Pulmonary sarcoidosis: The main feature of this disease is the presence of granuloma (regions of inflamed cells) on the alveolar or bronchial walls. It causes loss of elasticity of the lungs.

Diagnosis

The following diagnostic tests are recommended for the proper treatment of lung diseases-

  • Chest X-ray (to determine which parts of the lungs are affected)
  • Blood culture
  • Sputum culture (to detect the presence of bacteria)

Treatment and prevention

Asthma 

Bronchitis nebulizationTreatment 

  • The treatment plan for asthma varies depending on the patients’ age, symptoms, and triggers.
  • Identify the key triggers that cause an asthma attack and try as much as possible to avoid them.
  • Keep a check on the patient’s breathing to gauge whether the prescribed medicines are working or not.
  • Medications that reduce inflammation and keep the airways open are prescribed.
  • Quick-relief medications are prescribed to those who have short-lived symptoms of asthma. These medications help in relaxing the airway, reducing inflammation, and providing relief.

Prevention 

  • Ensure that you get the vaccinations to prevent pneumonia and influenza. These infections are known to trigger asthma.
  • Being aware of asthma triggers and avoiding them help in reducing the frequency of attacks.

Pneumonia 

Treatment 

  • In case pneumonia is caused due to bacterial infections, antibiotics will be prescribed.
  • Drugs which reduce fluid accumulation in the lungs will help in reducing recurrent coughs. The patient is advised to rest as much as possible.

Prevention

  • Do not indulge in smoking. Doing so tends to reduce the lungs’ defense against respiratory infections.
  • To ensure that you do not contract any infection that may lead to pneumonia, make sure that you maintain proper hygiene.

Bronchiectasis 

Treatment – This condition cannot be treated. However, there are certain steps that patients can take to help reduce the symptoms of the condition.

  • Clearing the airway by exercising and chest physiotherapy.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation to help remove the mucus from the airway.
  • Antibiotics to help clear out the airway and treat any infections.
  • Medications to help thin the mucus.
  • Oxygen therapy to help provide the patient with extra oxygen.
  • Vaccinations to help prevent respiratory infections.
  • If there is bleeding in the lung, surgery may be conducted to remove the affected area.

Prevention – Since the cause of this condition is unknown, there are no sure shot prevention methods. But there are certain things that patients with bronchiectasis can follow to prevent the recurrence of breathing issues:

  • Don’t indulge in smoking. It can cause irritation to the airway and may increase the symptoms of the condition.
  • Ensure that you wear a mask to reduce inhalation of polluted air.
  • Limit your exposure to cooking fumes as it can aggravate the symptoms of bronchiectasis.
  • Vaccinations for flu, pertussis, and measles need to be administered to children as a preventive measure against bronchiectasis.

Pulmonary sarcoidosis 

Treatment: Medications to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system are prescribed.

Prevention: Stay away from any environmental pollutants such as pollutions, insecticides or molds to reduce the chances of developing pulmonary sarcoidosis.

Facts

  • Pneumonia can have more than 30 different causes.
  • In adults, women have a higher chance of developing asthma than men. In children, boys have a higher chance of developing asthma than girls.

Facts

  • African-Americans have a 2-3 times higher chance of developing asthma than any other racial group.
  • 60-85% of cases of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) remain undiagnosed in the United States.

Facts

  • COPD is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States.
  • 8 million school days are missed by children who have asthma in the United States.

Related Conditions

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Consume proteins this helps by protecting the body and helps in fighting off infections.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight; those with COPD may suffer from loss of appetite. It is important for them to maintain a healthy body to prevent further infections
  • Consume high-fiber foods; doing so can reduce the levels of cholesterol in the body.
Don'ts
  • Consume foods that make you bloat. Doing so can make it difficult to breathe.
  • Exercise if you feel unwell, dizzy or experience any pain this helps in keeping you healthy and reducing your symptoms.
  • Expose yourself to irritants such as pollution, cleaning sprays, perfumes etc doing so will irritate the airway and make it difficult to breathe.

 

 

 

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Dandelion: Little parachutes of health and wellness for your whole body Dandelions are not just bright looking blossoms that cheer your mind. These are powerpacked with essential nutrients that…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Exercises or diet? Find out the healthiest way to gain weight Tired of being called skinny all the time? Looking for healthy ways to beef up? Why not try…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
PROLACTIN-(PRL)
Prolactin Test (PRL) Prolactin or PRL is a lactogenic hormone produced to induce milk production in lactating mothers. PRL test measures…
EMA antibodies
Endomysial Antibodies (EMA) Test EMA test is an investigative blood examination to locate the presence of certain antibodies, called Endomysial antibodies or…
dhea adrenal
Androstenedione Test Androstenedione is produced by the adrenal gland, the test of the levels of Androstenedione helps in the evaluation…
calories healthy
Calories: How to keep a check on these for faster weight loss Did you know you can burn calories while sleeping? Calorie-burning is what causes weight loss. How much should…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
How can berberine supplements help you live longer and healthier? Berberine is a turmeric look-alike herbal extract that is credited with numerous health benefits ranging from diabetes cure…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
PROSTATE-SPECIFIC-ANTIGEN
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test Prostate specific antigen test is a blood test used to determine the presence of prostate cancer or any…
bilirubin-test-result
Bilirubin Test Bilirubin is a substance produced in the body as a result of red blood cell breakdown. A bilirubin…
biopsy procedure
Biopsy Biopsy is a procedure of studying a live tissue sample collected from a specific organ for diagnosing a…
beta 2 glycoprotein 1 IgG
Beta 2 Glycoprotein 1 IgG Beta 2 glycoprotein 1 antibody test involves detecting and measuring the presence of the IgG class of beta…
lp-pla2
LP-PLA2 Test The LP-PLA2 test is a test which is carried out to assess the levels of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2…
AUTOIMMUNE HEPATITIS liver
Hepatitis Profile A hepatitis profile or a hepatitis panel is a blood test that checks for markers of hepatitis infection…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
Serotonin happiness
Serotonin: What you didn’t know about this “feel-good” chemical Serotonin : Did you know that this "feel-good" hormone could well impact your sleep cycle, sex drive, appetite,…
Bulletproof coffee recipe
Bulletproof Coffee – Breakfast of champions or yet another health fad? Can this special ketogenic coffee really make your body race as fast as a bullet?
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…