Lung Diseases have been some of the oldest known afflictions of the world. They affect breathing, one of the most primary life functions. Thus, they are capable of causing immense obstructions in day to day activities. The scope of such diseases is really high and requires the attention of Lung Specialists. Lung Specialists are specially trained to detect and diagnose the various types of Lung Diseases. This article discusses some of the most common types of Lung Diseases which are known to human kind. They have been classified on the basis of the part of the respiratory system which they affect.
The airways or the windpipe is the passageway through which the air we breathe reaches the lungs. Ailments which affect the airways are Asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Diseases), Bronchitis, Emphysema, and Cystic fibrosis. Asthma is the inflammation of the airways and the symptoms include wheezing, spasms, and difficulty to breathe. Allergies and pollution are known to be the top triggers of Asthma. COPD is when there is difficulty in exhalation due to various factors. Chronic productive coughs should be taken seriously and referred to a Lung Specialist as they might be the symptoms of Bronchitis. Fibrosis is the condition when the system develops problems in the clearance of mucus. This results in frequent cases of infections.
The Air Sacs
The air sacs are where the various branches of the airways end. They are also called Alveoli and are one of the most vital parts of the respiratory system as the exchange of oxygen happens here. Some of the ailments affecting the lungs and which require an examination by a Lung Specialist include Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Emphysema, Lung Cancer, Pulmonary Edema, and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Pneumonia is caused by bacterial infection of the Alveoli. Untreated Pneumonia is responsible for a high number of deaths, especially in infants. Tuberculosis is another infection of the Alveoli and also has a high rate of death. Emphysema, apart from affecting the airways, also affects the air sacs, especially the connections between them. Although Lung Cancer can eventually affect any part of the Lungs, it is at the Alveoli that it often begins. ARDS is defined as serious injuries and damages which happen to the lungs due to other diseases.
The Interstitium lines the Alveoli where tiny blood vessels run. It is actually here that the exchange of oxygen takes place. Some of the diseases affecting this part of the Lungs are ILD (Interstitial Lung Disease), Pneumonia and Pulmonary Edemas. ILD comprises of a large number of ailments affecting the Interstitium. Apart from the ILD, Pneumonia and Edemas also affect the Interstitium.
The Blood Vessels
The blood vessels carry the de-oxygenated blood from the various organs to the heart and carry back the oxygenated blood. Thus ailments of blood vessels can prove to be a major obstacle in the proper functioning of the respiratory system. Some of them include Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and Pulmonary Hypertension. PE is a blood clot which gets lodged in a pulmonary artery causing severe difficulty in breathing. Pulmonary Hypertension is a resultant of high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries.
The Chest Wall
The chest wall contracts and expands in accordance with the breathing rhythms. Diseases which affect this functioning are Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome and Neuromuscular Disorders. The former condition results in extra weight on the wall, making the contraction and expansion difficult. The latter is a resultant of improper functioning of the nerves which control the respiratory muscles.
Any of the above Respiratory Diseases can severely affect the smooth functioning of life activities. Moreover, since the above effect the lungs also, they have proved to be life-threatening when left untreated. Any difficulty experienced in breathing should be followed by a consultation with a Lung Specialist.