According to healthline, the lungs are one of the most crucial organs in your body since they facilitate breathing, aid in oxygen absorption, and deliver oxygen to the heart. As they assist in removing carbon dioxide and other potentially hazardous gases from your body, the lungs also function as a vacuum cleaner.
Like any other organ, the lungs are susceptible to illness and significant medical conditions that can harm them. For your knowledge, we’ve included the top five lung disorders along with their causes, symptoms, diagnoses, treatments, and/or prevention.
Children and adults can both develop asthma, a chronic, non-communicable respiratory condition. When you have asthma, your airways swell, narrow, and accumulate mucus, as per healthline.
Causes of asthma
There is no known cause for asthma, and each person may experience it for a different reason. The removal of any hazardous foreign substances from your lungs by your immune system is what causes asthma, according to healthline.
A number of factors can trigger asthma attacks. You should be aware of the triggers if you or a loved one has asthma. Once you are aware of the potential causes of an asthma attack, you can take precautions to avoid them or, if they do occur, manage them. Here is a list of potential triggers for an asthma attack:
Allergies- a condition in which you become hypersensitive to any substance like any specific foods or allergens
Viral or bacterial infection (cold or flu)
Environmental factors like pollen, dust, pollution, and cockroaches
Strenuous physical activities and high-impact sports
Symptoms of asthma
Breathing problems & shortness of breath
Whistle type sound while breathing (wheezing)
Pain or pressure in the chest
Continuous coughing especially during the night and early mornings
FeNO test: It is a simple test in which the diagnostician will ask you to blow into a machine to measure the nitric oxide levels in your lungs. The presence of nitric oxide is a tell-tale sign of lungs inflammation.
Spirometry: Another blow-in-the-machine asthma test, spirometry determines the oxygen holding capacity of your lungs.
Prevention and treatment of asthma
Although asthma does not have a definitive cure, it may be managed with prescription medication and avoiding asthma triggers. Here are a few tips that may help you control the condition:
Identify what triggers your asthma and take measures to avoid it
Lifestyle changes: A healthy diet and exercising regularly
Using prescribed quick-relief inhalers. They help in relaxing the tightened muscles and ease the breathing process
Breathing exercises. This will increase your lung capacity and improve your respiratory cycle
2. Lung cancer
According to healthline, the lungs’ unchecked cell division is what leads to lung cancer. It accounts for 9.3% of cancer deaths in India and is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women worldwide.
Causes of lung cancer
Smoking: Lung cancer is primarily brought on by smoking. It’s likely that the earlier you start, the longer you’ll smoke, and the higher your chance of developing cancer will be. On the other side, giving up the habit can reduce your risk of developing this frequently fatal kind of cancer.
Secondhand smoke: Also known as passive smoking – when a non-smoker inhales the cigarette smoke that the smoker exhales, it puts him/her at greater risk of lung damage.
Air pollution: Pollutant particles that come from fossil fuels or smoke and toxic air chemicals from industrial plants can also cause lung cancer.
Symptoms of lung cancer
In some cases, lung cancer can remain asymptomatic and can be identified only via lung cancer diagnosis. The following symptoms can present themselves if you are affected by lung cancer:
Pain or discomfort in your chest
Shortness of breath and trouble breathing
Upper respiratory infections that cause hoarseness (when your voice sounds breathy)
Unwillingness to eat and unintended weight loss
Swollen face and neck veins
Lung cancer diagnosis
Image testing: This method includes CT scan, PET scan, MRI, and bone scan.
Biopsy: The doctor will collect tissue samples from your lungs by making a small incision to diagnose lung cancer.
Bronchoscopy: The doctor will insert a small and flexible pipe mounted with light and camera through your nose into your lungs. Post-which, the doctor will put instruments into the pipe to obtain fluid or tissue samples from your lungs for testing in the lab.
Prevention and treatment of lung cancer
To prevent yourself from lung cancer, do not smoke in the first place or quit immediately, and avoid secondhand or passive smoke. Dietary changes may also help manage the condition. Here are a few recommendations that may help you in the prevention and treatment of lung cancer:
Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy
Fruits like oranges, papaya, and carrots may help manage the condition
Green vegetables like spinach, beans, kale (gobhi), and folate enrich foods can also help manage the condition
3. Chronic bronchitis
Chronic bronchitis is a non-reversible condition in which you cough for an extended period of time. Because the bacterium never completely exits your body, this disease continues to recur. If you have been coughing for a long period, it might be a sign of chronic bronchitis.
According to healthline, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a group of diseases that include chronic bronchitis. It’s a lung illness that makes it difficult to breathe, and the condition worsens with time.
Causes of bronchitis
Tobacco smoking is the number one cause of chronic bronchitis
Passive smoking or secondhand smoking
Dust and allergies
Smoke from burning coal or chimney smoke from factories
Asthma and related complications
Symptoms of bronchitis
Continuous coughing with mucus
Whistle sound while breathing (wheezing)
Shortness of breath
Chronic bronchitis diagnosis
The doctor will ask you about the symptoms or if you have a family history of chronic bronchitis
The doctor can also recommend additional tests like CT scan, X-ray, blood tests, or liver function test (LFT) to diagnose the condition
Prevention and treatment of chronic bronchitis
Quit smoking and start living a healthy lifestyle
Avoid exposure to lung irritants like toxic fumes
Wear a mask
Stay away from secondhand or passive smoke
Take prescribed medications to clear mucus
Undergo a lung reduction surgery to remove the affected area of the lungs (if recommended by the doctor)
Lung transplant (rare cases)
According to healthline, pneumonia is a contagious illness that causes breathing issues by inflaming the air sacs in the lungs and filling them with fluid or pus. Antibiotics can be used to treat infections caused by fungus, bacteria, or viruses, and are an effective way to treat pneumonia.
Causes of pneumonia
Flu causing viruses
Cold causing viruses
Streptococcus pneumoniae and mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria
Symptoms of pneumonia
Cough with mucus
Chest pain while coughing or breathing
Loss of hunger
Headache, vomiting, and nausea
Fast breathing or wheezing
Frequent episodes of sweat and chills
Sputum test (testing of your cough)
Measuring the oxygen level
Prevention and treatment of pneumonia
Wash your hands regularly with soap
Cover your face when coughing or sneezing
Strengthen your immunity by maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Get vaccinated against pneumonia
Get flu vaccines
Get HIB vaccines
5. Tuberculosis (TB)
Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne communicable illness that is primarily caused by a bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) which not only affects your lungs but also the brain, spine, and kidneys. It can transmit by inhaling contagious aerosol droplets that travel from an infected person’s sneeze or cough.
Causes of tuberculosis
Living in a contaminated environment
Prolonged close contact with a TB infected person
Smoking (particularly chain-smoking)
If you are a health care worker and have exposure to TB samples
Poor health and hygiene
Weak immune system
Symptoms of tuberculosis
Coughing for three weeks or longer
Chest pain when laughing, breathing, coughing, and sneezing
Fever and chills
Unexpected weight loss
Coughing mucus or blood
Weakness, unwillingness to eat, and fatigue
CT scan, MRI scan, and ultrasound
Endoscopy and laparoscopy
Urine and blood test
Prevention and treatment of tuberculosis
Wash your hands regularly
Cover your face while coughing or sneezing
Avoid close contact with infected persons
Seek medical attention and take medication as prescribed
Self-isolate if you experience the symptoms
Live in a room with cross ventilation