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Lung Disease

Lung disease is any disease or disorder that affects the Lungs. More than thirty-five million people in the United States are dealing with Lung disease. It is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. There are many different types of lung disease. Some of the more common diseases affecting the lungs include lung cancer, asthma, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, emphysema, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). It is important to understand and recognize the symptoms of lung disease so that you can seek treatment early.

General Symptoms of Lung Disease

Although specific lung diseases have their own specific symptoms, here are some general symptoms of lung disease to be aware of:

  • Cough that won't go away - this is the most common symptom.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing - a high-pitched sound while breathing in or out
  • Coughing up Blood - this may appear as pinkish froth, mucus with a blood in it, or pure blood.
  • Chest Pain - the pain may be be constant or experienced only while breathing in(inhaling) or breathing out(exhaling) .
  • Feeling like you're not getting enough air
  • Cyanosis - a bluish color of the skin. Usually involving the lips and nails

* If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see your doctor.

Common Lung Diseases


Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your bronchial tubes (airways). It causes swelling or narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Some of the symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. Asthma can not be cured but it can be controlled with medication.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term that refers to two lung diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These conditions often occur together. Both limit airflow to and from the lungs making it hard to breathe. The decrease in airflow is caused by inflammation of the tubes (bronchial tubes) that carry air in and out of the lungs. Because of this inflammation, thick mucus forms. The mucus makes it hard to breathe and causes the number one symptom, cough. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Smoking is the cause of COPD in about 90% of cases. Other risk factors of COPD include air pollution, second-hand smoke, history of childhood respiratory infections and heredity. Occupational exposure to certain industrial pollutants also increases the odds for COPD.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal (malignant) cells in one or both of the lungs. There are two major kinds of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common kind. Common symptoms of lung cancer include: trouble breathing, shortness of breath, a cough that won't go away, coughing up blood or mucus, pain when breathing in or out. Treatments for lung cancer include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, medication for symptoms and pain. Smoking causes 87% of all cases of lung cancer. About 170,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. Most are between the ages of 40 and 70. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States in both men and women. It is one of the most preventable kinds of cancer. * General information about Cancer


Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It is a is a common illness that affects millions of people each year. Pneumonia can range from mild to severe, even fatal. Pneumonia is caused by either a virus or bacteria. Symptoms of pneumonia include cough, fever, Sharp or stabbing chest pain worsened by deep breathing or coughing, and difficulty breathing. Most people can be treated at home with antibiotics. Pneumonia caused by a virus usually cannot be treated with antibiotics. To determine if pneumonia is caused by bacteria or a virus, your doctor will need to test mucus from your lungs. Treatment for viral pneumonia includes rest and treatment of symptoms. With treatment,of both bacterial and viral pneumonia, most people will feel better within two weeks. Older adults, babies, and people with other diseases may need to be hospitalized. There are several things you can do to reduce you risks of developing pneumonia. Washing you hands frequently, especially before eating, after being around large groups of people, before and after going to the bathroom & before preparing food. There is a vaccine that can help prevent pneumonia. The vaccine is recommended for those over 65 years of age and for younger people with chronic conditions. About 4 million people in the United States get pneumonia each year. Of them, 1 million will have to go to the hospital. About 60,000 people die from pneumonia each year in the U.S.

Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that is most often found in the lungs. It is a is a contagious disease which is easily spread through coughing, sneezing, and even talking. TB is caused by a slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is either latent (dormant) or active. Latent TB means that you have the TB-causing bacteria in your body, but you cannot spread the disease to others. You can however develop active TB yourself. Most people don't even know that they have latent TB because they will have no symptoms. Symptoms of active TB can include: a chronic cough that brings up thick, cloudy, and sometimes bloody mucus, fever, night sweats, shortness of breath, fatigue, weightloss, and rapid heartbeat. TB can be cured. Treatment for TB usually involves a combination of 4 different antibiotics. The medication must be taken as directed for at least 6 months. If you miss doses or stop taking the medication too soon, your treatment will take longer and can result in the development of antibiotic-resistant infections that are much harder to treat. If active Tuberculosis is not treated, it can damage the lungs or other organs and can even cause death.

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website should NOT be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Please contact your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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