Respiratory Diseases and Conditions
Lung diseases are conditions that occur within the lungs. Respiratory or lung diseases include asthma, pneumonia, tuberculosis, lung cancer, and many others. According to the American Lung Association:
Every year nearly 335,000 Americans die of lung disease
Lung disease is the number three killer in America, responsible for one in seven deaths
Lung disease and other breathing problems are the number one killer of babies younger than 1 year old
More than 30 million Americans are living with a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis
Asthma can be a life-threatening disease if not properly managed. Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that makes breathing difficult. With asthma, there is inflammation and spasms of the air passages that result in a temporary narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs. This results in asthma symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a group of diseases characterized by the pathological limitation of airflow in the airway and is not fully reversible. COPD is the umbrella term for chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and a range of other lung disorders.
- Emphysema is a chronic disease of the lungs associated with breathlessness, chronic cough, excessive sputum, and progressive decrease in lung function. It is a condition in which the walls of the alveoli or air sacs within the lung lose their ability to stretch and recoil. The air sacs become weak, resulting in inefficient and difficult breathing.
- Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the main airways in the lungs that continues for a long period or keeps coming back. As the irritated membrane swells and grows thicker, it narrows or shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs, resulting in coughing spells accompanied by thick phlegm and breathlessness. Cigarette smoking is the main cause of chronic bronchitis.
Pneumonia is a general term that refers to an infection of the lungs, which can be caused by a variety of microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Antibiotics may be helpful in managing the cause of some types of pneumonia. Oxygen, aerosolized medications, and airway clearance techniques may be beneficial in managing the symptoms of pneumonia.