By Dr. Arunesh Kumar, Pulmonology
Pulmonary diseases are some of the most commonly experienced health conditions all over the world. Millions of people suffer due to various causes including genetics, smoking, pollutants and infection. Now lungs are one of the most important and complex organs of the body. They are the apparatus through which oxygen enters and carbon dioxide gets expelled.
Lungs expand and contract on a constant basis to ensure that we can breathe properly. Let us find out more about lung or pulmonary diseases.
- Asthma: This is one of the most common and potentially fatal conditions that affect children and adults. It grips the airways formed by the bronchi which branch off into smaller tubes from the main trachea that holds them. This condition causes inflammation, and even spasms, which can lead to wheezingand breathlessness. The main triggers of asthma attacks include allergies, infections and pollutants that may escape into the airways.
- COPD: This is also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder. It is an umbrella term used for various lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties due to an obstruction of the airways. Chronic bronchitis is one of the conditions that falls under COPD, and is usually characterised by persistent, hacking coughs.
- Cystic Fibrosis: This is another condition that affects the airways by causing poor passage of mucus from the bronchial tubes. This condition is a genetic one where the mucus that gathers eventually becomes a lung infection.
- Pneumonia: This is a condition that causes an infection in the alveoli, which are the tiny tubes that the airways branch into. These are air sacs that can catch myriad infections like pneumonia.
- Tuberculosis: This is also a kind of pneumonia, which is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. This condition usually attacks the air sacs of the lungs and can be a potentially fatal disease if it is not treated on time. The patient will require immediate hospitalisation.
- Pulmonary Edema: This condition is caused by fluid leaks from the tiny blood vessels into the surrounding air sacs within the lungs. It can also be caused due to heart failure as well as back pressure which falls on the lungs. Direct injury to the lungs can also lead to this condition.
- Lung Cancer: This is a fatal disease which can be found in any part of the lungs. It has many forms and the type as well as the location usually determines the kind of treatment option that will be followed.
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: When the lungs suffer a sudden injury which is usually caused by a bout of serious illness, it is called ARDS. Treatment involves the use of life support ventilation.