What are Lung Diseases and How are They Caused

Respiratory illnesses rank among the foremost health concerns globally, with millions affected in the United States alone. These conditions, often stemming from factors like smoking, infections, and genetic predispositions, manifest through various lung ailments.

The lungs function by expanding and contracting rhythmically, facilitating oxygen intake and carbon dioxide release. Any disruptions within this intricate process can lead to the onset of lung diseases.

Airway-afflicting conditions primarily target the bronchial tubes and may entail constriction or blockage, impacting airflow. Asthma, characterized by bronchial spasms, often correlates with allergic reactions or hypersensitivity. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), encompassing chronic bronchitis and emphysema, impedes air passage due to prolonged lung damage, frequently attributed to smoking.

Chronic bronchitis, a subtype of COPD, prompts excessive mucus production within inflamed bronchi, resulting in persistent cough and breathing difficulties, typically induced by smoking. Emphysema, another COPD variant, involves the abnormal expansion and rupture of lung air sacs, leading to progressive breathlessness.

Acute bronchitis, commonly triggered by viral or bacterial infections, entails inflammation of the bronchial tubes, causing temporary respiratory distress. Cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disorder, prompts the production of viscous mucus, obstructing various vital passages, including the bronchi.

Restrictive lung diseases alter lung tissue structure, impeding full expansion and compromising oxygen intake. Pulmonary fibrosis, characterized by excessive fibrous tissue formation, and sarcoidosis, marked by widespread granuloma development, exemplify such conditions.

Vascular-afflicting lung diseases disrupt blood vessel function, hindering oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide release. These ailments, often involving clotting, scarring, or inflammation, may also impact cardiac performance.

Many lung disorders result from a combination of these categories. Persistent symptoms like coughing, sputum production, or breathlessness, especially in individuals with a smoking history, warrant medical evaluation for potential lung diseases.