Lung Disease Overview
Lung disease is defined as any problem in the lungs that makes the lungs not work properly. There are three main types of lung diseases: airway diseases, lung tissue diseases, and lung circulation diseases. Many lung diseases may even include a combination of the three of these. Our pulmonologists are experts in the field of pulmonary disease. They are able to diagnose many conditions, such as: asthma, bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, dyspnea, emphysema, lung cancer, pleural effusion, pleurisy, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, sarcoidosis, sleep apnea, and tuberculosis. If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of a lung disease, then you will want to schedule an appointment with our physicians as soon as possible. The best way to treat lung disease is to diagnose and treat it immediately.
A lung disease that is found in the airways can typically cause blockages or causes the airways to become narrow. People that have a lung disease in the airways may feel like they are breathing through a straw. Some examples of these diseases are asthma or COPD.
Lung Tissue Diseases
Lung tissue diseases are usually characterized by the change in the tissue structure in the lungs. This is usually caused by scarring or inflammation. When this occurs, people are not able to breathe in and have their lungs expand fully. The lungs are not able to breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. This often feels like people are wearing a vest that is too tight. Examples of this type of disease are sarcoidosis or pulmonary fibrosis.
Lung Circulation Disease
Lung circulation disease affects the blood vessels that are located in the lungs. These diseases are caused from scarring, inflammation, and clotting of the blood vessels that are in the lungs. When this occurs, the body is no longer able to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. An example of this disease is pulmonary hypertension. Most of the time, people will feel like they are short of breath.
Causes of Lung Disease
There are many causes of lung disease. The most common cause of lung disease may be smoking. Other toxins may include: radiation treatments, asbestosis, grain dust, silica dust, etc. Medications may also cause a lung disease, such as chemotherapy, antibiotics, or heart medications. Since lung disease causes damage to the lungs or airways, a lung disease is caused when the body is not able to repair these tissues. When you are not able to breathe properly, then you are not able to get enough oxygen into the body. When there is not enough oxygen in the body, then problems occur.
Risk Factors for Lung Disease
Typically, lung disease is found in adults and not so much children. The most common lung disease in children is asthma and allergies. A huge risk factor for lung disease is your work and home environment. If you work or live in dangerous conditions, then it is important to take precautions to protect your lungs. Smoking or second hand smoke can cause you to be at a higher risk for lung disease as well. Lastly, people that go through chemotherapy or radiation are also at a high risk for lung disease. If you believe that you are at high risk for lung disease, it is especially important to schedule your annual exam with one of our physicians.
Warning Signs of Lung Disease
There are many early signs that may be signs of lung disease. When you are first experiencing these symptoms, you will want to schedule a time to see your pulmonologist, as it is proven that early detection will save lives. A chronic cough, or a cough that you have had for longer than one month, is usually a sign that something is wrong with the respiratory system. Another good sign is that you are experiencing shortness of breath without doing anything that is strenuous. This is usually classified by difficulty breathing. If you have chronic chest pain, or chest pain that has lasted longer than a month that is also considered to be a warning sign. Coughing up blood or chronic mucus production can show that there are problems with the lungs, and they are attempting to get rid of irritants that are in the lungs. Noisy breathing is a sign that there is something blocking the airways.
Preventing Lung Disease
The most important part of preventing lung disease is to schedule your annual checkups with your physician. When lung disease is diagnosed early, then physicians will be able to implement treatment and will have a higher rate of being successful.
The best way to reduce the risk of lung disease is to quit smoking immediately. If you are having problems quitting, then you may want to schedule an appointment to see one of our pulmonologists.
Diagnosing Lung Disease
Diagnosing lung disease can be done through a few different ways. The most common diagnosis is done through: stress tests, pulmonary function tests, chest x-rays, and electrocardiograms. Your physician will begin the diagnosis by completing a physical exam. During this time, you will want to discuss your symptoms. In order to best describe your symptoms, be sure to keep a detailed journal of what you are experiencing and what you believe the cause is or what you are doing when you experience them. After you have completed your physical exam, then your physician may request further testing to be done. Typically, the first test to be completed is a chest x-ray. This chest x-ray will give the physician a better look at what is happening in the lungs.
Lung Disease – Pulmonary Services
Our physicians are experts in lung diseases and are committed to helping you breathe better. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call our office immediately. The best thing to do for a lung disease is to get treatment fast. Our team combines state-of-the-art diagnostic and imaging equipment with their knowledge of research, and individualized care to make your visit comfortable and efficient.