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Lung disease

Lung disease is any problem in the lungs that prevents the lungs from working properly. There are three main types of lung disease:

  1. Airway diseases -- These diseases affect the tubes (airways) that carry oxygen and other gases into and out of the lungs. They usually cause a narrowing or blockage of the airways. Airway diseases include asthma, COPD and bronchiectasis. People with airway diseases often say they feel as if they're "trying to breathe out through a straw."
  2. Lung tissue diseases -- These diseases affect the structure of the lung tissue. Scarring or inflammation of the tissue makes the lungs unable to expand fully (restrictive lung disease). This makes it hard for the lungs to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. People with this type of lung disorder often say they feel as if they are "wearing a too-tight sweater or vest." As a result, they can't breathe deeply. Pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis are examples of lung tissue disease.
  3. Lung circulation diseases -- These diseases affect the blood vessels in the lungs. They are caused by clotting, scarring, or inflammation of the blood vessels. They affect the ability of the lungs to take up oxygen and release carbon dioxide. These diseases may also affect heart function. An example of a lung circulation disease is pulmonary hypertension. People with these conditions often feel very short of breath when they exert themselves.

Many lung diseases involve a combination of these three types.

The most common lung diseases include:

How Well Are You Managing Your COPD?

  • What's the best way to slow down lung damage due to COPD?

     

    A. Eat a healthy diet

     

    B. Stop smoking

     

    C. Get exercise

     

    D. All of the above

    Correct Answer
  • You can avoid flare-ups at home by doing which of the following?

     

    A. Avoiding very cold air

     

    B. Not using a fireplace or wood stove

     

    C. Asking others not to smoke inside

     

    D. All of the above

    Correct Answer
  • Men with COPD are more likely to feel depressed than women.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
  • Overnight oxygen therapy can help you sleep better.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
  • What can pulmonary rehabilitation do for you?

     

    A. Help you breathe better

     

    B. Help you avoid needing to be in a hospital to treat your breathing

     

    C. Help you be strong enough to exercise

     

    D. Improve your outlook on life

     

    E. All of the above

    Correct Answer
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation can teach you a new way to breathe.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
  • Walking is the best exercise for people with emphysema.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
  • Flying can make breathing problems worse.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
  • Medicines help people manage COPD, but not cure it.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
  • Strengthening exercises are good for people with COPD.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer

References

Kraft M. Approach to the patient with respiratory disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 83.

Reid PT, Innes JA. Respiratory medicine. In: Ralston SH, Penman ID, Strachan MWJ, Hobson RP, eds. Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Ltd; 2019:chap 17.

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    • Pulmonary mass - side view chest X-ray

      Pulmonary mass - side view chest X-ray

      illustration

    • Lung mass, right lung - CT scan

      Lung mass, right lung - CT scan

      illustration

    • Lung mass, right upper lung - chest X-ray

      Lung mass, right upper lung - chest X-ray

      illustration

    • Lung with squamous cell cancer - CT scan

      Lung with squamous cell cancer - CT scan

      illustration

    • Secondhand smoke and lung cancer

      Secondhand smoke and lung cancer

      illustration

    • Yellow nail syndrome

      Yellow nail syndrome

      illustration

    • Respiratory system

      Respiratory system

      illustration

      • Pulmonary mass - side view chest X-ray

        Pulmonary mass - side view chest X-ray

        illustration

      • Lung mass, right lung - CT scan

        Lung mass, right lung - CT scan

        illustration

      • Lung mass, right upper lung - chest X-ray

        Lung mass, right upper lung - chest X-ray

        illustration

      • Lung with squamous cell cancer - CT scan

        Lung with squamous cell cancer - CT scan

        illustration

      • Secondhand smoke and lung cancer

        Secondhand smoke and lung cancer

        illustration

      • Yellow nail syndrome

        Yellow nail syndrome

        illustration

      • Respiratory system

        Respiratory system

        illustration

      Self Care

       

      Tests for Lung disease

       
       

      Review Date: 7/28/2018

      Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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