Categories: Pulmonology

Lung Diseases, Symptoms & Reasons

The mind is the king of the senses but the breath is the king of the mind. Breathing is most crucial of all activities that are essential for a man’s survival. Without eating food or drinking water, man can survive for a day or two. But without breathing, it’s impossible to survive even for a few minutes. Breath is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal for self-regulation, energy generation & overall health.

We breathe using our lungs – a pair of pyramid-shaped organs that are located inside the chest. As we all know, breathing involves breathing in and breathing out. Our lungs deliver oxygen to the blood and brain to ensure our smooth functioning.

Considering all these, it’s easy to reach to a conclusion that lungs are the most vital organs in our body. But when the function of lungs is impaired due to ailments, it affects the quality of life and in worst scenarios causes death. Let’s take a look at some of the most common lung diseases and examine ways in which we can protect our lungs.

What causes Lung diseases?

Lung diseases are caused by air pollution, smoking, and infection. Genetics also plays a key role in lung diseases.

Common Lung diseases

Asthma: It affects people of all age groups in all parts of the world. In asthmatic patients, the airways are persistently inflamed, causing wheezing and shortness of breath & cough. The common triggers for asthma are allergies, infection, and pollution. The incidence of Asthma is increasing  in India due to a change in lifestyle, increasing pollution, smoking, urbanization. Early diagnosis, regular treatment, and allergen avoidance gives good symptoms to control & improve the quality of life.

COPD (Common Obstructive Pulmonary Disease): COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the flow of air from the lungs and is an umbrella term to describe chronic bronchitis, emphysema, etc. COPD is the second leading cause of death in India. Common preventable risk factors are smoking, traditional stoves using firewood, charcoal, mosquito coil, dhoopbatti, incense sticks, Occupational exposure, crackers.

Acute Bronchitis: The condition is often caused by a virus and is characterized by a sudden infection in the airways. The other common triggers for acute bronchitis are tobacco smoke, fumes, dust, and air pollution. It’s estimated that 5% of adults experience acute bronchitis at least once in their life and 90% of them seek medical advice.

Lung Infection (Pneumonia): It is an infection caused by bacteria, virus or fungi. Pneumonia affects one or both the lungs and causes inflammation in the air sacs in the lungs. The symptoms of Pneumonia include cough, sputum, fever, Chest Pain. Though anyone can get Pneumonia, people in certain age groups are more prone to fall prey to the disease. They include infants from birth to 2 years and adults aged 65 or more. Timely medical intervention treats the disease and prevents the occurrence of complications.

Tuberculosis (TB): Caused by the bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB usually infects the lungs. It’s a contagious, air-borne disease. Key symptoms of the disease are cough, fever, weight loss, blood with sputum. If not treated on time, TB can be fatal. Modern medicine offers a complete cure for the disease.

Lung Cancer: Undoubtedly the most dangerous of lung diseases, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in India & worldwide. Though smokers are at a higher risk, people who have never smoked also may get lung cancer. Persisting cough, chest pain, hoarseness, weight loss, etc., are some of the most common symptoms of lung disease. Other risk factors include exposure to Asbestos and other carcinogens and family history.

There are many reasons for lung diseases. Let’s take a look at preventive measures to keep ourselves safe and healthy.

  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid Secondhand smoking
  • Limit exposure to Outdoor pollution
  • Reduce Indoor pollution
  • Use protective gear – mask for instance
  • Exercise and Reduce weight
  • Breathing Exercises, Yoga
  • Healthy eating habits (food rich in antioxidant), avoiding junk

Lung diseases are a matter of concern worldwide. With rapid urbanization, air pollution levels are steadily increasing. Though governments across the world are taking various steps towards curbing the danger, individuals need to be proactive to protect themselves.

By limiting their exposure to polluted environs and wearing protective gear such as masks, lung diseases can be controlled to an extent.

Dr. Mini Garg, Visiting Consultant – Pulmonology, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, HSR Layout

Narayana Health

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