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All About Chronic Lung Disease in Infants

Dr. Shilpa Nayak 89% (43 ratings)
DAA, Diploma in Child Health (DCH), MBBS, DMRD
Pediatrician, Mumbai  •  13 years experience
All About Chronic Lung Disease in Infants

The newborn are often extremely susceptible to fatal diseases and the first few months of the infant's life calls for uncompromised care and vigilance. One of the most precarious diseases afflicting the newborn babies are chronic lung disorders. This condition mainly emanates from a damage to the lung tissue, which results in breathing troubles. Under such circumstances, the lung may collapse, being filled with fluids and end up oozing out harmful mucus. While a severe form of such lung diseases may often result in the death of the infant, in most cases the infants outgrow the disease and with proper care, grow up to lead a healthy life. 

Most chronic lung diseases in infants are congenital and are spurred by a variety of causes: 

  1. Premature delivery: Chronic lung diseases are recurrent in babies born prematurely, i.e. before the lapse of at least 26 weeks of gestation age. Underweight infants also run the risk of suffering from this ailment. The lungs are not able to develop fully in such situations as a result of which they become prone to respiratory distresses. Another allied trigger to Chronic Lung Disease is the use of ventilation on the premature babies. The forced breathing and imposed oxygen levels induced by ventilators often impair normal lung functions in babies. 
  2. Fluids in the lungs: Certain babies are either born with or develop a condition where fluids accumulate in the lungs. This inflicts a lot of damage to the lungs and leads to such diseases.
  3. Respiratory Infections: Some babies are likely to acquire lung infections from certain disease causing viruses. This largely handicaps the normal lung functions. 
  4. Heart conditions:  Abnormal blood circulation in the heart also stimulates lung diseases in newborns. If the heart is unable to regulate the flow of blood to the lungs properly, then the chances of such diseases increase by leaps and bounds. 
  5. Inhaling harmful foreign materials: Certain particles often affect the health of the lungs tremendously. Exposure to meconium during delivery might result in the inflammations that potentially injure the lung tissues. 
  6. Nutrition deficiencies: If an infant's body lacks vital nutrients, it may result in a condition of malnutrition. Lack of vitamin A may cause chronic lung diseases. 

Chronic Lung Diseases are usually recoverable with early detection and appropriate treatment. However, one needs to meticulously cater to the health needs of the baby, in order to ensure complete recovery and avert recurrence.

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