Lung diseases are some of the most common diseases suffered by human beings throughout the world. Smoking and infections are responsible for most lung diseases. The lungs perform one of the most important functions of the body. It is also one of the most active organs in the human body and hence lung problems can arise due to problems in any other part of the body. Some of the most common and infectious lung diseases are discussed below-
Asthma is a common long term disease which is characterized by reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. The symptoms of asthma include coughing, shortness of breath and tightness of chest. These symptoms may occur frequently during a day and depending on the person, it may become worse during night or during a certain exercise.
Pneumonia is another common lung problem which is suffered due to inflammation in the microscopic air sacs in the lungs known as alveoli. Symptoms of pneumonia include dry cough, chest pain, breathing problem and fever. Pneumonia is caused most commonly by viruses or bacteria. It is also caused by certain medications and conditions which are popularly known as autoimmune diseases. There are a number of vaccines available to prevent certain types of pneumonia. Other methods include hand washing and refraining from smoking.
Tuberculosis is a very infectious disease which is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Although tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but it has been known to affect other parts of the body as well. Symptoms of tuberculosis include cough containing sputum with blood, night sweats, fever and weight loss. Air is an active medium for spreading tuberculosis. This happens when people who already have tuberculosis sneeze, cough or speak. Infection occurs more in those who have HIV/AIDS or those who smoke. Prevention of tuberculosis includes staying away and keeping those who are at high risk, early detection and treatment and vaccination.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer which affects the lungs. It affects the lining of the lungs and chest wall. Symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, swollen abdomen, cough, chest pain, weight loss and general lethargy. Mesothelioma is caused mainly due to exposure to asbestos. Those people who mine asbestos, produce products from asbestos, work with asbestos products are at high risk. Mesothelioma also results from genetical problems and due to infection caused by the simian virus 40.
5. Pulmonary Embolism
This is a disease caused due to blockage of an artery in the lungs by a substance which has travelled from another part of the body by the bloodstream. Symptoms of this disease include chest pain, breath shortness and coughing up of blood. There may also be signs of blood clot in the legs.
Interstitial lung disease includes a large group of disorders like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, sarcoidosis and asbestosis. These cause progressive fibrosis or scarring of the tissues surrounding the air sacs in your lungs. The scarring causes your lungs to stiffen which makes it difficult for you to breath.
What are the symptoms to look out for?
What are the causes?
Normally, your lungs will regenerate tissue to repair any damage. But in interstitial lung disease, the normal repair process does not occur due to injury to the lungs. The tissue around the air sacs gets scarred and thickened, causing difficulty in breathing.
Your lungs may get injured due to long-term exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants like –
• Silica dust
• Coal dust
• Grain dust from framing
• Indoor hot tubs
• Bird and animal droppings
• Bird proteins from chicken or pigeon
Sometimes, certain drugs can cause chronic damage to your lungs, like-
• Chemotherapy drugs
• Heart medications
• Anti-inflammatory drugs
Lung disease can also be caused by autoimmune disorders like-
Homeopathic remedies are customized according to the effects that the disease has on your body. It will relieve symptoms like a sharp pain in the lungs, hemorrhaging in the capillaries and coughing with mucus. It will also slow down the progression of the disease. Homeopathy induces your immunity system to restore the damaged tissues and heal itself. There are no associated side effects of homeopathic remedies for your body.
Homeopathic medication and therapy also help you to treat the damage from the side effects caused by conventional treatment.
If you visit a pulmonary specialist, he/she will prescribe medications like corticosteroids, medications that will slow down fibrosis and that reduce stomach acid or you might be given artificial oxygen to make breathing easier. The last option is surgery. All of these treatment options will not reverse the scarring in the lungs. In most cases, they do not stop the progression of the disease.
The life expectancy for someone with any of the types of interstitial lung diseases is 3 to 5 years. Homeopathy has proven to be a safe and effective treatment option with no side effects that can slow down the progression of your disease. It is important that you treat it early if you want to prevent severe health complications.
Lung specialists are able to provide a thorough evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of a number of breathing disorders in children. In addition to asthma, they can help in the management and treatment of conditions such as cystic fibrosis, upper airway obstruction recurrent pneumonia, chronic or recurrent cough, wheezing and sleep disorders. These specialists even known as paediatric pulmonologists can also be consulted in cases breathing and lung diseases in children from birth till the age of 21 years.
When to see a specialist?
You should consider visiting a lung specialist if you observe any of the following signs in your child:
A paediatric lung specialist has the qualifications, training, and experience required to best treat your child. They would require the parent or guardian of the child to fill in a comprehensive questionnaire so as to correctly diagnose, treat and manage the condition. These questions would also form the basis of the medical history of the child.
In order to disease, the specialists may perform tests such as pulmonary function testing and flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy or FFB in a way that is best suited for your child. They will be able to interact and effectively answer any questions that the child would have.
One can consult their paediatrician to recommend or refer you to a suitable pulmonologist.
Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) is a term which is used for a large collection of disorders that can cause scarring of the lungs. The scarring gives rise to stiffness in the lungs that make it troublesome for breathing. Some of the examples of ILDs include Asbestosis, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, Sarcoidosis, and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
ILDs could be caused by being exposed to dangerous chemicals, medical treatments, and certain medications. In nearly all cases, the result is unspecified. In several cases, it can be reduced by certain medications. Many drugs can harm the lungs, especially heart medications which are used to treat irregular heartbeats and hence might damage the lung tissue. Chemotherapy drugs that kill cancer cells, can also harm lung tissue.
Anti-inflammatory drugs and some antibiotics can also cause lung damage. The desecrate of the lung from many ILDs is progressive and irreversible which means it gets adverse over time. So, doctors often recommend lung transplant for the people having interstitial lung disease.
Risk Factors -
● Chemotherapy and Radiation: Using therapy drugs or having radiation treatments to chest makes it more likely to develop lung disease.
● Age: Interstitial lung disease affect adults more, although children and infants sometimes develop this disorder.
● Smoking: It occurs mostly in people who have a history of smoking. Active smoking might make the condition worse.
● Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: If a person is having indigestion or uncontrolled acid reflux, he or she may be at risk of Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD).
The lung scarring or the lung fibrosis that occurs in interstitial lung disease cannot be changed and therapy will not every time be effective in stopping or finishing the ultimate development of the disease. Some treatments might slow the progression of this disease or improve symptoms temporarily. Others may help to improve quality of life. Many different scarring disorders have no proven therapies.
● Oxygen Therapy: Lung damage cannot be stopped by the oxygen therapy, but it can improve the sense of well-being and sleep because when sleeping, one receives more oxygen. It can also relax blood pressure in the right part of the heart. It can make breathing easier. Oxygen therapy can also lessen or prevent difficulty from low blood oxygen levels.
● Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Pulmonary rehabilitation not only improves daily functioning but also helps in live life fully to the people who are suffering from Interstitial Lung Disease. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs focus on breathing techniques which enhance lung efficiency, physical exercise to enhance endurance, nutritional counseling, and emotional support.
Take Away -
Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) is a group of disorders that can be the cause of scarring of the lungs, which ultimately lead to lung damage. This condition affects more adults than children. The progression of this condition can be curtailed by adopting certain therapies.
Lung function is a major indicator of health since it determines the amount of Oxygen that a body gets. Doctors resort to Pulmonary Function Tests if there is a problem with breathing or the lungs. Pulmonary tests give insight into how the lungs are functioning.
These tests measure parameters like lung capacity, lung volumes, gas exchange, rate of flow, etc.
Armed with information from these tests, the doctor can decide whether a person has some issues with the lungs or not, and accordingly diagnose and decide the line of treatment for accelerated recovery.
Type Of Pulmonary Function Tests
Basic PFT: Spirometry-
Advanced Pulmonary Function Testing includes different tests like:
Why Undergo Pulmonary Function Tests?
Doctors may conduct Pulmonary Function Tests even on healthy people. It is a mandatory part of pre-employment and peri-employment workups in most industrial and corporate health checkup programs. If a person works in certain hazardous environments like graphite factory, coal mine, chemical factory, etc., the employer may order such tests on a regular basis. People working in such places are at increased risk of developing respiratory problems which could be detected on PFT at an early stage.
PFT is an important investigation for evaluating common respiratory symptoms like:
It is a very crucial diagnostic tool for diagnosing chest diseases like:
In a Nutshell-
Lung cancer is the cancer killer of both men and women in the U.S. When you think of risk factors for lung cancer, what comes to mind? Most of us think about the risk associated with smoking cigarettes, but did you know that air pollution can also cause lung cancer? Overwhelming evidence shows that particle pollution in the outdoor air we breathe—like that coming from vehicle exhaust, coal-fired power plants and other industrial sources - can cause lung cancer. Particle pollution increases the risk of dying early, heart disease and asthma attacks, and it can also interfere with the growth and function of the lungs.
What is Particle Pollution?
Particle pollution is a mix of tiny solid and liquid particles in the air and can be made up of a number of components, such as acids, organic chemicals, metals, soil and dust particles. It can be emitted directly from wood stoves, forest fires, vehicles and other sources, and it can also form from other types of pollution that come from sources like power plants.
Why does particle pollution harm our bodies?
While breathing in larger sizes of particle pollution can be harmful to our health, smaller particles are more dangerous. Bigger particles can irritate your eyes, nose and throat, but our natural defenses help us to cough or sneeze them out of our bodies. Unfortunately, those defenses don't keep out smaller particles, which get trapped deep in the lungs and can even get into the bloodstream, causing damage to our health.
Who is most at risk?
As for who is at risk for health problems from breathing in particle pollution. Those who live where particle pollution levels are high is at risk. Some people face higher risk, including children, the elderly, people with lung and heart disease and diabetes, people with low incomes, and people who work or exercise outdoors.
How do we protect ourselves from particle pollution?
Check the air quality index forecast for the day and limit your activity if pollution levels are high. Avoid exercising along heavily traveled highways regardless of the overall forecast.
As individuals, we can play our part in reducing air pollution levels by trying to avoid creating more of it. Choosing ‘active travel’ options where possible, like walking and cycling, can help reduce pollution levels from transport and is also a great way to be more active, which is linked to a reduced risk of cancer and other diseases.
Pulmonary diseases are some of the most commonly experienced health conditions all over the world. Millions of people suffer due to various causes including genetics, smoking, pollutants and infection. Now lungs are one of the most important and complex organs of the body. They are the apparatus through which oxygen enters and carbon dioxide gets expelled.
Lungs expand and contract on a constant basis to ensure that we can breathe properly. Let us find out more about lung or pulmonary diseases.