Lung diseases are some of the most common medical conditions in the world. Tens of millions of people suffer from lung disease in North America. Smoking, infections, and genetics are responsible for most lung diseases. The lungs are part of a complex apparatus, expanding and relaxing thousands of times each day to bring in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Lung disease can result from problems in any part of this system.
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. Common symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD), and chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD), among others, is a type of obstructive lung disease characterized by chronically poor airflow. It typically worsens over time. The main symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, and sputum production. Most people with chronic bronchitis have COPD. Tobacco smoking is the most common cause of COPD, with a number of other factors such as air pollution and genetics playing a smaller role.
Cystic fibrosis (CF), also known as mucoviscidosis, is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs but also the pancreas, liver, and intestine. Difficulty breathing is the most serious symptom and results from frequent lung infections. Other symptoms—including sinus infections, poor growth, and infertility—affect other parts of the body.
Foreign body aspiration can be a life-threatening emergency. An aspirated solid or semisolid object may lodge in the larynx or trachea. If the object is large enough to cause nearly complete obstruction of the airway, asphyxia may rapidly cause death. Lesser degrees of obstruction or passage of the obstructive object beyond the carina can result in less severe signs and symptoms.
Pleural effusion is excess fluid that accumulates in the pleural cavity, the fluid-filled space that surrounds the lungs.
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung affecting primarily the microscopic air sacs known as alveoli. It is usually caused by infection with viruses or bacteria and less commonly other microorganisms, certain drugs and other conditions such as autoimmune diseases. Typical symptoms include a cough, chest pain, fever, and difficulty breathing.
A pneumothorax (pneumo- + thorax; plural pneumothoraces) is an abnormal collection of air or gas in the pleural space that separates the lung from the chest wall. Like pleural effusion (liquid buildup in that space), pneumothorax may interfere with normal breathing. It is often called collapsed lung, although that term may also refer to atelectasis. Chest pain and sometimes mild breathlessness are the usual predominant presenting features.
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage of the main artery of the lung or one of its branches by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream (embolism). Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include difficulty breathing, chest pain on inspiration, and palpitations. Clinical signs include low blood oxygen saturation and cyanosis, rapid breathing, and a rapid heart rate.
Tracheobronchitis, also known as bronchitis, is a condition involving inflammation of the windpipe or bronchi, both of which carry air to the lungs. This is often the result of an infection, but can also be due to an irritant or allergic reaction. Symptoms include a cough, wheezing, and sore throat.
Tumours are groups of abnormal cells that form lumps or growths. Different types of tumours grow and behave differently, depending on whether they are non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Precancerous conditions have the potential to develop into cancer.