Lung Diseases: Asthma is just one lung disease affecting more than 25 million Americans. Several factors can cause and worsen the symptoms of lung disease. These range from environmental factors to lifestyle choices.
If you’re suddenly having a hard time breathing then read on for a list of the most common lung diseases and what you can do to help alleviate breathing pains.
Table of Contents
Different Types of Lung Diseases
Lung diseases are generally split into three categories:
- Pulmonary vascular
Obstructive lung diseases obstruct airways such as asthma. Restrictive lung diseases restrict how much the lung can expand by. Pulmonary vascular diseases affect the blood vessels that connect the lungs to the heart.
The airways of asthma sufferers are hypersensitive and constantly inflamed. When they are ‘triggered’ the airways swell even more restricting airflow in and out of the lungs. Muscles that wrap around the airways can also tighten, restricting breathing even further.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is the name of several lung conditions that cause breathing problems. COPD affects more than 200 million people worldwide. One of the leading causes of COPD is smoking with 20% of smokers eventually developing the disease.
Symptoms of lung diseases associated with COPD include progressive breathlessness, a persistent chesty cough, and regular chest infections.
Emphysema is one of these diseases and it affects the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. Over time the walls between the air sacs can lose their shape and become damaged. In a healthy lung, there are lots of tiny alveoli, but as emphysema sets in they become fewer and larger. This makes it more difficult to absorb enough oxygen.
Chronic Bronchitis is also largely caused by smoking. The bronchial tubes that carry air to and from the alveoli become inflamed. This causes mucus to build up blocking the passage of air. Over time this makes it harder for your body to receive oxygen and more difficult to expel carbon dioxide.
For more information about bronchitis read this article by Online Pharmacies Canada.
Pneumonia is a restrictive lung disease that causes the alveoli to fill up with liquid. It can be caused by several different viruses and diseases such as influenza. Over time the lungs can become scarred, decreasing oxygen levels and rising carbon dioxide levels.
As cancer cells grow in the lungs they can obstruct airways and cause fluid to build up in and around the lungs. This means that lung cancer is often restrictive and obstructive. One in 16 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer at some point in their lifetime.
How to Alleviate Breathing Pain?
Living with any lung disease can be uncomfortable. One of the most common symptoms of lung diseases is breathing pain. Here are a few ways to help alleviate breathing pain.
When you slouch you restrict the amount by which your lungs can expand. Sitting and standing upright opens up your chest cavity. This will release a lot of strain on your lungs and surrounding muscles.
Improve Your Fitness
Exercise has huge benefits on your respiratory system. It strengthens the heart and all the muscles involved in breathing. Over time it will reduce the amount of oxygen the body needs to do physical activities.
Change Your Eating Habits
If you often have difficulty breathing after meals, then it might be a case of eating too much at once. Try eating smaller portions so the stomach doesn’t expand too much and puts pressure on the lungs.
Living With Lung Disease
The above lung diseases are just a few of many conditions affecting the respiratory system. If you suddenly find yourself developing shortness of breath and discomfort breathing then it’s important to visit your doctor as soon as possible. Leading a healthy lifestyle will help to alleviate symptoms along with medication.
Be sure to take a look at our other blogs for ways to improve your health.
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