Like most organs, your lungs play a vital role in your overall health and your body’s ability to function properly. And, like most organs, your lungs can also develop a variety of conditions that impact your health. Understanding the symptoms that are common markers of lung disease can empower you to take charge of your health, recognize warning signs and seek treatment early on when there’s an improved chance of recovery.
What Is Pulmonary Lung Disease?
The term “pulmonary lung disease” is somewhat of a misnomer. The word “pulmonary” itself describes anything related to your lungs, “pulmonary lung disease” refers to lung disease. And lung disease refers to several different conditions that can damage or otherwise cause health issues with your lungs. Many of these disorders make it difficult to breathe or prevent your body from getting enough oxygen.
There are three primary types of lung disease. Airway diseases cause narrowing or blockages in your airways, which are the tube-like structures that carry air into your lungs. They may make you feel as though you’re unable to draw enough oxygen into your lungs. Lung tissue diseases develop due to scarring or other structural issues within your lung cells They can make you feel like your chest can’t expand enough to take full, deep breaths or fully expel all the air in your lungs. Circulation diseases affect the blood vessels in your lungs and also make it difficult for your lungs to take in and release oxygen. These circulatory conditions can also affect your heart while making your breathing labored or causing shortness of breath. Some of the most common lung diseases include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and lung cancer.
Currently, researchers don’t know about every cause of lung disease, but they do know that some lifestyle factors and exposure to certain contaminants can lead people to develop lung disease. Smoking tobacco products is one of the most well-known causes of lung disease — particularly lung cancer. Even if you don’t smoke, breathing in secondhand smoke can raise your risk of lung disease. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of developing lung cancer and other conditions. Long-term exposure to radon (a naturally occurring radioactive gas), asbestos (a group of natural minerals that were once widely used in consumer products) and air pollution can also cause lung disease.