3 Common Causes of Lung Inflammation

May 7th 2016


Pneumonia represents an infection in one or both lungs that causes inflammation of the tiny air sacs, called alveoli, that line the lungs. Fungi, bacteria or viruses can cause pneumonia, when the alveoli fill with fluid and make breathing more difficult. The severity of pneumonia depends on a person's age, any underlying health conditions and the precise cause of the infection. Treatment for this disease depends on the type of infection. The symptoms of pneumonia can seem very similar to that of the common cold, but a patient may die from this condition without treatment. Pneumonia kills more people worldwide than any other disease.


Asthma inflames and constricts the airways and lungs, causing a patient to have shortness of breath or wheezing. The linings of both bronchial tubes, or airways that connect the lungs to the trachea, become inflamed and make the passages narrower. Several irritants, such as dust, dander, smoke or harsh chemical fumes can induce an asthma attack. Asthma has no cure, but doctors help control symptoms with regular, inhaled corticosteroids and rescue inhalers for emergencies. Untreated asthma could lead to constant inflammation that destroys the linings of the bronchial tubes.

Smoking and Other Irritants

Smoking tobacco may make lung tumors from lung cancers grow faster because of the inflammation it causes. Other lung irritants, such as fine silicon dust, asbestos and coal dust could also make lung maladies worse through the same inflammation. Scientists in 2010 discovered that cancerous lung tumors in mice grew larger and more rapidly when exposed to tobacco smoke. Inflammation remains one of the key markers of cancer growth within an organ as the immune response causes out-of-control cancer cell growth. As such, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggest anti-inflammatory drugs may help slow the growth of lung cancer tumors in humans since the same inflammation pattern seen in mice occurs in humans. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.


When your lungs swell and become inflamed, the airways may feel constricted and you could find it harder to breathe. One general term for lung inflammation is pneumonitis, and this type of malady could have several causes. Learn three common causes of lung inflammation with this easy-to-follow guide.

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