Lungs and Respiratory System

What are the Chronic Lung Diseases? The List and Causes

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:56 am

Chronic lung disease is the term for a wide variety of persistent lung disorders. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis (referred to as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD), asthma, cystic fibrosis, and restrictive lung diseases are examples of serious lung conditions that can adversely affect the quality of a patient’s life.

What Causes Chronic Lung Disease?

Some lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, are hereditary and show up early in life. A major known risk factor for emphysema is cigarette smoking, but there is one type that you can inherit.

Environmental factors such as second-hand smoke or long-term exposure to industrial pollutants can cause COPD. Other examples of environmentally caused diseases are asbestosis and coal miner’s disease.

The Chronic Lung Diseases List

Chronic respiratory diseases are chronic diseases of the airways and other parts of the lung. Some of the most common are

  1. Asthma
  2. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  3. Lung cancer
  4. Cystic fibrosis
  5. Sleep apnea
  6. Occupational lung diseases
  7. Restrictive lung disease

Respiratory diseases affect all ages-children, teens, adults and seniors. Most of these diseases are chronic in nature and all have a major impact not only on the individual with the disease, but on the family, the community, and the health care system.

What is the Restrictive Lung Disease?

Restrictive lung disease (chest wall diseases) can result from different problems, including interstitial fibrosis, scoliosis (spine curvature), and sarcoidosis.

Some cause scarring in the lungs, while others compress the lungs. Some have no known cause; other causes include occupational exposure, chemotherapeutic agents or radiation, and connective tissue diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Which is the Most Common Chronic Lung Disease?

COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis) affects 210,000,000 people worldwide. It is a leading cause of disability and deaths. COPD deaths are climbing. COPD is now the fourth leading cause of death, and experts predict that by 2030 it will be the third leading cause.

What are the Early Symptoms of Chronic Lung Diseases?

Symptoms generally start out mild. You may notice an ongoing cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, or chest tightness. You may also experience frequent colds or flu. Your symptoms likely will worsen over time. Severe symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath after little or no exertion, or that persists after brief rest following normal exercise
  • Labored breathing; difficulty in drawing air into your lungs or breathing out
  • A cough lasting more than a month, regardless of your age
  • Chronic mucus or sputum production lasting a month or more
  • Wheezing or noisy breathing due to blockage of airways of the lungs
  • Coughing up blood
  • Swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs
  • Bluish lips

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, take the appointment with your doctor immediately.

Impacts of Chronic Lung Diseases

Chronic lung disease not only affects the patient’s quality of life, but the family’s as well. Imagine what it’s like to be short of breath all the time. These persons are no longer able to enjoy their hobbies, work, or even go shopping without feeling as if they are suffocating. When patients receive optimal medical care, which includes attending a pulmonary rehabilitation program, they are able to become active participants in their lives again.

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