Primehealth Medical Center, P.C.
Primehealth Medical Center, P.C.

Common Lung Diseases And How To Know When To See Your Doctor

Thirty-seven million people in the United States live with some form of chronic lung disease. Respiratory diseases have been a huge concern since the COVID-19 pandemic; because of this concern, many people have become more aware of their symptoms and have taken action to protect their lungs from illness. Even the most innocuous breathing issues can indicate a larger issue, and because of how common these diseases are within the United States, it’s important to understand what to look for and when to see a physician for treatment.

We’re here to help narrow down the warning signs of chronic respiratory conditions. We will also look at some of the most common lung diseases people face today to educate you about caring for your lungs and give you some resources for better management of your symptoms.


Respiratory Diseases and Its Warning Symptoms

Respiratory diseases can take many shapes, but overall, lung diseases take on three main types. Airway diseases affect the airways that help carry oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other gases in and out of the lungs. Diseases that affect the airways often cause either a narrowing or blockage of these airways and when it comes to symptoms of these diseases, people often describe it as breathing through a straw. Secondly, there are diseases that affect lung tissues. Often caused by scarring and inflammation, these damaged tissues make it difficult for the lungs to expand fully. Lastly, there are lung diseases that affect the blood vessels within the lungs, caused by blood clotting, scarring, and inflammation throughout the blood vessels; these diseases can also affect the heart and affect the lungs’ ability to breathe normally.


Many of these lung conditions can also occur in combinations, and the causes for these diseases also vary. From environmental hazards such as smoking to genetic causes, lung diseases most often include:

  • Asthma: Classified as an airway disease, asthma affects the tubes throughout the lungs and causes chronic wheezing, shortness of breath, lung spasms, and intense coughing. Lung infections, allergies, and environmental triggers can often cause asthma symptoms and are often considered lifelong conditions.
  • COPD: COPD is abbreviated from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This condition affects the airways and prevents the lungs from exhaling normally. It’s considered an umbrella term for other conditions such as emphysema and refractory asthma and is often accompanied by long-term coughing, shortness of breath, swollen ankles, wheezing, and frequent colds and flu.
  • Acute and Chronic Bronchitis: Coughing, shortness of breath, and mucus buildup can develop into bronchitis, which can either persists for weeks to months depending on the severity of the condition.
  • Tuberculosis: This condition affects the lung tissue, and tuberculosis is a form of pneumonia that gets worse over time and is caused by bacteria that the immune system cannot effectively control on its own.
  • Lung Cancer: Lung cancer can start from any part of the lung and can take hold through symptoms such as changes in coughing, mucus with blood, lasting chest pain, and trouble swallowing.

It’s essential to notice any changes that happen with your lungs to help protect your lung health. If you notice any signs of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and mucus buildup that doesn’t go away within a week, visiting your physician or pulmonologist is the best resource you can have for treatment.

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