Common lung health problems and how to avoid them

Dr. Hira Tanveer

3 min read

lung-health-problems

Lungs perform the vital task of breathing for the body. It is therefore not possible to live a heathy life with lung problems. There are several genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to lung diseases. Following are some of the common lung health problems and their preventions:

Common lung diseases

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that plagues a large number of people, globally. While the exact causes of the disease are unknown, there are certain factors that increase the propensity towards disease like genetics, allergies, exposure to irritants early in the childhood etc.

In this condition, certain triggers exist that cause an asthmatic attack. It leads to the swelling of the air passageway. Moreover, excess mucus is also produced, making the pathway even more constricted.

In the throes of attack, breathing becomes harder. Wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing etc. also often occur in this condition. There is no cure for asthma; it is a perpetual state of disease in which people have to be cautious all the time. During an attack, if timely aid is not provided, it can be lethal as well.

People have different asthmatic triggers. Factors like pollen, irritants in the air, pests, molds, pollution, smoke etc. are some of the common irritants.

Allergies

Allergies involve a complex inflammatory immune response in the body. This when occurs in the respiratory system, it can make breathing very hard. Asthma is a type of allergic reaction.

In a severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, a trigger causes the body to go into a shock. The airways become extremely closed off, making breathing near impossible. Unless epinephrine is injected timely into the body, the person can die.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

COPD refers to a set of progressive lung diseases. In this condition, patients suffer from multiple lung diseases that can be very hard to live with. Since its progressive, it is only possible to maintain the disease, but not entirely cure it.

One of the diseases that occurs due to COPD is emphysema and anther one is chronic bronchitis. COPD can be a result of one’s own choices i.e. smoking, but it can also occur due to other factors like exposure to irritants etc.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease causes breathing problems, wheezing, tightness in chest, clogged throat etc. Due to reduced lung capacity, oxygen supply is compromised as well, which leads to fatigue, dizziness and disorientation. It is also very hard for the patients having COPD to take part in strenuous physical activities as well.

Emphysema

Emphysema is a permanent condition, which can be caused by smoking or some irritants.
In this condition, the air sacs in the lungs get damaged. They sustain tears and injuries that greatly reduces their functionality. Therefore, the amount of oxygen that is breathed in by the lungs greatly decrease as well.

Hence, people who have emphysema suffer from symptoms like shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue etc. Their circulation is also compromised as well, due to which they have peripheries turning blue.

Bronchitis

Bronchitis too is a common lung disease amongst the smokers mostly. It causes severe inflammation and infection in the airways of the body. It leads to narrowed pathway and production of greenish phlegm. This can make sleeping at night rather difficult, as the mucus chokes the air pathway.

This disease can also lead to the development of pneumonia, when the infection makes its way from the trachea –airway—to the lungs.

In the acute case of bronchitis, the condition of the patient improves in a matter of days so it’s not amongst the serious lung health problems. It’s the chronic bronchitis that is worrisome; the patient experiences infections very often, requiring medical intervention then.

Pneumonia

It is the infection in the tissue of one or both of the lungs. Pneumonia, if not timely treated, can lead death in extreme cases. Complications of pneumonia include respiratory failure, blood poisoning etc.

The symptoms of pneumonia include; breathing problems, fever, cough, pain in the chest etc.

Flu

Influenza is a respiratory infection which itself does not generally affect the lungs, but can cause complications that damage the lungs too, like pneumonia, asthma attack etc. Moreover, flu can be hard on people suffering from COPD, who might need to get flu shots to decrease the flu-episodes.

COVID-19

The most talked about amongst lung health problems, currently, is the coronavirus. Raising a global pandemic, the severe cases of coronavirus have been known to cause changes in the lungs, pneumonia, and ARDS, which is terminal.

How to prevent lung health problems

Know your triggers

Allergies and asthma have specific triggers. People suffering from these conditions should always be mindful of their symptoms and avoid them. To prevent anaphylactic shock, keep an EpiPen handy always.

Practice respiratory hygiene


Many of the lung health problems stem due to pathogens that can be passed from person to person. Hence, the best way is to practice respiratory hygiene for your own safety and others around you.

Do not sneeze into the air, use a tissue paper instead. Dispose off the dirty tissues in the bin. Clean your hands always, especially after blowing your nose. Try maintaining a safe distance with people who have the flu etc. of about 3 feet

Medication

There are certain medicines like flu shots, antibiotics etc. that help the body cope better with the infections and prevent future episodes.

Cover your face

Wearing a mask effectively prevents from inhaling the pathogens. It is especially important to evade the risk of coronavirus. People who have COPD are also suggested covering up when in closed quarters with others to prevent any infection, as the risks run really high for them.

Stop smoking

Most of the lung health problems stem due to smoking. This bad habit needs to be stopped for better respiratory health.

If you are experiencing difficulty breathing or any symptoms of lung problems then make sure to contact a top pulmonologist in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Hira Tanveer - Author Dr. Hira Tanveer is an MBBS doctor and currently serving at CMH Lahore. Writing is her favorite hobby as she loves to share professional advice on trendy healthcare issues, general well-being, healthy diet, and lifestyle.