Breathe Easy: Five Pulmonary Disorders that Could be Harming Your Health

Breathe Easy: Five Pulmonary Disorders that Could be Harming Your Health

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Did you know the average adult takes 15 to 20 breaths a minute? That equals 20,000 breaths a day. Our lungs have a big responsibility so if they are compromised by injury or disease, it can be detrimental.

The number one reason for breathing problems is pulmonary – or lung –diseases, which also rank as the number three killer in the United States.  The most common types of pulmonary diseases are:

1.     Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways of the lungs. This causes shortness of breath and tightness in the chest, and can make breathing difficult overall. Asthma can start in childhood and may be outgrown; it can also start as we get older. Asthma can be managed by use of inhalers and other medications, as well as being prepared by recognizing triggers such as allergies or stressful situations.

2.     Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a category of pulmonary disorders that block airflow in the lungs and make it difficult to breathe. COPD can last for years or be lifelong (chronic or acute) and is often attributed to longtime use of cigarettes. Other risk factors include a family history of COPD and exposure to pollutants such as dust, chemicals, and fumes. The two most common forms of COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

3.     Pneumonia

An infection in the lungs, pneumonia has many of the same symptoms as bronchitis but is a more serious condition as symptoms can be much more severe. In addition to severe inflammation in the lungs, pneumonia can be accompanied by a secondary bacterial infection. Pneumonia can be brought on by any disease or virus that affects the lungs – from severe colds to the HIV virus.  Pneumonia is dangerous for people of any age, but those with compromised immune systems, the very young, and the elderly are especially prone to developing this condition.

4.     Pulmonary Hypertension (PH)

The pulmonary arteries are responsible for carrying blood from the heart to the lungs, where they become oxygenated. If the average resting blood pressure in the pulmonary artery increases to more than 25 mmHg, pulmonary hypertension is present, even if the blood pressure in other parts of the body are normal or even low. PH is a serious medical condition that can be disabling and even life-threatening. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare form of high blood pressure that results in constriction of pulmonary arteries that causes inadequate blood flow from the heart through the lungs.

5.     Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The key component of our repertory system, our lungs are responsible for taking in oxygen that enters the cells within the bloodstream and transporting it throughout the body. The lungs then expel the toxic carbon dioxide from the blood. Lung cancer can be brought on by smoking, being exposed to dangerous substances such as asbestos and brake dust, or genetics. 

We all deserve to breathe easy. If you or a loved one is having trouble breathing, or to learn more about the types of pulmonary disorders, call the Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas today at (817) 594-9993 or request an appointment online.