Lung Diseases

Lung diseases are not as common as other diseases but a majority of people are dealing with one or the other lung disorder. As per records, there are more than ten million lung patients in the US and considering the rising pollution level, it is normal for our lungs to feel burned and diseases. Apart from pollution, smoking, genes, infections, etc. are play key role in causing lung diseases. Lungs need to be healthy as they distribute oxygen to the entire body while filtering carbon dioxide. When pollutants enter your lungs, they get accumulated and hamper lung functions. It is extremely important to have healthy lungs for a healthy disease-free body. In this section, you will get all the information related to lung diseases. 

Types of Lung Diseases

While all of us are aware of the lung problems and common diseases, you may not be knowing the classification of lung diseases. Here we explain to you the types of lung diseases.

Lung Diseases That Affect the Airways

The windpipe through which air gets into the lungs have bronchi tubes that are branches of windpipe. There are several diseases that affect these bronchi or blocks them. These include:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitisEmphysema
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Cystic fibrosis

Lung Diseases That Affect Air Sacs

The bronchi that are branches of windpipe further branch into bronchioles that form clusters called alveoli or air sacs. Alveoli makes up lung tissues and these too can get affected by certain lung diseases such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis Pneumonia
  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer

Lung Diseases That Affect Blood Vessels

Lung diseases like pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary embolism can hamper blood vessels. The lungs receive blood from the heart through pulmonary arteries. These diseases can affect blood vessels that also affect heart health.

Common Lung Diseases

Talking about lung diseases, there are several diseases that are highly common and people know about them. We have listed down some of the common lung diseases below that you should know about and be watchful towards the symptoms.


We all recognise asthma as a breathing disorder wherein the person gasps for breathe and require asthma pump to give oxygen. The reason why asthma occurs is because the airways become narrow and swollen that obstructs the oxygen flow and it doesn’t reach to your lungs. It feels like the air you are inhaling is not enough and this triggers a reaction called asthma. As per Dr Kuldeep Kumar Grover, Department of Pulmonology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon Pollution, smoke, pet hair, dander, dust, etc. can trigger and asthma attack. This is a chronic condition with no treatment. You can only manage asthma but not cure it.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD

In contrast to asthma, COPD causes thickening of the airways that leads to its damage over time. This causes the lungs to produce more mucus and clogs the airways causing COPD. The signs of symptoms of COPD include:

  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up lots of mucus

The major cause of COPD is smoking or tobacco consumption. People who continue to smoke may have to bear severe consequences of COPD as this is a progressive diseases where symptoms worsen over time.


As the name suggests, this lung disease affects bronchi or the small airways in the lungs. Bronchi walls swell up and thicken over time that hampers lung functions. Due to this, mucus accumulation happens that trigger lung infections. The common symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up mucus
  • Coughing up blood
  • Extreme tiredness
  • A whistling sound when breathing

Pulmonary fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis, in simpler terms is scarring of lungs and makes your lungs and other body parts  unable to absorb oxygen from the blood. You need to get a lung examination done to know about pulmonary fibrosis. Meanwhile, here are the common symptoms of this condition:

  • Dry cough
  • Tiredness
  • Joint pain and muscle pain
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Unable to breath properly during exercise


This is not a common lung condition but can be seen in some people. When the cells of the immune system produce granulomas, it hamper lung functions. These can happen to any organ of the human body but is highly commonly in lungs. Sadly, there are no concrete symptoms of this condition which is why it don’t get diagnosed on time. Generally, people do not require medical aid, however, those who smoke may suffer from permanent scarring of lungs.

Pulmonary hypertension

This is another common lung condition which is related to blood flow and heart. Hypertension is when the blood pressure scales up and pulmonary hypertension causes damaging of the blood vessels of the lungs. They become narrow and stiff increasing pressure on the heart to pump more blood. The common symptoms of pulmonary hypertension includes:

  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • Tightness in chest
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Swollen feet

Pulmonary hypertension can cause several health complications including blood clotting, liver damage, bleeding in the lungs and heart failure, in the worst case.

Chronic pneumonia

Pneumonia is actually a lung infection where viruses, bacteria and fungi enter the lungs and affect its functioning. Over time, these microorganisms thrive in the lungs and make the condition more critical. These cause inflammation and disrupts the flow of oxygen to the lungs. Pneumonia is often identified timely by the doctors and the treatment is provided accordingly. However, in absence of timely medical aid, one may even lose his life. People with weak and vulnerable lungs such as babies, smokers, people with compromised immunity, people who have recently underwent a surgery, etc. are at greater risk of developing pneumonia. Here are some symptoms of chronic pneumonia to look out for:

  • Chills
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Lung cancer

As pr Dr Sanket Shah, Surgical Oncologist, Apollo Spectra hospital Mumbai, Lung cancer is probably the most dangerous lung disease that we fear of. This is caused when the cancerous cells grow in the lungs. These start with abnormal growth and later becoming tumours. With increase in the size of tumours, they become cancerous. If this cancer is identified on time, the person’s life can be saved. But if the cancerous cells remain untreated they would not only damage the lungs but also spread to other parts of the body. The only way to prevent lung cancer from reaching the extreme stage is by checking the symptoms that includes:

  • coughing up blood
  • shortness of breath
  • unexplained weight loss
  • wheezing

Those who have a family history of lung cancer are at a greater risk of developing lung cancer. Other risk factors for lung cancer include smoking, exposure to chemicals, inhaling chemical fumes, etc. Taking the right treatment for lung cancer as suggested by the cancer expert can save lives. 

How to prevent lung diseases?

Here are some tips to keep lung diseases at bay:

Do not smoke and avoid secondhand smoking

Try to eat clean and healthy. Go on a one-day lung detox diet every month.

Try to avoid exposure to pollution. Wear masks.

Exercise regularly to keep yourself fit and healthy.

Get regular lung screening done to track your lung health.