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What Are the Different Lung Inflammation Symptoms?

Lung inflammation can manifest through persistent coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing. Fever and fatigue may also accompany these symptoms, signaling your body's fight against irritants or infection. Recognizing these signs early is crucial for effective treatment. Wondering how these symptoms connect to specific conditions? Continue with us to uncover the underlying causes and potential treatments for lung inflammation.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Lung inflammation symptoms can include abnormal breath sounds, pain, chest tenderness, and coughing. A number of conditions can cause inflammation in the lungs and surrounding tissues including pneumonia, pleurisy, and cancers. If a patient reports symptoms, a medical provider may perform a physical examination, request medical imaging studies, and take a sputum sample for evaluation, depending on the symptoms. Treatment options can include rest, medications, fluids, and surgery to treat issues like cancers or necrotic tissue that is causing inflammation.

When the lungs become inflamed, the tissue is flooded with white blood cells and other agents of the immune system. They can cause swelling and a fluid buildup that interferes with lung function. The inflammation may be inside the lung or in the pleural space. Some conditions cause very distinctive symptoms that make them easy to diagnose, while others may require a careful workup.

The human respiratory system, showing the trachea, bronchioles, and lungs.
The human respiratory system, showing the trachea, bronchioles, and lungs.

Difficulty breathing, along with coughing, wheezing, or whistling sounds in the lungs, is a common symptom. Patients may struggle to fully inflate the lungs or could cough in an attempt to dislodge foreign particles or buildups of mucus. Other lung inflammation symptoms can include crackling or groaning while breathing. If these are not audible with the naked ear, a doctor may be able to hear them on a stethoscope.

A doctor may use a stethoscope to listen for lung inflammation symptoms.
A doctor may use a stethoscope to listen for lung inflammation symptoms.

Patients can also develop chest tenderness which may make them reluctant to breathe deeply. Pleurisy, an inflammation in the pleural space, can cause a distinctive sharp, stabbing pain in the chest when patients breathe. These lung inflammation symptoms can help a doctor narrow down a cause of the problem, which can be important for a treatment plan. To be certain, the doctor may request scans of the lungs to look for tell-tale signs like buildups of fluid or clear evidence of irritation and thickening in the tissues around the lungs.

Coughing and wheezing are symptoms of lung inflammation.
Coughing and wheezing are symptoms of lung inflammation.

Other lung inflammation symptoms can include reduced appetite and accidental weight loss. Inflammation can depress the appetite, especially if it persists for an extended period of time, and may cause patients to lose interest in food and drop weight suddenly. This can be a concern for people who are already underweight, as they can be more at risk of complications if they rapidly lose more weight. These lung inflammation symptoms may give the patient a gaunt look, especially around the face, if the patient doesn’t receive treatment early to control the appetite and stabilize the weight loss.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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    • The human respiratory system, showing the trachea, bronchioles, and lungs.
      By: Alexandr Mitiuc
      The human respiratory system, showing the trachea, bronchioles, and lungs.
    • A doctor may use a stethoscope to listen for lung inflammation symptoms.
      By: everythingpossible
      A doctor may use a stethoscope to listen for lung inflammation symptoms.
    • Coughing and wheezing are symptoms of lung inflammation.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      Coughing and wheezing are symptoms of lung inflammation.
    • Pleurisy is a common condition that causes lung inflammation.
      By: Hunor Kristo
      Pleurisy is a common condition that causes lung inflammation.