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What are the Different Types of Pulmonary Disorders?

Pulmonary disorders affect the lungs and respiratory system, ranging from asthma and bronchitis to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer. Each condition varies in severity and impact on breathing. Understanding these differences is crucial for effective treatment and management. Curious about how these disorders might be affecting you or your loved ones? Let's dive deeper into their symptoms and treatments.
Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

Pulmonary disorders are diseases and infections that occur in the respiratory system, also known as the respiratory track. There are various disorders that affect various parts of the respiratory track. For example, bronchitis is a disorder that affects the bronchi. Asthma, however, is a disease that infects the lungs.

One of the most frequent pulmonary disorders is the flu, properly known as influenza. This is a viral infection that occurs when a person breathes in some type of virus. This usually happens when a person is exposed to infected droplets from another person’s sneeze or cough. Flu is often referred to in a manner that could cause a person to believe that there is only one type. In reality, influenza can be caused by hundreds of different viruses.

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

The flu can be tricky because these pulmonary disorders have the ability to mutate. This means that a person can develop immunity to the strain currently in his body, but it can transform into a new strain. When this happens he can become ill again and become a threat to people he has already infected once.

Asthma is a lung disease characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. Asthma attacks are caused when the bronchioles contract and excessive mucous inhibits the flow of air. Bronchioles are small passageways that act as a network to deliver air to the whole of the human lungs. In a healthy person, the bronchioles expand during inhalation to improve airflow. With an asthmatic person, triggers such as animal fur or pollen cause the bronchioles to become inflamed when they should expand, resulting in excessive mucous.

Many pulmonary disorders are caused by cigarette smoking.
Many pulmonary disorders are caused by cigarette smoking.

Bronchitis is an infection that involves inflammation of the larger airways to the lungs, known as the bronchi. These pulmonary disorders are generally caused when a person inhales too much pollution. People who smoke cigarettes often suffer from these pulmonary disorders because the mucous filtering system in the bronchi become irritated by excessive pollutants.

Inhalers may help relieve symptoms of an asthma attack.
Inhalers may help relieve symptoms of an asthma attack.

The alveoli are tiny airs sacs that are contained in the lungs. They contribute to the elasticity of the lungs, which facilitate the transfer of oxygen to the blood. One of the pulmonary disorders that affect them is known as alveolitis. The cause for such disorders is normally an allergic reaction to inhaled plant or animal matter.

Another of the pulmonary disorders that affects the alveoli is emphysema. This disease is caused when the alveoli are destroyed. This results in less area for oxygen to be exchanged. In the beginning, there may be no signs signaling this disease. Eventually, however, shortness of breath can develop and the damage can spread to the lungs.

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    • The human respiratory system, showing the trachea and lungs.
      By: Alexandr Mitiuc
      The human respiratory system, showing the trachea and lungs.
    • Many pulmonary disorders are caused by cigarette smoking.
      By: Николай Григорьев
      Many pulmonary disorders are caused by cigarette smoking.
    • Inhalers may help relieve symptoms of an asthma attack.
      By: Jason Stitt
      Inhalers may help relieve symptoms of an asthma attack.
    • Coughing can be a symptom of various pulmonary disorders.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      Coughing can be a symptom of various pulmonary disorders.
    • Patients with persistent flu symptoms are at increased risk of developing pneumonia.
      By: emde71
      Patients with persistent flu symptoms are at increased risk of developing pneumonia.
    • Bronchitis is an infection that involves inflammation of the larger airways to the lungs, known as the bronchi.
      By: rob3000
      Bronchitis is an infection that involves inflammation of the larger airways to the lungs, known as the bronchi.