What Are The Chronic Respiratory Diseases?
Chronic respiratory diseases are long-term breathing trouble that occurs due to problems in the airways.It can affect anyone irrespective of their age.
What Are The Chronic Respiratory Diseases?
Read further to understand what are the chronic respiratory diseases that affect most of the population:
Asthma is a long-term lung problem that causes wheezing, cough, chest tightness and breathlessness. The small tubes in our lungs called bronchi help carry air in and out of the lungs. When a person has asthma, their bronchi becomes more sensitive than usual. Even accidental contact with allergic substances can trigger inflammation in the airways. As a result, the airways of the lungs become narrower and the concentration of sticky mucus increases. some of the common asthma triggers include:
- Animal Fur
- Cigarette Smoke
2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a preventable and treatable lung disorder. With this problem, one experiences symptoms like shortness of breath and tiredness. In the earlier stages of this disease, people feel breathless when they exercise. However, it becomes hard even to breathe in and breathe out as the disease progresses.
A COPD patient may have inflammation or emphysema. Lung inflammation or bronchitis occurs due to obstruction in the breathing tubes, and this obstruction narrows down more than usual. As a result, the person will be unable to breathe freely. Emphysema is a condition where sacs of the lungs are damaged and lose their elasticity. This can also narrow the breathing airways and prevent the lungs from emptying the air.
3. Sleep Apnea:
Sleep apnea is a common lung problem that causes your breathing to stop or get very shallow. People with this problem suddenly stop breathing for a few seconds or minutes and restart breathing with a snort or choking sound. This pattern occurs 30 times or more in an hour.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of this condition where your airway blocks and collapses during sleep. Not everyone who snores during sleep has sleep apnea but people with this condition often snore loudly.
4. Interstitial Lung Disease:
An interstitial lung disease is a group of lung problems characterised by inflammation and the permanent formation of scars. The reason for inflammation is not precisely known. When inflammation becomes intense, it leads to scar formation called fibrosis. These scars disturb the air sacs in your lungs and become stiff, resulting in restrictions in air movement.
Pneumonia is one of the most life-threatening lung conditions common among older people and children. It can occur due to viruses or bacteria when you or your child is exposed to the environment or accidentally inhale droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing.
Some are at a greater risk of pneumonia because of poor nutritional status, comorbidities, and poor immunity. When viruses like influenza or COVID 19 attack a person, it can lead to severe pneumonia. Quite often, severe pneumonia tends to kill a person. Hence it is advisable to get vaccine shots for influenza, COVID and pneumonia.
6. Cystic Fibrosis:
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic and inherited condition characterised by thick mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. When mucus forms in the lungs, it blocks the airflow and makes it difficult to breathe, eventually leading to lung damage. Cystic fibrosis was earlier considered a life-threatening condition. Still, recent advances in medicine and healthcare have made it possible to manage and improve survival.
7. Lung Cancer:
Lung cancer generally starts in the cells lining the bronchi and parts of the lung like the bronchioles or alveoli. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer are two main types of lung cancer. NSCLC constitutes about 80-85% of lung cancer cases. The remaining 10-15% of lung cancers are small-cell lung cancers, spreading faster than NSCLC.
A lung carcinoid tumour is a rare type of lung cancer that grows slowly. Another way by which a person can get lung cancer is when the cancer cells from other organs spread and develop in the lungs through metastasis.
What Are The Chronic Respiratory Diseases Risk Factors?
Now that we have discussed what are the chronic respiratory diseases, we will further discuss the common risk factors that might increase your chances of getting lung problems. Although chronic lung diseases have different origins, patterns and treatments, some things that cause them are common.
You might be hearing this for the millionth time, but that does not take away the fact that smoking is one of the most frequent causes of lung disorders. The smoke you inhale through cigarettes or cigars clog the airways and leads to obstruction, resulting in various lung problems.
2. Environmental Exposure:
Secondhand smoke, chemicals at home and the workplace can cause or worsen lung problems. Make your house and car smoke-free. Avoid exercising outside if you feel the air quality is bad. Discuss with your healthcare practitioner if you are worried that something in your home, school or work may be making you sick.
3. Air Quality:
The outdoor air quality can differ from one day to another. Bad air quality can pose health risks on inhaling. Understanding how bad air quality affects your health and learning useful strategies to minimize your exposure can help you and your family maintain your well-being. Changes in climate and disasters can also directly affect your lungs.
4. Diet and Nutrition:
Altering your lifestyle according to your health goes a long way. Maintain your body weight with a balanced diet as being overweight causes further trouble to your breathing.
6. Pre-existing Medical Conditions:
Some are at a greater risk of acquiring lung problems because they might be having other health issues like compromised immune systems or chronic disorders. Even substances that you accidentally inhale can trigger respiratory problems.
Some lung diseases are termed chronic for a reason. They do not go away. When you start disciplining your lifestyle through certain modifications, it will be easier for you to manage your symptoms. Your physician might prescribe certain medications to minimise your symptoms and prevent further lung damage so that it does not disturb your daily life. Practice regular check-ups, even if you are healthy. This can help us to detect the disease since some may arise due to genetic reasons as well. Regular health check-ups, balanced diet, and exercise, staying stress-free helps to keep yourself healthy and away from diseases.