Diseases of the lungs

The respiratory system supplies the body with the oxygen and removes carbon dioxyde, this function is needed for the metabolic activities in the cells.

The respiratory system includes; the nose, mouth, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, lungs, and the muscles of respiration, such as the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm.

When respiratory system disorders occur serious and often life-threatening consequences can result like shortness of breath, fever, chest pain, coughing, excess sputum production, and hemoptysis (coughing up blood).

The most lung diseasesn are:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Emphysema
  • Pneumonia
  • cancer


Tuberculosis (also known as consumption) is a chronic disease that primarily involves the lungs, although other parts of the body can be affected. It is caused by the tubercle bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis. When infected with this organism, the individual develops a delayed hypersensitivity response that surrounds the bacteria with macrophages and B and T lymphocytes, forming a walled-off area called a granuloma. Granulomas are referred to as tubercles and are characteristic of the disease.


Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses, and other infectious agents that result in inflammation and consolidation (solidification) of the gas exchange units of the lung (alveoli). Persons with pneumonia frequently develop fever, chest pain, and rapid breathing. When the disease involves a significant portion of the lung, shortness of breath may develop.


The most common form of pulmonary emphysema is centrilobular emphysema, and it is caused by cigarette smoke. This disease usually involves the upper lobes of the lungs and is characterized by the breakdown and permanent loss of lung tissue, resulting in large cystic spaces in the lung referred to as blebs. Emphysema is usually associated with chronic bronchitis, and individuals with the combination of diseases, often termed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), will often have shortness of breath on exertion and usually have excess sputum production.

Lung cancer

Approximately 90% of lung cancers can be attributed to the carcinogens present in cigarette smoke. Lung cancer may be detected in asymptomatic persons with a routine chest x-ray, or it may be discovered as a result of pain, excess coughing, or hemoptysis. 

Other lung diseases

  • Diseases of the air passages: for exemple Chronic bronchitis.
  • Pulmonary circulatory diseases
  • Neuromuscular diseases: poliomyelitis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

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