Common Types of Lung Disease


Asthma is a chronic disease that can be life threatening if not treated properly. A patient with asthma finds it more difficult to move air in and out of the lungs. During breathing, air passes through the nose, down the throat and into the lungs — where it flows into branching tubes (airways) in the lungs. The airways of a patient with asthma are often swollen and inflamed. This may make them more sensitive to environmental triggers, such as dust, chemicals, smoke and pet dander. When a patient with asthma breathes in a trigger, the lung’s airways produce extra mucus and swell. This narrows the space for the air to move in and out. Narrowing often combines with a tightening of the muscles that wrap around the airways — making breathing even more difficult. If this happens, the patient is likely having an asthma attack. The Mayo Clinic recommends seeking emergency care if you need to stop to catch your breath, or if you’re using your abdominal muscles to breathe. Doctors may prescribe medication to get breathing problems under immediate control. There is no cure for asthma.

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Review Date: 
May 28, 2015

Last Updated:
May 28, 2015