What are they?
The term lung disease refers to many disorders that can compromise the functionality of the lungs, with negative repercussions of the oxygenation process, which is essential for our survival.
Disorders are classified into different types depending on which area of the lungs the disorder occurs, namely the intrapulmonary pathways, the pulmonary interstitium or the pleura.
There may be different causes for lung diseases:
- Infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria or fungi;
- Environmental agents such as toxic, chemical or dust pollutants;
- Lung Structural changes;
- Neoplastic processes affecting the lungs;
- Low immune defenses;
- Chest injuries.
Depending on which anatomical region the disorder develops, we can have different lung disorders:
- They can affect the intrapulmonary pathways, or the internal bronchial tree. This category includes asthma, acute bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
- They can affect the pulmonary alveoli, tiny air sacs in your lungs that take up the oxygen you breathe in . This category includes pneumonia, tuberculosis, pulmonary edema, lung cancer and pneumoconiosis.
- They can affect the pulmonary arteries carry oxygen–poor blood from the right ventricle into the lungs. In this category we have pulmonary embolism or pulmonary hypertension.
- They can affect the pleura, which is a serous membrane that surrounds the lungs, giving them elasticity for oxygen exchanges.
Although there are different forms of lung disorders in general the symptoms are similar:
- Dyspnea and difficulty in breathing;
- Physical fatigue;
- Weight loss;
- Mental confusion;
- High fever;
- Recurring allergies.
In case of light pulmonary disorders, the symptoms are limited to continuous cough and slight difficulty in breathing. Instead if the condition is more chronic, the symptoms are dyspnea, chronic fatigue, feeling of fainting and continuous pain in the chest.
Pulmonologists specialize in diagnosing and treating lung-based and other respiratory conditions. Based on the outcome of the visit, the doctor will be decided whether to carry out chest CT scan, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the chest , arterial blood gas (ABG) test, lung biopsy, thoracentesis or chest PET.
In most cases of pulmonary diseases, a drug therapy is prescribed to allow the patient to breathe properly.
Among the drugs used for lung diseases we have:
- Bronchodilators, among which we can find anticholinergics, which prevent the stimulation of receptors in the smooth muscle of the bronchi or steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, inhibit the infiltration of inflammatory cells and the release of inflammation mediators.
- Mucolytics that are believed to increase expectoration of sputum by reducing its viscosity.
- Codeine decreases activity in the brain, specifically the area that regulates coughing.
- Cromoglicate inhibits mast-cell degranulation and histamine release.
The side effects of these drugs include:
- Gastrointestinal disorders such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhea;
- Dermatological disorders such as eczema, edema and irritation of the mucous membranes;
- Heart conditions such as arrhythmias and palpitations;
- Tremors, dizziness and sweating.
Surely a healthy lifestyle and a correct diet are fundamental factors for the prevention of respiratory diseases.
In general, the guidelines to be followed and respected are as follows:
- Carry out a dynamic lifestyle and avoid a sedentary lifestyle;
- Visceral obesity, or the accumulation of fat in the abdominal area, hinders the activity of the lungs and creates alterations in the breathing process;
- Reduce the consumption of saturated fat and salt, that have an inflammatory action;
- Prefer foods rich in vitamin C, namely broccoli, peppers, carrots, spinach, apricots, citrus fruits, kiwi, grapefruit that have a regenerating action on the lung mucous membrane;
- Onion is rich in quercetin, an antioxidant with a regenerative action on the mucous membrane of the lungs;
- Blue fish is rich in omega 3 that has an anti-inflammatory actions;
- Apples are rich in bioflavonoids that have an anti-tumor action for the lungs;
- Green cabbage is rich in antioxidants, such as caffeic acid, which reduce oxidative stress on the lungs;
- Berries are rich in polyphenols with an anti-inflammatory action for the entire respiratory system;
- Ginger root is one of the best, and most readily available, superfoods that you can consume for daily detoxification support.