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6 Diseases That Can Damage Your Lungs (Besides COVID-19)

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  • Asthma – For someone that suffers from asthma, breathing can be sometimes extremely difficult. The airways can become swollen and narrow. The person feels as if they cannot get enough air. Asthma events can occur after the person has been exposed to a “trigger”, like smoking, pollution, or pet hair. At least 25 million people in America suffer from asthma. It is a chronic condition, so there is no cure for it.
  • COPD – COPD thickens and produces damage to the airways. Over time, this kind of damage results in the lungs producing more mucus than usual, clogging up the airways. The usual symptoms of COPD are coughing up lots of mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing, and a tight chest. The principal cause of COPD is smoking, and there is no cure for this condition. It is a progressive disease that ends up getting worse over time, especially if the person doesn’t quit smoking.
  • Bronchiectasis – This disease targets the small airways in the lungs called bronchi. The walls of your bronchi become thick and they get swollen, which only prevents the lungs from working properly. It can also lead to a buildup of excess mucus, and infections. Some symptoms include coughing up blood, shortness of breath, feeling exhausted, fever, chills, a whistling sound when breathing, and chest pain. There is no cure for this disease, and the symptoms worsen over time.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis – Pulmonary fibrosis causes scarring of the lungs. It makes it difficult for the body to get the proper oxygen into its bloodstream. The most common symptoms are shortness of breath that worsens during exercise, a dry cough, fast and shallow breathing, tiredness, and aching joints and muscles.
  • Sarcoidosis – Sarcoidosis is a condition that appears when a person’s immune system cells clump, in order to form granulomas. While it can happen in any organ, the lungs are most commonly affected. The general symptoms are feeling tired or having a fever. While most people will feel better (even without treatment), in others, sarcoidosis can lead to permanent lung scarring. Just like with pulmonary fibrosis, it might make it more difficult for the body to get its needed oxygen.
  • Pulmonary hypertension – Pulmonary hypertension is by far the most common lung circulation disease. It occurs when high blood pressure damages the lung’s blood vessels, making them stiff and narrow. This causes the heart to pump harder. The symptoms include fatigue, chest pain, lightheadedness or fainting, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and edema. There are many complications linked to this condition, which include heart failure, blood clots, bleeding in the lungs, and liver damage.
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