COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information

Your health and safety are our top priorities. Learn more about our COVID-19 evaluation and testing and our commitment to providing great care while maintaining the safest environment possible.

Health Library

Lung disease
Site Map

Lung disease

Lung disease is any problem in the lungs that prevents the lungs from working properly. There are three main types of lung disease:

  1. Airway diseases -- These diseases affect the tubes (airways) that carry oxygen and other gases into and out of the lungs. They usually cause a narrowing or blockage of the airways. Airway diseases include asthma, COPD and bronchiectasis. People with airway diseases often say they feel as if they're "trying to breathe out through a straw."
  2. Lung tissue diseases -- These diseases affect the structure of the lung tissue. Scarring or inflammation of the tissue makes the lungs unable to expand fully (restrictive lung disease). This makes it hard for the lungs to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. People with this type of lung disorder often say they feel as if they are "wearing a too-tight sweater or vest." As a result, they can't breathe deeply. Pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis are examples of lung tissue disease.
  3. Lung circulation diseases -- These diseases affect the blood vessels in the lungs. They are caused by clotting, scarring, or inflammation of the blood vessels. They affect the ability of the lungs to take up oxygen and release carbon dioxide. These diseases may also affect heart function. An example of a lung circulation disease is pulmonary hypertension. People with these conditions often feel very short of breath when they exert themselves.

Many lung diseases involve a combination of these three types.

The most common lung diseases include:

Images

Pulmonary mass - side view chest X-ray
Lung mass, right lung - CT scan
Lung mass, right upper lung - chest X-ray
Lung with squamous cell cancer - CT scan
Secondhand smoke and lung cancer
Yellow nail syndrome
Respiratory system

Related Information

Asthma
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Sarcoidosis
Asbestosis
Pulmonary aspergilloma
Aspergillosis
Atelectasis
Simple pulmonary eosinophilia
Lung cancer - small cell
Lung metastases
Aspiration pneumonia
Pleural effusion
Coal worker's pneumoconiosis
Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia
Community-acquired pneumonia in adults
Pneumonia - weakened immune system
Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)
Pulmonary actinomycosis
Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis
Pulmonary arteriovenous fistula
Pulmonary edema
Pulmonary embolus
Histiocytosis
Pulmonary hypertension
Pulmonary nocardiosis
Pulmonary tuberculosis
Pulmonary veno-occlusive disease
Rheumatoid lung disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - adults - discharge
COPD - control drugs
COPD - quick-relief drugs

References

Kraft M. Approach to the patient with respiratory disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 83.

Reid PT, Innes JA. Respiratory medicine. In: Ralston SH, Penman ID, Strachan MWJ, Hobson RP, eds. Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Ltd; 2019:chap 17.

BACK TO TOP

Review Date: 7/28/2018  

Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM Quality Logo

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, for Health Content Provider (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2020 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.