Infectious DiseasesAsthmaChronic bronchitisChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)Common coldInfluenza (flu)PneumoniaPulmonary embolismRespiratory DiseasesTuberculosis

Lungs under Siege: Insights on ‘5’ Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory Diseases


Respiratory diseases are the diseases related to lungs and airways which directly affect respiration. As other bodily systems respiratory system may also get infected which may pose serious complications. The respiratory diseases and infections lead towards inflammatory reactions. Owing to which swelling of lining of mucus happens which results in hypoventilation of difficulty in respirations. However, fibrosis occurs in chronic conditions.

During respiratory diseases, not only inflammatory reactions occur but also mucus secretions increases which cause airways obstructions and damage lung tissues which cause blockages. It is vital to gain expansion of the areas in timely fashion to prevent further damage and to regain lungs functionality.

What are types of respiratory diseases?

The respiratory diseases may be of two types i.e. infectious or chronic.

  • Infectious respiratory diseases are basically caused by bacteria or virus. In case of viral infections, the virus replicates in the cell and cause disease like flu. The people with compromised immunity may become victim of infections of and on.
  • Chronic respiratory diseases are of two types i.e. obstructive or restrictive infections. Chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) are infections which may affect millions of people around the globe. CRDs mainly affect airways and structure of lungs.

Obstructive chronic disease related to blockages or narrow down of airways which cause problems while exhaling due to which old air cannot be easily exchanged with fresh air e.g. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) , asthma, bronchiectasis and fibrosis.

Restrictive conditions may reduce the capacity of lungs to hold the volume of air e.g.  Cancer, sarcoidosis and fibrosis.

Some Respiratory Diseases

Here are few most common and damaging respiratory diseases which need prompt medical checkups and timely treatments. Let’s discuss the disease in detail:


Asthma is considered a main non-communicable disease (NCD) and chronic lung disease  which not only affects children but also adults but its more common among children. Asthma is basically caused due to narrowing down of airways in lungs. Asthma may take any condition like wheezing, coughing, breath shortening or tightening of chest.

According to available body of research, asthma affected around 262 million people and cause 455000 deaths in 2019. However, if properly addressed people could survive and live a normal and happy life through medications. 

Asthma if unaddressed poses serious problems because its symptoms may vary person to person. The symptoms of asthma become really worse during night and while exercising.

However, as far as common symptoms are concerned they are:

  • Persistent cough at night
  • Wheezing
  • Shortening of breath
  • Tightening of chest

Asthmatic conditions may become more cumbersome during seasonal shifts and colds. Furthermore, triggers like fumes, smog, smoke grass and pollen, fur, fathers, soaps and perfumes also affect.

As far as, causes of asthma are concerned some common causes are as follows:

  • Its spread may be due to family spread. If parents or any sibling is having asthma then others may have serious threat as well.
  • If anyone is confronting from allergies like eczema than the chances of its contamination may be present.
  • One of main causes is urbanization due to certain factor.
  • Other life events pose serious probability to encounter asthma owing to events like smoke exposure, low weight at the time of birth, pollution, prematurity and any exposure to viral respiratory tract infections.
  • Exposure to fumes, smog, dust, moulds, mites and chemicals.
  • Adults as well as children who are over- weight are more prone to asthmatic attacks.

Chronic Bronchitis

When bronchi become inflamed, it’s called bronchitis. In this condition severe cough, mucus discharge, pain in the chest, wheezing, and shortness of breath could happen. There are mainly two types of bronchitis i.e. chronic and acute.

Acute bronchitis is a common infection which is like cold which end up in a week or so. While, chronic bronchitis is serious infection. It may last for longer period of time and cause mucus discharge and breathing problem.

There are certain things which are worth mentioning like

  • Chronic bronchitis is one of the infections which comes under the head of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
  • Smoking is major cause of bronchitis. However, family history, exposure to gases, chemicals or dust may worsen the situation.
  • Although, chronic bronchitis is not reversible however there are number of treatments which could curb its spread further like bronchodilators, oxygen therapy and rehabilitation.

Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

Pulmonary embolism means a presence of a blood clot in lungs blood vessels. It usually happens when a blood clot travels from arm or leg an reaches lungs. Pulmonary embolism cause blockage of blood to lungs, which results in lowering down the oxygen in lungs and cause raised blood pressure in pulmonary artery. If not addressed timely it main cause serious lung or heart damage and may also results in death (in about 33% cases).

In US around 350000 people got pulmonary embolism. It is considered as a third major heart disease after heart attack and stroke.

As far as, warning signs of PE are chest pain and shortness of breath. It may become even worse when you take a deep breath. It may results in bloody mucus discharge. Although, really fatal yet PE is treatable.

The main symptoms of pulmonary embolism are:

  • Shortness of breath which commonly occurs suddenly irrespective of the fact that you are sleeping or performing any task.
  • Pain in arm, chest, neck or shoulder. The pain may be like heart attack.
  • Cough
  • Blue/pale/clammy  skin
  • Sweating
  • Rapid pulse
  • Wheezing


Pneumonia is a serious infection of lungs which is caused by virus, bacteria and fungi. It may affect one of both lungs. In pneumonia the air sacs in lungs filled up by liquid or pus. Lobar pneumonia affects one or more lobes of lung while bronchial pneumonia affects patches in both lungs.

There are more than 30 causes of pneumonia but here are some major causes which are as follows:

Bacterial Pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonia is commonly caused by streptococcus pneumonia. It may affect anyone in any age group but its more serious for those who are under nutrition, old age, immunity compromised and confronting from viral respiratory infections or confronted from surgery.

Viral Pneumonia

It is commonly like flu (influenza) and responsible for around 1/3rd cases. It is common to confront bacterial pneumonia along with bacterial pneumonia.

Mycoplasmic Pneumonia

It is commonly called as atypical pneumonia due to changed sign and symptoms. It is due to bacteria known as mycoplasma pneumoniae. It cause mild but cover all age groups.

Fungal Pneumonia

It is due to fungi.

Pneumonia may affect children and adults also. However, the age groups which are at high risk are:

  • Old age people like more than 65 years
  • Smokers
  • Immunity compromised people

As far as, symptoms of pneumonia is concerned they are as follows:

  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough and mucus
  • Delirium state f mind
  • Bluish lips or nails
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid pulse
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Muscle pain
  • Lethargy

Tuberculosis (TB)

 Tuberculosis is bacterial infection caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis and its most commonly affect lungs. It spreads through coughing, sneezing and spitting infected person.

Although, it is treatable even then 10 million people got infected and around 1.5 million die which makes it world’s top infection which kills. TB is prime cause of HIV patient’s death and heavily contributes in antimicrobial resistance.

It is observed in research studies that about half of infected TB patients reside in 8 countries including Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Philippines.

Tuberculosis is may be of three types of stages

Primary Tuberculosis

It is first stage of TB. In this stage of TB immune system fights against germs and kill them but few germs remain alive and multiply. Most of the people get symptom like flu like cough, low grade fever and lethargy.

Latent TB

Latent TB is a stage which may not characterized by any symptoms because immune system keep them under control but germs survive and may become active when immune system loosen the grip.

Active TB

Active tuberculosis is third stage where the immune system gets weaker and loses control over germs. In this stage, germs cause infection and may affect lungs or other body parts like brain, heart muscles, genitals, lever, kidneys, bones, intestine or lymphatic system even which is called as extra pulmonary infection.

The common symptoms of active tuberculosis are as under:

  • Cough
  • Sputum
  • Pain in chest
  • Fever and chills
  • Night sweating
  • Loss of weight and appetite
  • Lethargy and fatigue


Respiratory diseases are a wide array of infections but in this article few major diseases are discussed like chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, asthma, pulmonary embolism and pneumonia. Respiratory diseases affect lungs and its functioning. The major chunk of respiratory diseases is in third world countries which need timely and objective plan of action.

The need of time is to increase social awareness and mobilization and promote health care services to properly tackle down the adverse effects of respiratory diseases. Timely treatment may hamper the adverse effects of respiratory diseases.


What are respiratory diseases?

Respiratory diseases are the diseases related to lungs and airways which directly affect respiration.

What are types of respiratory diseases?

The respiratory diseases may be of two types i.e. infectious or chronic.

What are symptoms of asthma?

·         Persistent cough at night
·         Wheezing
·         Shortening of breath
·         Tightening of chest

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