Lung disease affects millions of Americans. All of the types of lung disease together make it the third largest killer of Americans. On a normal day, you breathe 25,000 times, and lung disease prevents your body from getting enough oxygen.
Types of Lung Disease
There are three main types of lung disease, many of which may be a combination of these types:
Airway diseases—these affect the tubes (or airways) that carry air into and out of the lungs. Diseases such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis narrow or block these airways, making you feel like you are breathing through a straw.
Lung tissue diseases—these affect the structure of the lung tissue, such as inflammation or scarring that prevent the lungs from fully expanding, making it hard for you to take in oxygen or expel carbon dioxide. Diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis are forms of lung tissue disease. These diseases make it hard to draw a deep breath.
Lung circulation diseases—these affect the blood vessels in the lungs, caused by inflammation, clotting or scaring of the pulmonary blood vessels. This affects the ability of the lungs to take up oxygen or expel carbon dioxide, and this may also affect the functioning of the heart.
Lung disease can take many forms, including:
- Lung cancer
- Lung infections such as influenza and pneumonia
- Asthma and chronic bronchitis
- Sarcoidosis and pulmonary fibrosis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema
- Pulmonary edema
Why Choose Northwestern Memorial?
The Thoracic Surgery Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital offers the latest surgical procedures for benign and malignant diseases of the chest, including the lungs, tracheobronchial tree (airways), pleura, diaphragm, chest wall and mediastinum.