OTHER LUNG DISEASES
There are 2 different categories for having a cough- acute cough (cough usually caused from flu, cold or sinus infection) or chronic cough (a cough that lasts more than 3 weeks). Coughing is important for people to be able to clear their airways or throat, but a cough that is uncontrolled may be caused by a disorder or disease process. A “productive cough” is when you cough up mucus or phlegm. There are many causes for chronic coughing such as asthma, allergic rhinosinusitis, smoking, COPD, certain medications, lung infections or GERD.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease process where the tissue in your lungs become “scarred” ( thick and stiff). This can cause you to feel short of breath because oxygen is not able to come in and out of the airways as easily. Pulmonary fibrosis can be caused by environmental pollutants, recurring infections, radiation treatments, certain medications, interstitial lung diseases and connective tissue disorders. Common symptoms can include shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, weight loss, and clubbing of the fingers.
Pulmonary hypertension is a condition where the blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs becomes too high. The blood vessels that carry the blood from your heart to your lungs become hard and narrow which causes the heart to work harder to pump the blood. Overtime, the heart becomes over worked and starts to weaken and can develop into heart failure. Common symptoms can include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, increased heart rate, and weight loss.
A pulmonary nodule is spot or lesion found on the lungs on a CT scan or chest x-ray. Most nodules found are benign (noncancerous). These are usually caused by old scars or infections such as tuberculosis. A malignant (cancerous) nodule is usually caused from lung cancer. Depending on your symptoms or the size and shape of the nodule, your doctor may want to just repeat chest scans and watch it to see if it becomes larger over time or they may choose to biopsy the nodule.
SHORTNESS OF BREATH
Shortness of breath, often called dyspnea, is ones subjective symptom of feeling as if they are not getting enough air. It can be characterized in 3 different ways- difficulty breathing, uncomfortable breathing or the feeling of “air hunger” (not getting enough air). There are many causes of shortness of breath but the most common cases are caused from asthma, allergies, obesity, pneumonia, heart failure or heart problems, interstitial lung disease, COPD or from psychogenic causes. You should always contact your health care provider or seek emergency care if you experience shortness of breath with: chest pain, fever, tightness in the throat, barking cough, you have choked or breathed in a foreign objected or you have uncontrolled wheezing.