If you think cough medication and cough drops are enough to ease your coughing spasms, think again. The lungs are some of the most sensitive organs of the body, and a little cough might be an indication of something more serious. Even something minute as dust and dirt can affect your lungs. In worst cases, you might develop a chronic respiratory disease that could affect your heart and your overall health.
Life-Threatening Lung Problems
According to the latest study from the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, lung disease is the leading cause of mortality in many parts of the world, claiming as much as 4 million people every year. In the last thirty years alone, the number of people who fell victim to COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease has doubled. In most cases, the primary reason for this is the lack of understanding of how these conditions can be treated.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
The first thing that you must understand about COPD is that it is not one specific diagnosis. It is a term used by any physician to denote several lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Of the two, it is emphysema that can be life-threatening.
Most studies point to smoking as the main cause of COPD; however, exposure of fumes, as well as secondhand smoke, might also lead to COPD. Physicians in Des Moines, Iowa also add that humid conditions, like the one in Des Moines, could increase the risk for COPD. If you notice cough with mucus that has not gone away for months, you should visit your doctor immediately.
Pulmonary fibrosis is typically seen in people regularly exposed to asbestos as well as those who are undergoing chemotherapy. This lung disease can affect people of all ages, although, the older the person is, the worse the prognosis might be. Genetics also play a factor in increasing the likelihood of developing this disease.
This type of lung disease primarily affects the alveoli, more commonly known as the air sacs, making it stiff. There is currently no known cure for this condition. What medical science can offer is the management of the symptoms. In severe cases, a recommendation for a lung transplant is often a recommendation.
While COPD and Pulmonary Fibrosis are typically brought about by your lifestyle, cystic fibrosis is mainly a genetic disorder. The mucus in your body becomes thick and sticky. This means that, instead of allowing the easy passage of air, for example, the mucus builds up along the air tubes, consequently causing a blockage. This, in turn, makes it harder to breathe. Now, this same mucus buildup can trap germs; however, since they are unable to move, it soon leads to infection.
The Last Resort
These lung diseases can become serious, and some patients might consider getting a lung transplant. But it is always best to always consult your doctor, especially if you are prone to respiratory illnesses such as coughs and colds. A lung transplant is always the last resort, usually recommended for those who have already gone through other modes of treatment but have not shown any improvement or change.