Diseases in the respiratory system

By Giulia Caramellino and Katie Wiener

Lung diseases in the airways

Lung diseases that affect the airways are asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD), chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and cystic fibrosis.

Below are the Descriptions of the most common diseases listed above


The airways get inflamed and can spasm causing wheezing and shortness of breath. The inflammation makes the airways sensitive and swollen. Coughing often occurs during the night or early in the morning. Asthma affects people of all ages, although it normally starts early on in life.


There is an inability to exhale normally which causes difficulty breathing. COPD normally blocks airflow. It is a progressive disease because it gets worse over time. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have it either smoke or used to smoke.

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is a form of COPD with chronic cough. Bronchitis is the inflammation of the lining of the airways. It is harder to breathe when your airways are infected and/or inflamed.


Emphysema is a form of COPD. Air gets trapped in the lungs and there is difficulty to exhale. Emphysema damages the alveoli in your lungs gradually. It is a progressive disease and damages your lungs over time.

Cystic fibrosis

This is a genetic disease that makes it difficult to remove mucus from the bronchi. The mucus accumulates and causes lung infections. This disease is inherited and damages the lungs and digestive system.

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Lung diseases in the air sacs

Lung diseases that affect the air sacs (alveoli) are pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB), pulmonary edema, and lung cancer.

Below are the descriptions of the most common diseases listed above

Lung cancer

The cancer has many forms and can develop anywhere in the lungs. Most of the time its in the main parts of the lungs or in the air sacs. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Normal prognosis of lung cancer is not good because doctors don't normally find it until it is at an advanced stage.


An infection of the alveoli. They get infected usually by bacteria. The infection inflames the air sacs in one or more lungs and can fill with fluid. Pneumonia clears up in about 2 to 3 weeks


Progressed pneumonia caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the body but in some cases it can also infect other organs. It can attack the spine, kidney, and brain.

Pulmonary edema

Fluid leaks from the small blood vessels in the lung into the air sacs. This can be cause by heart failure. Pulmonary edema is usually caused by heart failure. Blood gets backed up in the veins and can end up in the lungs.

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