What is lung disease?

Lung disease is very prevalent in the United States, and comes in many different forms. Two of the common forms of lung disease will be discussed more in-depth which are asthma and COPD. Additional common forms of lung disease are cystic fibrosis, emphysema, pneumonia, or chronic bronchitis. The job of the lungs is to help us breathe. Lung disease can lead to lung cancer, respiratory infections, or respiratory failure. 



Since there are many different forms of lung disease, there are also many possible causes of lung disease. Cigarette smoking is a common cause in all lung diseases, as well as lung cancer. Lung disease may also be caused by viral, bacterial, or fungal infections. Additional causes behind lung disease include family history, exposure to environmental factors, exposure to toxins, or air pollution.

Diagnosis & Treatment?

Diagnostic testing for lung disease varies on the type of lung disease suspected. Common testing includes blood work, sputum test, chest x-ray, EKG, CT scan, and sometimes a biopsy.. A spirometer may also be used, and this tests the amount of air a person can breathe in and out, the speed, and breathing after exercise. 

Similar to diagnosis, treatment will depend on the type of lung disease and severity. Medications including steroids and inhalers are one option for treating lung disease. Supplemental oxygen may also be used a -home or while sleeping. Additional treatment options are rehab centers that improve breathing and lung function, or surgery. Your doctor will determine the most appropriate treatment option for you.  



One of the top prevention methods for lung disease is to stop smoking, or to not start smoking. Smoking increases the risk of all lung diseases, and lung cancer. Additional prevention methods for lung disease are to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals, avoid environmental factors, and avoid getting sick if possible.

For more information: https://www.lung.org/

What is asthma?

Asthma is a form of lung disease that can cause your airways to be more narrow. The severity of asthma can range from mild breathing difficulties to severe asthma attacks where an individual needs emergency medical care. Some with asthma may experience wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, or coughing. Asthma can affect individuals of any age. In Texas, roughly 7.1% of residents have been diagnosed with asthma. Compared to the national average in the United States of 7.8%.


Asthma can be caused by a majority of factors including genetics or environmental factors. Environmental factors that can trigger asthma can include allergies, cold air, air pollution, smoking, or respiratory infections. Additional factors that may lead to an asthma attack are acid reflux, certain medications, stress, and certain foods or drinks. 

Diagnosis & Treatment?

Diagnostic testing for asthma will usually begin with the doctor obtaining a complete physical exam and medical history including allergies, past medical history, social history (such as smoking), and family history. Then testing such as spirometry, allergy testing, or chest x-ray may be used to further diagnose asthma.

The most common treatment option for asthma is the use of inhalers. There are multiple types and strengths of inhalers, your doctor will recommend the best inhaler for you. Additionally medications, breathing treatments, or allergy shots may be used for asthma control. 


Preventing asthma can start with avoiding allergens such as grass, hay, dust, or pets if you know you have an allergy. Additionally, cleaning your home dust free and pet hair free will help with breathing concerns. If you are diagnosed with asthma, it is important to follow your doctor’s treatment plan to avoid severe asthma attacks. 

For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/default.htm

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) is a form of lung disease that can cause air passage blockage and difficulty breathing. COPD can lead to additional complications such as lung cancer, heart disease, increased blood pressure, or increased respiratory infections. Chronic inflammation of the air passages is why breathing problems arise with COPD. In Texas there are between 4.9-5.3% of adults living with COPD as of 2019. Taylor County Texas had a COPD percentage of 9.0-10.9% as of 2018. 


The main cause of COPD, similar to most lung diseases, is cigarette smoking. COPD may also be caused by prolonged exposure to environmental factors, smoke, or air pollution. Genetics may also play a role in COPD onset. Additionally, other diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema can also result in COPD. 

Diagnosis & Treatment?

COPD diagnosis often begins with a complete physical exam and medical history by your doctor. Your doctor will want any known allergies, environmental exposure, past medical history, family history, and if you have a history of smoking. Additional diagnostic tools include a chest x-ray, CT scan, blood work, or lung function testing. 

If you are a smoker, then the key treatment component for COPD is to stop smoking. As well as, avoiding any smoke exposure. Additional treatment options for COPD include medications, breathing treatments, at home oxygen support, inhalers, or respiratory rehab. 


Prevention for COPD’s key factor to stop smoking! Additionally avoid smoke exposure such as second hand smoke or fire burning smoke. Regular checkups with your doctor, and understanding your risk of developing COPD are also important in preventing COPD. 

For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/copd/index.html