The lung is a respiratory organ that transports oxygen that has been breathed in through the mouth or nose into the blood stream. The lungs also allow for the evacuation of carbon dioxide into the air from the blood stream. Lung inflammation occurs when the lungs become inflamed due to a virus or an infection. The treatment for lung inflammation is determined by the cause of the inflammation. There are many causes of lung inflammation.
There are several symptoms of lung inflammation, such as a fever, coughs, chills and shortness of breath. Sharp pains while inhaling, shallow breaths and chest pains during deep breaths are all signs of inflammations in the lungs. If you have pleurisy there will be limited movement on the side of the chest that has the pleurisy. A doctor with a stethoscope will hear a coarse, creaky sound. Elevated body temperatures are also a symptom of lung inflammation.
Inflammation of the lungs happens along the respiratory pathway. The respiratory pathway begins with the nasopharynx and the oropharynx, which is located at the back of the throat where the air goes down when we breathe. The air goes through the larynx, which is the voice box, and the trachea, which is commonly known as the wind pipe. The air than goes through a subdivided area of the lungs that includes the bronchi and bronchioles, and the air ends at the alveoli, which is where the carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged.
The leading cause of lung inflammation is a virus or infection. One of the most common causes of lung inflammation is pleurisy. The pleura resembles a sack that is formed around the lungs. This infection is caused by a bacteria or a virus. Bronchitis is caused by an infection that inflames the airway within the lungs. Bronchiolitis--the inflammation of the bronchioles, which are the air passages of the lungs--is caused by a virus.
Lung inflammation is commonly treated with aspirin or other NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Indocin, which reduce fever, pain and inflammation. Codeine may also be given to patients who experience a lot of pain. Thoracentesis is a procedure that helps patients breathe more easily and removes the effusion (escape of fluid) in the lungs. To help lower the risk of lung inflammation it is important not to smoke, to stay away from asbestos and to protect yourself from chemicals and dust. A healthy diet is also beneficial to build a healthy immune system to fight off infection.
Lung inflammation may be a symptom of a more severe medical condition, such as lung disease. There are over 1500 causes of lung inflammation, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the cause of the inflammation to the lungs as well as a proper treatment. Certain symptoms such as a high fever, difficulty breathing and pain in the lungs are considered a medical emergency, and you should contact your doctor immediately.