Every cell in your body depends on the proper functioning of your lungs. The lungs play a vital role in delivering life-sustaining oxygen and removing the carbon dioxide you don’t need. Any type of damage to the lungs is serious and needs to be thoroughly evaluated by a pulmonologist. Pulmonary Associates of Richmond shares some common causes of damaged lungs and the guidelines we use to treat it.
Causes of Lung Damage
There are many causes of lung damage. These include:
- Cigarette smoking. This is the number one cause of lung damage. Exposure to secondhand smoke also causes damage.
- Asbestos. In the past, this naturally occurring material was widely used in insulation, cement, adhesives, floor tiles, roofing materials, and many other products. Breathing in asbestos fibers harms lung cells and causes lung scarring.
- Radon. This is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas present in air and water. It isn’t harmful in small amounts, but larger amounts can damage the lining of the lungs.
- Air pollution. Car exhaust and other air pollutants cause various lung diseases, including COPD, cancer, and asthma.
- Mold. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), mold has the “potential of producing allergic and non-allergic lung diseases.”
- Carpet. Carpets can trap pollutants such as dust mites, pet dander, cockroach droppings, and mold spores. Daily activities such as walking on the carpet and vacuuming can release these pollutants in the air and damage your lungs.
- Viruses. It is now well known that COVID-19 can result in serious lung damage that requires medical treatment.
Damaged Lungs Can Repair Themselves, But…
Fortunately, the lungs are very good at cleaning and self-repair. This allows us to recover from lung diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis completely.
But there is a limit to the lungs’ capacity to heal themselves. The chronic injury that is seen after years of smoking, exposure to asbestos, or other lung irritants can cause damage that requires diagnosis and treatment by a pulmonologist.
Treatments Used By Pulmonologists To Treat Damaged Lungs
Pulmonologists are specialists in diagnosing and treating damaged lungs. They use a variety of treatments, including:
- Pulmonary hygiene. Various techniques are used to remove fluid and mucus buildup.
- Airway ablation. This is a procedure to help open blocked air passages. This makes difficult breathing easier.
- Medication. Your pulmonologist might prescribe medications such as steroids to treat certain symptoms. Other medications may be used to help reduce mucus. Oxygen may also be prescribed to help with breathing.
- Advances in treatment. New drugs and treatments such as stem cell therapy look very promising in promoting healing and regenerating healthy lung cells.
Damaged lungs require expert diagnosis and treatment by a pulmonary specialist. The providers at Pulmonary Associates of Richmond are well prepared to oversee a team of health care professionals prepared to help you breathe better and live an active life. Contact us for an appointment at (804) 320-4243.