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Lungs Anatomy

Human Lungs (Anatomy) definition and Facts


The lungs are the primary organs of the respiratory system in humans and many other animals including a few fish and some snails.

In humans, the main muscle of respiration that drives breathing is the diaphragm. The lungs also provide airflow that makes vocal sounds including human speech possible.

The lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs found on either side of the chest (thorax). The trachea (windpipe) conducts rancid air to the lungs through its tubular branches, also called bronchi.

The bronchi then divide into smaller and smaller branches (bronchioles), eventually becoming microscopic.

The bronchioles finally end in clusters of microscopic air sacs called alveoli. From the alveoli, oxygen from the air is absorbed into the blood.

Carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism, travels out of the blood into the alveoli, in which it can be exhaled.

Involving the alveoli is a thin layer of cells known as the interstitium, which includes blood vessels and cells which help support the alveoli.

The lungs are covered by a thin tissue layer called the pleura. Exactly the same kind of thin tissue lines the inside of the chest cavity — also known as pleura.

A thin layer of fluid acts as a lubricant allowing the lungs to slip smoothly as they expand and contract with each breath.

Lung Diseases:

Lung diseases are the most common medical conditions in the world. You found millions of people have lung disease only in the U.S. Infection, Smoking, and genes are the main causes of lung diseases.

Your lungs are part of a complex system, relaxing and expanding thousands of times every day to bring in oxygen and send carbon dioxide out.

Lung disease can occur whenever there are issues in almost any portion of the system.

Lung Diseases are Affecting the Airways:

Your windpipe (trachea) branches to tubes called bronchi, which in turn become smaller tubes through your lungs. Diseases that can affect these airways include:

  • Asthma. Your airways are constantly inflamed and might spasm, resulting in wheezing and shortness of breath. Allergies, infections, or pollution can trigger asthma symptoms.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). With this lung condition, you can’t exhale how you usually would, which causes trouble breathing.
  • Chronic bronchitis. This form of COPD brings a long-term moist cough.
  • Emphysema. Lung damage allows air to be trapped inside your lungs within this kind of COPD. Trouble blowing air out is its own trademark.
  • Acute or Intense bronchitis. This sudden infection of your airways is usually caused by a virus.
  • Cystic fibrosis. With this state, you have trouble clearing mucus out of your bronchi. This results in repeated lung infections.

Lung Diseases are affecting the Alveoli (Air Sacs)

Your airways division into miniature tubes (bronchioles) that end in clusters of air sacs known as alveoli. These air sacs constitute all your lung tissue.

Lung diseases affecting your alveoli contain:

  • Pneumonia. An infection of your alveoli, normally by bacteria or viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
  • Tuberculosis. This Pneumonia slowly gets worse, caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • Emphysema. This happens as soon as the delicate links between alveoli are ruined. Smoking is the usual cause. (Emphysema also restricts airflow, affecting your airways)
  • Pulmonary edema. Fluid flows out of the little blood vessels of the lung into the air sacs and the place around them. One form results from heart failure and rear pressure on your lungs’ blood vessels. In a different form, injury into a lung causes the leak of fluid.
  • Lung cancer. It has a number of forms and might start in any part of your lungs. It most often happens in the primary part of your lung, in or close to the air sacs.
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This is a serious, abrupt injury to the lungs from a critical illness. COVID-19 is 1 example. Many people who have ARDS need help to breathe from a machine called a ventilator till their lungs recover.
  • Pneumoconiosis. This is a category of conditions caused by inhaling something which injures your lungs.

Lung Diseases Affecting the Interstitium

lung disease
Interstitial lung disease (ILD), or diffuse parenchymal lung disease (DPLD), is a group of respiratory diseases affecting the interstitium of the lungs.

The interstitium is the thin, delicate liner involving your alveoli. Tiny blood vessels run through the interstitium and let gas move between the alveoli and your own blood.

  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD). This is a group of lung conditions that includes sarcoidosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and autoimmune disorder.
  • Pneumonia and pulmonary edema can also influence your interstitium.

Lung Diseases Allergic Blood Vessels

The ideal side of your heart gets low-oxygen blood from your veins. It pumps blood into your lungs through the pulmonary blood vessels. These blood vessels may have ailments, as well.

  • Pulmonary embolism (PE) A blood clot (usually in a deep leg vein (known as deep vein thrombosis) breaks, travels to your own heart, and gets pumped into your lungs. The clot sticks in a pulmonary artery, often causing shortness of breath and low blood oxygen levels.
  • Pulmonary hypertension. Many conditions can cause elevated blood pressure on your pulmonary blood vessels. This can lead to shortness of breath and chest discomfort. If your physician can not find a cause, they will call it idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Lung Diseases Affecting the Pleura

The pleura is the thin lining that surrounds your lung and lines the inside of your chest. A very small layer of fluid allows the pleura in the lung’s surface to slip along the chest wall with every breath.

Lung diseases of the pleura include:

  • Pleural effusion. Fluid collects in the space between your lung and the chest wall. Pneumonia or heart failure usually triggers this. Large pleural effusions can make it difficult to breathe and might need to be drained.
  • Pneumothorax. Air may get into the distance between your chest wall and the lung, collapsing the lung.
  • Mesothelioma. This is a rare kind of cancer that forms on the pleura. Mesothelioma tends to occur several decades after you come in contact with asbestos.

Lung Diseases Affecting the Chest Wall

Your torso wall also has an important role in breathing. Gently link your ribs to one another, helping your chest expand. Your diaphragm descends with every breath, also inducing chest expansion.

Diseases that affect your torso wall include:

  • Obesity hypoventilation syndrome. Extra weight in your torso and abdomen can make it difficult for your chest to expand. This might result in severe breathing issues.
  • Neuromuscular disorders. You may have difficulty breathing once the nerves that control your respiratory muscles don’t work the way they should. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and myasthenia gravis are cases of esophageal lung disease.

Some of the Lung Conditions:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD):

Damage to the lungs results in difficulty blowing out air, resulting in shortness of breath. Smoking is by far the most frequent cause of COPD.

  • Emphysema:

A form of COPD usually brought on by smoking. The delicate walls involving the lungs’ air sacs (alveoli) are damaged, trapping air in the lungs and making breathing difficult.

  • Chronic bronchitis:

Repeated, frequent episodes of productive cough, usually caused by smoking. Breathing also becomes difficult in this kind of COPD.

  • Pneumonia:

Infection in one or both lungs. Compounds, especially Streptococcus pneumonia, are the most common cause.

  • Asthma:

The lungs’ airways (bronchi) become inflamed and may spasm, resulting in shortness of breath and wheezing. Allergies, viral diseases, or air pollution often cause asthma symptoms.

  • Acute bronchitis:

A disease of the lungs’ large airways (bronchi), usually caused by a virus. Cough is the main symptom of acute bronchitis.

  • Pulmonary fibrosis:

A form of interstitial lung disease. The interstitium (walls between air sacs) becomes swollen, which makes the lungs rigid and causing shortness of breath.

  • Sarcoidosis:

Tiny regions of inflammation may affect all organs in the body, together with the lungs involved most of the time. The signs are usually mild; sarcoidosis is usually found when X-rays are done for different reasons.

  • Obesity hypoventilation syndrome:

Extra weight makes it hard to enlarge the chest when breathing. This may lead to long-term breathing issues.

  • Pleural effusion:

Fluid accumulates in the normally tiny space between the lung and the inside of the chest wall (the thoracic area ). If big, pleural effusions can cause problems with breathing.

  • Pleurisy:

Inflammation of the lining of the lung (pleura), which often causes discomfort when breathing in. Autoimmune ailments, infections, or even a pulmonary embolism may cause pleurisy.

  • Bronchiectasis:

The airways (bronchi) become inflamed and enlarge abnormally, usually after repeated infections. Coughing, with considerable amounts of mucus, is the most important symptom of bronchiectasis.

  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM):

A rare condition where cysts form throughout the lungs, causing breathing difficulties like emphysema.

  • Cystic fibrosis:

A genetic condition where mucus does not clear readily in the airways. The extra mucus causes repeated episodes of pneumonia and bronchitis throughout life.

  • Interstitial lung disease:

A collection of conditions where the interstitium (lining between the air sacs) becomes diseased. Fibrosis (scarring) of the interstitium eventually results, if the procedure cannot be stopped.

  • Lung cancer:

Cancer may affect just about any part of the lung. Most lung cancer is caused by smoking.

  • Tuberculosis:

This is slowly progressive pneumonia caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Weight loss, night sweats, chronic cough, fever, are common symptoms of tuberculosis.

  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS):

Acute, sudden injury to the lungs brought on by a critical illness. Life assistance with mechanical ventilation is generally needed to endure until the lungs recover.

  • Coccidioidomycosis:

Pneumonia caused by Coccidioides, a fungus found in the soil from the northeast U.S. Many people experience no symptoms or even a flu-like disease with complete healing.

  • Histoplasmosis:

A disease brought on by inhaling Histoplasma capsulatum, a parasite found in the soil from the eastern and central U.S. Most Histoplasma pneumonia is mild, resulting in only a short-lived cough and flu-like symptoms.

  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (allergic alveolitis):

Basically inhaled dust causes an allergic reaction in the lungs. Usually, you found farmers or others who work with dried, dusty plant material are having this problem.

  • Influenza (flu):

A disease by one or more influenza viruses that causes fever, body aches, and coughing lasting a week or more. Influenza can advance to life-threatening pneumonia, especially in elderly individuals with medical issues.

  • Mesothelioma:

An uncommon kind of cancer that forms from the cells lining different organs of their body with the lungs being the most frequent. Mesothelioma tends to emerge many decades after asbestos exposure.

  • Pertussis (whooping cough):

A highly contagious infection of the airways (bronchi) by Bordetella pertussis, causing a chronic cough. A booster vaccine (Tdap) is recommended for adolescents and adults to prevent pertussis.

  • Pulmonary hypertension:

A lot of conditions can lead to high blood pressure in the arteries leading from the heart to the lungs. If no cause can be identified, the problem is known as idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension.

  • Pulmonary embolism:

A blood clot (usually from a vein in the leg) may break off and travel to the heart, which pumps the clot (embolus) to the lungs. Sudden shortness of breath is the most common symptom of a pulmonary embolism.

  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS):

Severe pneumonia caused by a particular virus first discovered in Asia in 2002. Worldwide prevention measures seem to have controlled SARS, which has caused no deaths from the U.S.

  • Pneumothorax:

Air in the torso; occurs when air enters the area around the lung (the pleural space) abnormally.

Some of the Lung Tests:

  • Chest X-ray:

An X-ray has become the most usual first test for lung problems. It can identify fluid or air from the chest, fluid from the lung, pneumonia, masses, foreign bodies, and other issues.

  • Computed tomography (CT scan):

Computed tomography or CT scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed pictures of the lungs and nearby structures.

  • Pulmonary function tests (PFTs):

A collection of tests to evaluate how well the lungs work.

  • Spirometry:

Part of PFTs steps how fast and how much air you can breathe out.

  • Sputum culture:

Culturing mucus coughed up from the lungs can occasionally identify the organism responsible for pneumonia or bronchitis.

  • Sputum cytology:

Seeing sputum under a microscope for abnormal cells can help diagnose lung cancer and other conditions.

  • Lung biopsy:

A small piece of tissue is removed from the lungs, either through bronchoscopy or operation. Assessing the biopsied tissue under a microscope might help diagnose lung conditions.

  • Flexible bronchoscopy:

An endoscope (flexible tube with a lighted camera on its end) is passed through the mouth or nose to the airways (bronchi). A physician may take biopsies or samples for civilization during bronchoscopy.

  • Rigid bronchoscopy:

A rigid metal tube is introduced through the mouth to the lungs’ airways. Rigid bronchoscopy is often more powerful than flexible bronchoscopy, but it requires general (complete ) anesthesia.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan):

An MRI scanner uses radio waves in a magnetic field to create high-resolution pictures of structures in the chest.

Some of the Lung Treatments:

  • Thoracotomy:

A surgery that enters the chest wall (thorax). Thoracotomy may be done in order to take care of some severe lung conditions or to obtain a lung biopsy.

  • Video-assisted thorascopic surgery (VATS):

Less-invasive chest wall surgery using an endoscope (flexible tube with a camera on its end). VATS used to diagnose or treat different lung conditions.

  • Chest tube (thoracostomy):

A tube is inserted through an incision in the chest wall in order to drain fluid or air from around the lung.

  • Pleurocentesis:

A needle is placed into the chest to drain fluid that is around the lung.

  • Antibiotics:

Medicines that kill bacteria are utilized to treat most cases of pneumonia. Antibiotics aren’t effective against germs.

  • Antiviral drugs (Medicines):

When used soon after flu symptoms begin, antifungal medications can reduce the severity of influenza. Antiviral drugs are not effective against viral bronchitis.

  • Bronchodilators:

Inhaled medicines can help expand the airways (bronchi). This can reduce wheezing and shortness of breath in people with asthma or COPD.

  • Corticosteroids:

Inhaled or oral steroids can decrease inflammation and improve symptoms in asthma or COPD.

  • Mechanical ventilation:

People with severe attacks of lung disease might require a machine called a ventilator to assist breathing. The ventilator pushes in the air by means of a tube inserted into the mouth along with the neck.

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP):

Air pressure exerted by a system through a mask keeps the airways open. It’s used during the night to deal with sleep apnea, but it’s also helpful for some people with COPD.

  • Lung transplant:

Surgical removal of diseased lungs and replacement with organ donor lungs.

  • Vasodilators:

Individuals with some forms of pulmonary hypertension may require long-term medicines to lower the pressure in their lungs. Often, these have to be taken through a continuous infusion into the veins.

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy:

Lung cancer is most often not curable with surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can help improve symptoms and at times prolong life with lung cancer.

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