Pulmonary Disease 411

The lungs are what bring oxygen into the body and send out carbon dioxide. It does this thousands of times a day. Every cell in the body needs oxygen to remain healthy and stay alive, making it vital for the lungs to function properly. Millions of people have pulmonary disease, making it one of the most common medical conditions. There are many things to know about this disease, but we have simplified it for you. Keep reading to learn the basics of pulmonary disease.

Pulmonary Disease Overview


Your lungs are composed of a complex system. They start at the bottom of the windpipe, forming two tubes that branch off into the right and left lobes. These branches divide into smaller tubes (bronchioles), and divide again, getting smaller and smaller until each ends with clusters of air sacs called alveoli.

If there is a problem with any part of that system resulting in the lungs not functioning correctly, it is called pulmonary disease. Several types of conditions and disorders fall under the pulmonary disease umbrella. Infections, smoking, and genes are the leading causes of the disease.

Types of Pulmonary Disease

Every kind of pulmonary disease is classified under the area it affects. Here are some of the most common areas affected, and the disease types:

 Diseases that Affect the Airways:

  • Asthma–  Airways become inflamed and can spasm, resulting in wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)– Affects your ability to exhale, and causes breathing issues.
  • Chronic Bronchitis– A form of COPD that brings a lasting, wet cough.
  • Emphysema– Another type of COPD. The damage to the lungs causes air to get trapped, causing you to have trouble blowing out air.
  • Acute Bronchitis– Usually caused by a virus that leads to a sudden infection of the airways.

Diseases Affecting the Air Sacs

  • Pneumonia– Bacteria or viruses cause an infection of the air sacs.
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)– Lungs are injured from a sudden and severe injury or illness. An example is COVID-19. Many that have ARDS need help from a breathing machine until their lungs recover.
  • Emphysema– The fragile links between the air sacs are damaged. The usual cause is smoking.
  • Lung Cancer– It has many forms, and typically happens in the central part of the lung, in or near the air sacs.

The Future of Pulmonary Diseases

Not being able to breathe correctly is a pretty scary thing. Clinical research studies allow us to learn more about these types of diseases, and ultimately how to better diagnose, treat, and cure them. By choosing to participate in these studies, you play a part in making that happen.


Florida Institute for Clinical Research is currently seeking individuals to participate in presently enrolling studies for COPD and cold and flu-like symptoms. To learn more, call (407) 658-0966, or click here.





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