Inflammation in the lung, lung inflammation, pleurisy or pleural effusion: what do these terms mean and what can / should you do if you get it?
Note: If you have high fever, pain, or difficulty breathing, call 911 or contact a physician immediately.
Inflammation in the lung is a symptom of over 1500 different diseases or conditions.
Some of them you may know. Many are obscure and you will seldom hear. First some background, then consider what inflammation of the lung is, what the signs and symptoms are and finally what some of the diseases resulting in inflammation of the lungs.
The lung is the principle respiratory organ of the body. It transports oxygen from the atmosphere into the blood stream. It also allows the evacuation of carbon dioxide from the blood stream into the atmosphere.
When you hear medical terms related to the lung, they will often begin with pulmo (Latin pulmonarius "of the lungs") or with pneumo (from the Greek...lung.)
As we breath in, air goes from the nose or mouth it goes though the nasopharynx and or the oropharynx (the area behind the Uvula you might call the back of your throat) the larynx (the voice box), the trachea (the wind pipe), then it subdivides or branches like the roots of a tree into a system of bronchi and bronchioles (smaller airway branches but they do not exchange air) and ending at alveoli (small spherical sacks) where the oxygen / carbon dioxide exchange takes place.
Inflammation in the lung can happen anywhere along this pathway.
Inflammation of the pleura, the sack surrounding the lungs is a condition. it is the result of infection. It is made of two layers. One covers the actual lungs (visceral pleura) and the other covers the inside of the chest wall or inside of the rib cage (parietal pleura). Between the two is a fluid that circulates and lubricates the two surfaces helping them slide over each other to prevent friction when we breathe.
Inflammation in the lung could result in irritation, swelling, stickiness or fluid build up of the pleura. It could be caused by bacterial infection or virus infection.
Build up of fluid between the two layers (pleural effusion), is the result of inflammation.
A sticky, fibrous material builds up over the pleural surfaces. This causes the layers to rub against (friction rub) each other when breathing. Often this causes chest pain.
Sometimes the inflammation is dry and is called dry pleurisy.
Bronchitis is inflammation of the airways within the lungs. It is the result of inflammation from infection or other causes. It is almost always a sign of chronic fluid and electrolyte imbalance (not enough salt and minerals and not enough water)
Pleura-Pneumonia is inflammation of both the lungs and pleura.
Pneumonia is an inflammation in the lungs. Specifically it is inflammation of the alveolar. It is also known as lung parenchyma.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (Hot Tub Lung)
Pneumonitis also refers to inflammation of lungs. Pneumonitis combined with consolidation (the air sacks containing fluid instead of air) and exudation ( fluid from the circulatory system that filters into areas of inflammation.
Bronchiolitis is inflammation of the bronchioles or the smallest air passages of the lungs. Usually it is caused by viruses.
Chemical pneumonitis, lung inflammation caused by irritation from aspirated vomitus or barium used for gastro-intestinal imaging.
Chronic bronchitis is a chronic inflammation of the bronchi (medium-size airways) in the lung s. It is generally considered one of the...
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the large bronchi which are the medium-sized airways in the lung.
This is a partial list of signs and symptoms.
Traditional treatment includes aspirin and other NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, Indocin, etc. to reducing the inflammation, fever, and pain.
Pain killers like codeine can may be given to provide comfort.
A thoracentesis is a procedure to remove the effusion and help breathing.
If you are not facing an emergency or wanted to prevent inflammation of the lungs, there are things you can do to help your lungs to get better.
This is quite telling....
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a mucolytic (helps you get rid of mucous) and antioxidant drug that may also influence several inflammatory pathways. It provides the sulfhydryl groups (sulfur in a form your body can use) and acts both as a precursor of reduced glutathione and as a direct reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger, hence regulating the redox status in the cells. The changed redox status may, in turn, influence the inflammation-controlling pathways.
This was an easy abstract to understand. Check it out.
Treatment with NAC decreased some inflammatory parameters and had indirectly an inhibitory effect on the expression of adhesion molecules.
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