A common cold or a running nose is probably the most common discomfort that humans have ever known. It belongs to a class of disorders affecting the lung or the respiratory apparatus.
The lung is a respiratory organ responsible for transporting oxygen from the air we inhale into the blood and for removing carbon dioxide present in the blood through the exhaled air. Various diseases could afflict the human lung. They are classified as obstructive and restrictive diseases physiologically, and upper, lower respiratory tract, parenchymal, and vascular lung disease anatomically.
Obstructive lung diseases occur when there is an obstruction to the air that flows in and out of the lungs. Restrictive diseases occur when the functional volume of the lungs is reduced. Upper respiratory infections, known as URI, involve an acute infection of the upper respiratory tract that includes bronchi, larynx, pharynx, sinus and the nose. Pneumonia is a lower respiratory tract disease involving inflamed alveoli, the tiny air filled sacs responsible for exchange of oxygen. Tuberculosis or TB is a disease that has played havoc on populations since time immemorial. Though, it is under check in the modern day, constant monitoring of populations and the TB causing Mycobacterium Tuberculosis is underway to ensure the disease does not strike as an epidemic. Vascular lung diseases include pulmonary edema, which causes fluid accumulation in the lungs.
Asthma is another respiratory disease caused by the inflammation of the air tract and its lining up by mucus. The cause for asthma could be allergens, cold air, stress, or exertion. Lung cancer is another killer disease that afflicts people.
Millions of people are affected by some form of a respiratory disorder or other in the US alone. Although, these diseases are known to affect people of all races, gender, ages, and income, there is a disproportionate share of minority populations, especially Afro-Americans that are affected.
A healthy diet, regular exercise, and warm, dust free environments are key to avoiding many of the respiratory diseases. Yoga and aerobic exercises can help in cases such as Asthma. Regular visits to a physician in case of discomfort and repeated occurrence of symptoms helps in managing this set of disorders.