Lung Inflammation

What is Lung Inflammation?

Lung inflammation is the body's response to a viral or bacterial infection, or an inhalation of irritants such as smoke from air pollution. It is marked by inflammation in the tissue of the lungs, including the alveoli, which are responsible for transferring oxygen into the bloodstream. When inflamed, the alveoli become swollen and clogged, making it harder for oxygen to get into the blood.

Lung inflammation is not always caused by infection; it can be caused by other factors such as exposure to secondhand smoke in the environment, air pollution, and certain occupational exposures. Inflammation of the lungs can also be part of a larger systemic inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma.

Symptoms of Lung Inflammation

The main symptoms of lung inflammation include difficulty breathing, chest pain, and a wheezing or crackling sound when breathing. Other symptoms may include:

  • Coughing up blood or bloody mucus
  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Shallow breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

Treatment for Lung Inflammation

The treatment for lung inflammation depends on what is causing the condition. For infections, antibiotics and antiviral medications may be prescribed. If the inflammation is caused by a chronic condition or environmental factors, such as occupational exposure or air pollution, additional lifestyle changes may be necessary.

In some cases, the doctor may recommend using an inhaler to reduce inflammation and open the airways. Steroids or other medications may also be used to reduce inflammation or coughing. If the inflammation is severe, hospitalization may be necessary to treat the condition.