In the U.S., there are currently more than 25 million people who have asthma. Do you currently suffer from or are worried you suffer from respiratory diseases?

In this article, discover some of the most common diseases of the respiratory system. Read on to discover these diseases, plus their potential causes.

1. Asthma

Asthma is a common respiratory disease that causes trouble breathing because of inflammation in the airways. Common symptoms include chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, and a dry cough. If you’re experiencing an allergic reaction, this can trigger an asthma attack hence you must immediately visit the nearest respiratory clinic.

While the exact causes aren’t known, there are environmental and genetic patterns that could lead to asthma. It could be due to a lack of nutrition at a young age, gastroesophageal reflux disease, sinusitis, or allergens.

2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a respiratory disorder that’s considered chronic. It’s caused by long-term exposure to materials that aggravate and damage your lungs.

An example of irritants are pollutants in the air or cigarette smoke. The 2 types are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.


If you have emphysema, your alveoli in your lungs are damaged which makes you feel short of breath. In chronic bronchitis, your airways constrict which causes an excess of mucus.

This excess mucus makes it harder to breathe. Respiratory Therapy Zone has some tips on products for breathing better.

3. Lung Cancer

Lung cancer often appears in the main part of your lungs, but can develop in any part, and is hard to detect. The most common cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoke. If you’re exposed to air pollution, second-hand smoke, asbestos, or radon exposure they can increase your chances of developing lung cancer.

Pay attention to your symptoms such as coughing up blood, harsh breathing sounds, changes in your voice, or chronic coughing. But be wary that many of these symptoms are also common to a very deadly form of cancer affecting the lungs’ lining mesothelioma. Yet, the two diseases are not be confused.

Unlike lung cancer, mesothelioma is usually caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos in the workplace or in older buildings. And unlike lung cancer, mesothelioma can provide patients with grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against the person or entity negligently responsible for the exposure.

If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, a history of exposure and medical records can determine if you can reach out and get help from a mesothelioma lawyer.

4. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be mild or severe. It causes the air sacs in your lungs to fill with pus or fluid. That then leads to difficulty breathing.

If you’re older than 65 or younger than 2, you’re at a greater risk of developing pneumonia. You can have what’s called walking pneumonia, where you don’t know you have it.

If you drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes that can increase your chances of developing it. Common symptoms are phlegm or mucus from coughing, feeling tired or having no appetite. Also, you could experience fever or chills or shortness of breath.

Common causes of pneumonia are the cold, flu, certain bacteria, and RSV(for those 1 or younger).

5. Influenza

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious disease that passes through the air from one person to another. It moves into the respiratory tract and then the epithelial cells. Symptoms can include fever, chills, and body aches.

6. Bronchitis

Bronchitis is characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which are responsible for carrying air to and from the lungs. Acute bronchitis is often caused by viral infections, such as the common cold or flu viruses.

Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is commonly associated with smoking or exposure to irritants like air pollution, dust, or chemical fumes.

7. Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive lung disease characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the lungs, which leads to stiffness and decreased lung function over time.

The exact cause of pulmonary fibrosis is often unknown, but it can be triggered by environmental factors such as exposure to asbestos, silica dust, or other occupational hazards.

Additionally, certain autoimmune conditions, genetic factors, and some medications may also contribute to the development of pulmonary fibrosis.

8. Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis that primarily affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. TB is highly contagious and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Factors such as overcrowded living conditions, poor ventilation, weakened immune system, and close contact with infected individuals increase the risk of contracting TB.

9. Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the respiratory and digestive systems, among others. It is caused by mutations in the CFTR gene, which leads to the production of thick, sticky mucus that clogs the airways and predisposes individuals to recurrent lung infections and inflammation.

While cystic fibrosis is a hereditary condition that is present from birth, the severity of symptoms can vary depending on the specific mutations inherited from both parents.

10. Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)

Interstitial lung disease refers to a group of disorders characterized by inflammation and scarring (fibrosis) of the lung tissue surrounding the air sacs (alveoli). The exact cause of ILD can vary depending on the specific subtype, but potential causes include exposure to environmental toxins, occupational hazards, certain medications, autoimmune diseases, and infections.

These are just a few examples of common respiratory diseases and their potential causes. It’s important to note that early detection, proper management, and lifestyle modifications can help mitigate the impact of these diseases on respiratory health and overall well-being.

Common Diseases of the Respiratory System

It’s important to understand the causes and symptoms of these diseases of the respiratory system to better identify them. Would you like to learn more about other health conditions and how to prevent them? Check out our other articles right here on our site.