Information for Patients
When you breathe in, the air travels down through your trachea (windpipe). It then goes through two tubes to your lungs. These tubes are your bronchi. Bronchial disorders can make it hard for you to breathe.
The most common problem with the bronchi is bronchitis, an inflammation of the tubes. It can be acute or chronic. Other problems include
- Bronchiectasis - a condition in which damage to the airways causes them to widen and become flabby and scarred
- Exercise-induced bronchospasm - a breathing problem that happens when your airways shrink while you are exercising
- Bronchiolitis - an inflammation of the small airways that branch off from the bronchi
- Bronchopulmonary dysplasia - a chronic lung condition in infants, most often premature infants
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. It is a leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. Cigarette smoking causes most lung cancers. The more cigarettes you smoke per day and the earlier you started smoking, the greater your risk of lung cancer. High levels of pollution, radiation and asbestos exposure may also increase risk.
Common symptoms of lung cancer include
- A cough that doesn't go away and gets worse over time
- Constant chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
- Repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis
- Swelling of the neck and face
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
Doctors diagnose lung cancer using a physical exam, imaging, and lab tests. Treatment depends on the type, stage, and how advanced it is. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
Your trachea, or windpipe, is one part of your airway system. Airways are pipes that carry oxygen-rich air to your lungs. They also carry carbon dioxide, a waste gas, out of your lungs.
When you inhale, air travels from your nose, through your larynx, and down your windpipe. The windpipe splits into two bronchi that enter your lungs.
Problems with the trachea include narrowing, inflammation, and some inherited conditions. You may need a procedure called a tracheostomy to help you breathe if you have swallowing problems, or have conditions that affect coughing or block your airways. You might also need a tracheostomy if you are in critical care and need to be on a breathing machine.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute