Even as death rates due to conditions such as heart disease and stroke are declining, deaths from lung-related ailments continue to rise, according to a recent report by the American Lung Association. Lung disease is a broad category of diseases and disorders relating to impaired lung function. Lung diseases are caused by both acute and chronic exposure to smoke, air pollution, carcinogens, infectious agents, and contaminants such as asbestos and silica dust. Lung diseases include obstructive lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, which is expected to become the third leading cause of death in the United States by 2020), infectious diseases like influenza, tuberculosis, and pneumonia, lung cancer, respiratory failure, pulmonary fibrosis, and of course occupational diseases like asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma.
The American Lung Association asserts that the elimination of cigarette smoking, preventable premature births, and violations of air quality laws would lead to a near-elimination of the most dangerous and lethal varieties of lung disease, and is advocating for tobacco control legislation and COPD research funding through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The full report is available from the American Lung Association’s website at www.lungusa.org, under the Research section.