Lung diseases

These revision cards will cover the diseases in the lungs: Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Asthma and Emphysema

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  • Created by: Aishwarya
  • Created on: 20-05-13 14:09


After viewing these cards you will have learnt:

1. What pulmonary tuberculosis, pulmonary fibrosis, asthma and emphysema are.

2. How each of these disease spread and cause infection.

3. How they destruct the lungs.

4. Ways of treating the disease.

Also, after each disease, there will a short summary to recap what you've learnt!

Let's get started!

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Pulmonary Tuberculosis

  • This disease is also known as "T.B."
  • The cause: by a bacteria - mycobacterium tuberculosis/bovis (cows)
  • The disease is an air-borne disease and spreads by people coughing, sneezing, laughing and even talking.
  • Important points: 1. Unlike most air borne infections, after someone sneezes or coughs, the droplets will still remain even a week later.
  • 2. T.B. can only be transmitted with persistant visits/stays/contact with someone who has the infection. So even if someone with T.B. sneezes on you, doesn't mean you're going to get the disease. 
  • Symptoms: Pesistent cough, tiredness, loss of appetite --> weight loss, fever and coughing up of blood.
  • Course of infection: 
  • Primary infection (in children), 
  • Bacteria affects the top part of the lungs (because that is where the most oxygen is available).
  •  White blood cells then try and attack the infection and infects the lymph nodes. 
  • Lungs are repaired.
  • Post-primary infection (later in adults),
  • Bacteria again affect the top part of the lungs.
  • This time the infection spreads to other parts of the lungs.
  • Leaves cavities and damages the tissue.
  • You eventually die.
  • Prevention of this disease: Vaccinations (mycoBOVIS), Better housing, Improved health/Better diet and Treatment with drugs: Long treament/ many months
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Summary: Pulmonary Tuberculosis

1. T.B. is caused by a bacterium (particularly, Mycobacterium BOVIS).

2. T.B is an air borne disease (droplets last even for many weeks).

3. Symptoms: 

. Coughing

. Tiredness

. Loss of appetite --> weight loss

. Fever

. Coughing up of blood

4. Spread of disease: Close contact by someone who has T.B.

5. Primary infection in children: Affects top part of the lungs, WBC attack, infect lymph nodes, everything become ok.

6. Post primary in adults: Affects top part of lungs, damages tissue and leaves cavities. Leads to death.

7. Prevention:

. Better housing, Better diet, Vaccinations (against myco. bovis), Use of drugs 

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Pulmonary Tuberculosis Diagram


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Pulmonary Fibrosis

  • Pulmonary Fibrosis is a microscopic injury (which means we cannot see it with a microscope).
  • The cause also may be due to genetics (but no-one is certain for sure).
  • The way I remember the way in which the lung is affected by the disease is it "Fattening"... "Fibrosis" -- "Fattening".
  • How it affects the lungs: "Fattening" as I'd call it, is just bascially the thickening of the alevoli walls.
  • The epilithium is thickened -- so the diffusion distance comes longer, hence diffusion takes longer to happen.
  • Symptoms: 

 . Shortness of breath (reduced air entry, oxygen diffusion and breathing out)

 . Chronic, dry cough  (obstruction to airways)

. Pain/Discomfort ( Pressure in chest and prolonged coughing)

. Weakness/Fatigue (Decreased air intake and increased work of breathing)

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Summary: Pulmonary Fibrosis

  • Fibrosis is a microscopic injury.
  • It affects the lungs by thickening the epithelium walls.
  • That leads to decresed surface area.
  • Symptoms: 

. Shortness of breath

. Dry cough

. Pain

. Weakness/Fatigue

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Pulmonary Fibrosis Diagram


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  • Asthma is triggered (the cause) by allergens.
  • Types of allergens include: Pollen, Animal fur and Dust mites (faeces!)
  • Other factors such as: Cold air, Excersise, Infection, Anxiety and Stress can "activate" asthma.
  • How it affects the lungs: The reaction goes as follows: The airways become inflammed and so do the alveoli, because of the release of histamine this causes an excessive amount of mucus and fluid to be produced.
  • White blood cells cause the release of histamine.
  • As a result of this, the airways become narrow, which makes it difficult for the person to take in oxygen.
  • Symptoms:

. Difficulty breathing (because of mucus, fluid; narrow passage ways).

. Wheezing (Air passing through the narrow passage ways).

. Coughing

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Summary: Asthma

  • Asthma is triggered by allergens.
  • E.g. - pollen, dust mites (faeces), animals. Also: Excersise, cold air, infection e.t.c.
  • How it affects the lungs: Narrows air passage ways. Histamine is released; excessive fluid and mucus is produced.
  • Symptoms:

. Difficulty breathing

. Wheezing

. Coughing

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Asthma Diagram


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  • Emphysema happens mainly in smokers.
  • It develops gradually - 20yrs.
  • It reduces the elasticity of the alevoli 
  • Therefore no recoil.
  • So people with emphysema will not be able to properly empty their lungs when breathing out.
  • How it affects the lungs: Alevoli "pop" because of reduced elasticity = reduced surface area.
  • Symptoms:

. Shortness of breath (less surface area, breathing out less)

. Coughing

. Bluish skin colour (lack of oxygen)

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Summary: Emphysema

  • Emphysema caused by reduced elasticity.
  • So reduced surface area ~ Alevoli burst.
  • No recoil.
  • Takes 20 yrs for it to develop.
  • Happens mostly in smokers.
  • Symptoms:

. Shortness of breath

. Coughing

. Bluish skin 

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Emphysema diagram


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Final Summary

So to recap in general:

1. All these diseases affects the lungs only.

2. All of them have one symptom in common: Coughing.

3. Pulmonary Tuberculosis is the only one which has preventions, and is the only one caused by a bacteria.

4. Both Fibrosis and Asthma may be genetic (scientists are not certain though).


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