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What is Atelectasis?

18 Apr 2015
| Under COPD, Interstitial Lung Disease, Lung Disease | Posted by
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Atelectasis Lung Institute

Can Atelectasis Be Attributed to Lung Disease?

When someone suffers a collapsed lung, most people assume the worse. It sounds quite serious and obviously so. Collapsed lung is a vague term that encompasses many forms of atelectasis, which is a medical condition describing any partial, localized or complete deflation of the lungs. However, atelectasis is often a short-term condition and is resolved naturally. With that being said, the worst case scenario is ongoing atelectasis, which can lead to further infection. For those suffering with a chronic lung disease, the question of what is atelectasis can hold a more dire meaning.

What Causes Atelectasis?

Many different factors can cause a collapsed lung. Here a few ways that atelectasis can result:

  • Mucus Build-up: Atelectasis can occur from the simple buildup of mucus in the lungs. If this viscus liquid closes the air sacs off from the rest of the lungs, it can cause them to collapse or deflate. Typically a hard cough or deep breathing can counter this.
  • Post-surgery. A large number of people suffer from atelectasis just after a major surgery. During this time, the lungs are weak from a period of limited use. This causes them to relax, and as they deflate, it can lead to a semi-permanent collapse.
  • Foreign Item. Another cause of a collapsed lung is something stuck in your airway. If a foreign body gets lodged in your windpipe, your lungs can collapse due to poor inflation from the blockage.
  • Lung Disease. When someone suffers from a lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or interstitial lung disease (ILD), their airway becomes inflamed and swollen. When this happens, it’s possible for the airway to become blocked and atelectasis to set in.

Can Atelectasis be Prevented?

A collapsed lung is usually the result of a health condition or accident, so limiting your risk to both of these outcomes can help prevent atelectasis. The likelihood of an atelectasis episode occurring to someone suffering from a lung disease is heightened by the symptoms of the disease. Here are a few things that lung disease sufferers can do to help reduce the risk of a collapsed lung:

  • Breathing Exercises. There are plenty of easy breathing regiments that cannot only help ward off atelectasis, but can help slow the progression of your lung disease. Mostly, this includes pursed-lips breathing and diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Stop Smoking. If you have a lung disease and still smoke, then there is not much that can be done to improve your condition. There are plenty of resources to help you quit. Smoking will increase your chances of a collapsed lung greatly.
  • Change Positions. When you in a resting state, your lungs are more susceptible to atelectasis. Getting up and moving around or even just repositioning your body while you’re sitting can have a large impact.

Suffering from a lung disease can become exponentially worse with the addition of the periodic collapsed lung. Many people have to seek medical attention if an episode of atelectasis sets in. The best way to prevent such an occurrence is to treat your lung disease, and the Lung Institute can help. We use cells from your own body to help promote the healing of lung tissue. The result is improved lung function and easier breathing. If you are interested in finding out if you qualify for this treatment, contact us by calling 888-745-6697 today.


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