Merck Manual

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Overview of Symptoms of Lung Disorders

By

Rebecca Dezube

, MD, MHS, Johns Hopkins University

Last full review/revision Sep 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION

Disorders that affect the lungs and airways are called lung, respiratory, or pulmonary disorders. Among the most common symptoms of lung disorders are

Less commonly, a blockage in the airways between the mouth and lungs results in a gasping sound when breathing ( stridor Stridor Stridor is a gasping sound during inhalation resulting from a partial blockage of the throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), or windpipe (trachea). Stridor is usually loud enough to be heard... read more ). Problems in the lungs can also lead to coughing up of blood Coughing Up Blood Coughing up blood from the respiratory tract is called hemoptysis. The amount of blood produced can vary from a few streaks of blood mixed with normal sputum to large amounts of pure blood.... read more (hemoptysis), a bluish discoloration of the skin due to a lack of oxygen in the blood ( cyanosis Cyanosis Cyanosis is a bluish discoloration of the skin resulting from an inadequate amount of oxygen in the blood. Cyanosis occurs when oxygen-depleted (deoxygenated) blood, which is bluish rather than... read more ), or chest pain Chest Pain Chest pain is a very common complaint. Pain may be sharp or dull, although some people with a chest disorder describe their sensation as discomfort, tightness, pressure, gas, burning, or aching... read more . Prolonged lung disease can even cause changes in other parts of the body, including ankle swelling or finger clubbing Clubbing Clubbing is enlargement of the tips of the fingers or toes and a change in the angle where the nails emerge. Clubbing occurs when the amount of soft tissue beneath the nail beds increases. It... read more Clubbing .

Some of these symptoms do not always indicate a lung problem. For example, chest pain Chest or Back Pain Pain in the middle of the chest or upper back can result from disorders of the esophagus or from disorders of the heart or aorta ( see Chest Pain). Symptoms may be similar. Gastroesophageal... read more may also result from a heart or digestive disorder, and shortness of breath can be caused by a heart or blood disorder.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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