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Merck Manual

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Overview of Symptoms of Lung Disorders


Rebecca Dezube

, MD, MHS, Johns Hopkins University

Last full review/revision Feb 2020| Content last modified Feb 2020
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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). Problems in the lungs can also lead to coughing up of blood (hemoptysis), a bluish discoloration of the skin due to a lack of oxygen in the blood (cyanosis), or chest pain. Prolonged lung disease can even cause changes in other parts of the body, including ankle swelling or finger clubbing.

Some of these symptoms do not always indicate a lung problem. For example, chest pain may also result from a heart or digestive disorder, and shortness of breath can be caused by a heart or blood disorder.

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