Donate to Lung Disease Research, Patient Care and Education

Most of us breathe in the fresh air without a second thought. For the millions of Americans afflicted with lung disease, however, this simple act is a daily struggle. Lung disease ranks as the third leading cause of death in the United States, yet, thanks to the support of generous donors like you, physicians and scientists at Northwestern Medicine are making great progress in diagnosing, treating and even curing lung disease.

There are three distinct categories of lung disease:

  • Lung tissue diseases: The structure of the lung tissue changes preventing individuals afflicted from taking deep breaths and fully expanding their lungs.
  • Airway diseases: Asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis affect the airways creating a block that gives the sensation of breathing through a straw.
  • Lung circulation diseases: Inflammation or scarring of the lung blood vessels affects the ability of the lungs to take in oxygen.

Each of these three categories of lung disease comprises a number of specific illnesses. The most frequently diagnosed forms of lung disease include influenza, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, sarcoidosis, pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer. 

The physicians in Northwestern Medicine’s Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine recommend testing for individuals experiencing the following symptoms:

  • A nagging, persistent cough
  • Coughing that produces blood
  • Intermittent, sporadic or constant chest pain
  • The sensation of hoarseness or wheezing
  • Recurring bouts of pneumonia

Our specialists can use a variety of testing methods to determine the specific type of lung disease that is affecting a patient. These tests can range from blood gas tests, complete blood counts, comprehensive metabolic panels and pleural fluid (excess fluid between the layers of pleura outside the lungs) analysis. Diagnostic imaging methods, such as chest X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and PET scans, are often paired with blood testing to accurately diagnose lung disease.

Based on the results of testing and a patient’s ultimate diagnosis, a variety of procedures, therapies and programs may be prescribed. Treatment approaches range from medications that contain steroids and medications that reduce stomach acid, to medications that slow the progression of pulmonary fibrosis, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and, if necessary, surgery.

Lung Disease Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

By making a donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help to ensure that people who seek treatment for various types of lung disease at Northwestern Medicine will continue to benefit from breakthrough research, the most advanced forms of treatment and personalized, patient-centered care. Your generous support will make a significant difference for many patients and their families as they face the challenges of lung disease.

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