Pulmonary disorders are very common nowadays, as they affect millions of people all over the world. Researchers and pulmonary specialists are struggling to come up with new and efficient treatments against a wide range of pulmonary disorders, and the good news is that help is on the way! Familiarize yourself with some of the most common types of pulmonary disorders, along with the latest discoveries in the field.
COPD is an acronym that stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and it refers to the occurrence of chronic bronchitis. This occurrence limits the airflow to the lungs, thus causing shortness of breath, which is very bothersome and can be dangerous in the long run. Unfortunately, COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States of America, killing over 100,000 people every year. Although there are treatments that can relieve the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, it is impossible to down the progression of the disease.
Researchers at the University of Florida managed to isolate a marine compound (called symplostatin 5) which is believed to be the most efficient treatment for COPD and other pulmonary diseases. The compound was extracted from blue-green algae and it is believed to cure asthma, ARDS, cystic fibrosis, COPD and other similar diseases. The mechanism is simple yet highly efficient. The above-mentioned compound targets the elastase (the enzyme responsible for breaking down the proteins), therefore preventing one of the main factors in the initiation of COPD.
Asthma is undoubtedly one of the most common pulmonary diseases at the moment, and this is basically the inflammation of the airways. Allergies, dust or mold are the most common causes of asthma, and this pulmonary disease can be fatal if not treated properly. For this reason, people who suffer from asthma use medications and inhalers on a regular basis.
Just as the name implies, pulmonary edema occurs when the lungs are filled with liquid – the liquid interferes with the regular gas exchange process, thus making it very difficult for the patient to breathe properly. The most common causes of pulmonary edema are pneumonia and heart disease.
Bronchitis refers to the inflammation of the airways that lead to the lungs (the bronchi), and it is usually caused by pollution and excessive smoke. In other words, bronchitis occurs when the mucus filtering system becomes irritated by pollutants.
Last, but not least, pulmonary fibrosis represents the thickening of the lungs. Some of the most common symptoms of this pulmonary disorder include fatigue, dry cough, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. Pulmonary scientists have created a drug that inhibits the ROCK protein, which is involved in pulmonary fibrosis.
Also, another group of researchers has discovered a way to activate myofibroblasts (the cells that are needed for wound healing and which should go away when the wound is completely healed – this does not happen in patients with pulmonary fibrosis). This way, these cells will disappear after their “work” is complete and thus pulmonary fibrosis is cured. Inhibiting the ROCK protein with a new drug Fasudil is the key to curing this disease.