Burning Lungs - Is It Dangerous?
If a patient complains of a burning sensation in the lungs, there can be many causes. It is important that the overall situation and behaviors are reviewed and any pre-existing illnesses are included in the diagnosis.
The possibility that the burning sensation does not come from the lungs but from the heart should also be urgently considered and acute heart disease should be detected and treated early on. First and foremost, the heart attack should be mentioned here, which causes a burning sensation in the chest and must be treated as soon as possible. If the burning sensation is actually localized in the lungs, then it is often bronchial asthma or acute bronchitis. In very rare cases it could also be an indication of a tumor in the lungs.
How dangerous is that
Since there can be a large number of other causes of a burning sensation in the lungs in addition to the diseases already mentioned, the question of how dangerous a burning sensation is cannot be answered universally.
Most patients who perceive a burning sensation in their lungs, unfortunately, do not have an acutely life-threatening illness, but illnesses such as an infection of the respiratory tract, bronchial asthma or the like.
In order to safely rule out more serious illnesses such as pneumonia or a heart attack, it is definitely worth going to the doctor anyway, because in some cases a burning sensation in the lungs can also be the sign of a serious illness.
Read more on the subject below Signs of pneumonia and Signs of a heart attack.
Another reason for these symptoms can be bronchial asthma. This condition is chronic inflammation of the airways. There is an obstruction of the airways, that is, a narrowing that repeatedly leads to shortness of breath. The narrowing of the airways is caused by the increased production of mucus and the cramping of the bronchial muscles. It is precisely this cramping of the bronchial and respiratory muscles that in some cases leads to burning in the chest and lungs. The burning sensation in the lungs can also be caused by pulmonary embolism, lung cancer, pneumothorax or pneumonia. Lung cancer is dealt with in a separate paragraph below. Pneumothorax usually occurs suddenly, often from injury. Air enters the pleural space through a hole. There is actually a negative pressure in the pleural space, so that the lungs can follow the breathing movements and not collapse, i.e. contract (the lungs' actual effort is to contract). If air now enters this gap, the lungs can no longer expand sufficiently and the negative pressure is disturbed. The lungs can collapse. The intensity of the pneumothorax depends entirely on the size of the injury and can either be barely noticeable or cause acute, severe symptoms. In any case, this is an extremely dangerous situation for those affected and must be treated immediately. In a pulmonary embolism, vessels in the lungs are blocked by a thrombus and the blood flow (in the corresponding area for which the vessel is responsible) is stopped or greatly reduced. Pneumonia is inflammation of the lung tissue and is caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. It often hits people particularly hard with a weak immune system, such as old people and small children, or people who have had other illnesses. Here, too, the respiratory muscles are particularly stressed and this can lead to that burning sensation in the lungs.
Burning sensation in the lungs from asthma
Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that often begins in childhood. It leads to an attack-like shortness of breath which is caused by a narrowing of the airways. Such a narrowing of the airways can be caused by a variety of stimuli; in asthmatics it is usually the same stimuli that cause the narrowing, for example cold or certain allergens.
If you hear a noise when you breathe out, you speak of a so-called expiratory stridor.
A burning sensation in the chest area may be one of the symptoms of an asthma attack. An acute asthma attack is usually treated with asthma sprays which contain various active ingredients to widen the airways and to reduce inflammation in the area of the airways.
Burning lungs with a cold
A cold that involves the lungs and airways (bronchitis) can cause burning sensations in the chest.
Very often there is a difficult to control cough, which can trigger and intensify the symptoms, increased temperature up to fever and general complaints such as headache and body aches.
This is mostly caused by viruses that multiply in the airway cells, lead to inflammation there and activate nerve fibers that can produce the burning sensation. Usually the cold will improve after a week, but the cough and burning sensation can last up to 4 weeks.
Acute bronchitis as a cause of burning sensation in the lungs
Often it is acute bronchitis, which can also cause burning in the lungs. The airways become increasingly swollen and the mucous membrane in the bronchi becomes inflamed. In this case, the symptoms are often preceded by a coughing fit, which can be very strong. In the beginning it is often very dry and then it becomes slimy. The repeated coughing attacks often put such stress on the respiratory muscles that pain in the lungs occurs.
Burning sensation in the lungs after pneumonia
After pneumonia, the lungs are in a healing process that can take a while. Because of the damaged airways, symptoms such as a burning sensation in the lungs may persist. These can last up to four weeks.
Then it should be considered whether there could be another, simultaneous cause in addition to pneumonia, such as heartburn or poorly controlled asthma. Finally, a tumor can also lead to the airway being obstructed and the natural cleaning function of the airways being impaired. This can lead to pneumonia.
The burning sensation can come directly from the lungs, or even more superficially from the muscle layers that are responsible for breathing.
Sometimes the burning sensation is accompanied by pulling, which can also turn into a feeling of pressure. Many symptoms are possible in this area and, depending on the cause, can spread to the chest area.
In addition to the burning sensation, the chest area can also become tight, which can also trigger panic and anxiety in those affected and consequently cause sweats and an increased pulse as well as shortness of breath. Often times, chest pain is preceded by a coughing fit. If it is bronchitis, then there is a general malaise. This often includes fever and fatigue.
Burning in the throat
Since part of the neck, more precisely the windpipe, is an important part of the respiratory tract (respiratory tract), illnesses in this area, especially colds, can also lead to a sore throat or burning sensation in the throat. Many patients also complain of hoarseness or a dry throat. In some cases, however, a scratchy throat or hoarseness can also indicate lung cancer. If the symptoms persist for a long time, a doctor should be consulted urgently.
Read more on the topic: Burning in the throat
Burning lungs and cough
Coughing combined with a burning sensation in the lungs can indicate pneumonia, but also acute bronchitis. But a chronic obstrictive lung disease, or COPD for short, can also be the cause. Sputum is also an important indicator of this disease. This means that those affected cough up and spit out sputum and mucus, often in large quantities. COPD is mainly caused by smoking, but pollutants inhaled at work, for example, can also cause this disease. However, heredity or infection can also be the underlying causes. In COPD, the lining of the lungs is severely damaged. In addition, many bronchi collapse. This means that less oxygen can be absorbed into the body and then subsequently leads to shortness of breath. There are 4 different stages of the disease. There are numerous medications that can stop the disease from progressing and / or relieve symptoms. A cure for the disease is not possible.
Read more: Lung pain when coughing such as End-stage COPD
Burning sensation in the lungs when breathing
If the lungs burn when you breathe, it may well be pneumonia. In addition, COPD is also possible as an underlying disease. The lungs can also burn as a result of excessive tobacco consumption. This can also be an indication that the cigarettes used are too strong. Also in the windpipe (Trachea) One finds respiratory ciliated epitheliumis the name given to the mucous membrane that lines the respiratory tract. Normally, very fine cilia, moving towards the nose, ensure that pollutants can be exhaled. If they are defective, for example due to smoking, deposits and increased mucus production in the respiratory tract can occur and thus also cause breathing problems.A pneumothorax can also cause a burning sensation in the lungs when breathing, as the inhalation compresses the lungs more and more and the air that reaches the pleural space can no longer escape. Air that is too cold, if inhaled directly through the mouth during exertion, can also cause burning in the lungs. If the air gets through the nose, it can not only be filtered and humidified, but is also warmed up by the many vessels in the nose.
Burning in the lungs on inhalation
If you suddenly get a burning sensation when you inhale, this can have numerous causes. Perhaps it is due to what was previously eaten or drunk or a slight injury to the esophagus has formed - for example from a hard crust of bread. In most cases, the cause is more in the esophagus than in the lungs.
A feeling of tightness when breathing in, which may also be associated with a noise when breathing in, can indicate a partial obstruction of the airways, for example by a nut or part of a nut that has accidentally got into the windpipe. Usually this is accompanied by a strong urge to cough. In this case, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Swellings, tumors or infections in the area of the airways can also lead to a noise when inhaling and possibly to a burning sensation.
Burning in the lungs during or after exercise
The sensation of burning in the lungs during or after exercise can have several causes. If the athlete is inexperienced, the lungs can cause a burning sensation in the event of greater unusual exertion, i.e. if the lungs are more stressed than usual, which should usually stop shortly after the exertion.
Occasionally, an unusual cold stimulus during sport (for example jogging in freezing temperatures) can cause a burning sensation.
If this burning sensation means that physical activity has to be stopped quickly, it can be helpful to see a doctor. The family doctor can then decide whether it makes sense to see a lung specialist (pulmonologist) to carry out certain lung function tests.
Burning in the lungs when running / jogging
If the lungs are burning while exercising, this can be an indication of the diseases mentioned above, but it can also simply be an indication that you are not trained enough. The body then needs more oxygen than can be "supplied".
The bronchi normally have to work with less air in these people and are simply overwhelmed. These symptoms often occur in people who have done little or no sport for a long time and then ask too quickly and too much of themselves.
Burning lungs on exertion
As already mentioned, the lungs, especially the bronchi, can often not handle too much air during exertion.
You are overwhelmed and so it comes to the corresponding symptoms. The rule here also applies that you should try to inhale it through your nose, especially when the air is cold. Most of the time, this is neglected, especially under exertion, which can also lead to burning.
Burning in the lungs, with difficulty breathing
Sudden shortness of breath with a burning sensation can result from a disease of the respiratory tract or the lungs, for example bronchial asthma, worsening of COPD, pneumonia, spontaneous pneumothorax or pulmonary embolism.
Heart disease, such as a heart attack, can also be responsible. Finally, hyperventilation syndrome, a comparatively harmless, psychologically induced shortness of breath due to stress or fear reactions, can also be responsible for the symptoms.
Burning lungs with back pain
If you have a lung disease, strained breathing can put a lot of strain on the rib and diaphragm muscles and cause painful cramps in your back. The irritation of the lungs from pneumonia can also radiate to the back.
Back pain is feared as a possible sign of a spread of lung cancer. However, since back pain is very common, the presence of these two complaints does not have to be evidence of lung cancer. To be on the safe side, those affected can consult a doctor who can use a physical examination and diagnostic measures to determine the cause.
If the symptoms are so imprecise, a particularly good and accurate one anamnese important there many diseases come into question. It is important to find out any additional symptoms and thus rule out other diseases. It also has to be the whole physical condition of the patient, as well as the times at which the complaints occurred and whether they are related to certain activities, such as sport. According to this exact anamnese, of course, is also important Examine patient. The patient is with the Stethoscope examined and tapped. After that there may be appointments for Ultrasonic, roentgen, MRI or else CT agreed. With these imaging procedures one can very well change how Tumors or determine other injuries and illnesses. By a Lung scintigraphy can also do the Ventilation of the lungs investigate what is important for many diseases. In many cases it will also be a EKG caused. An extensive one Blood count to do is just as important as the other methods of investigation mentioned.
Therapy depends on the underlying disease and can be very diverse. At a acute bronchitis there aren't many options for therapy. Should it be a bacterial bronchitis, so from bacteria have been caused, the gift is one Antibiotic makes sense. But bronchitis usually heals by itself off again. The administration of cough suppressant medication is possible, but is often refused because the overproduced mucus should be coughed up. But sometimes it comes from that strong cough to Trouble sleeping and here you can Cough Syrup and other cough suppressant drugs administer. At bronchial asthma on the other hand, in the vast majority of cases the medication is inhaled and taken with inhalers. If the illness is related to the job, pets or an allergy, one can often find a remedy by staying away from the animals or places that cause the asthma. The most important drugs include a wide variety Glucocorticoids. A Pulmonary embolism is an acutely life-threatening situation and should immediately in the hospital be treated. That is important Oxygen supply and the administration of hemostatic drugs. Often the circulation has to be stabilized and by means of catheter or one surgery the thrombus will be removed. But it can also happen that the thrombus dissolves by itself. It is similar to bronchitis lung infection It is equally important to identify the pathogen and administer appropriate medication. This can Antibiotics, Antivirals or Antimimetics be. Depending on the additional complaints, it is also possible, for example, to work with antipyretic drugs, especially if the patient is in one of the risk groups, such as old people or small children. It is also important that cough suppressant and expectorant Medicines are administered. Depending on the patient's condition, hospitalization may also be necessary. One Pneumothorax one treats by one Chest drain in order to suck out the air in the pleural space. If the pneumothorax is only very slight, which is often not recognized at all, the air is usually removed from the body gradually by itself. If it's a Pneumothorax acts as a result of an accident, then the external and internal injuries and blood, which may also have occurred, must also be suctioned off and treated. In addition, the Stabilization of the circulation come when the pneumothorax has already had a serious impact on the body.
Can quitting smoking cause a burning sensation in my lungs?
Especially when people smoke for the first time and the ingredients in the cigarette are actually inhaled, the lungs will burn immediately or some time later.
Our healthy and unloaded lungs are not prepared for this onslaught of pollutants on the body. Many substances prevent the lungs from being adequately detoxified, or tar and other substances, for example, are deposited in the bronchi and stick together. The body can no longer adequately guarantee the oxygen supply to the organs through smoking. The longer you smoke, the more your lungs get used to this stress, which does not mean that they are less stressed by the pollutants. It is also important that every person is different and that every person's lungs react differently to smoking. Of course, particularly sensitive lungs hurt even more. Many former smokers complain of a burning sensation in their lungs when they quit smoking. This can of course also be caused by the diseases mentioned above, but often because the body begins to remove all the deposits from the body and the lungs first have to get used to the pollution-free life again.
What evidence is there that it is cancer?
As already mentioned, can hoarseness, but also prolonged scratching of the throat a hint for Lung cancer be. Burning in the lungs or strong cough can also be an indication of lung cancer.
This does not mean that a burning sensation in the lungs is necessarily caused by a malignant disease. Nevertheless, the symptoms should be observed and cancer should be ruled out by the doctor. In this way, you may recognize the disease early enough to have a real chance of recovery.
At this point, however, it should be emphasized again that all symptoms must be taken seriously, but in most cases a burning sensation in the lungs no Is pointing to cancer!