Contact Form

5 Most Common Types of Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases or chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) affect the lungs, the air sacs, and other organs of the respiratory system in our body.

While the most common causes of respiratory diseases are pollution and smoking tobacco, other risk factors include occupational chemicals and dust, nutritional deficiency, frequent respiratory infections during childhood, and genetic conditions.

Some of the most common types of respiratory diseases are asthma, tuberculosis (TB), bronchitis, pneumonia, and lung cancer. In this article let’s get to know about their symptoms and causes.

> Asthma

Asthma is considered a global health problem affecting nearly 262 million people around the world. This chronic disease causes breathing problems due to inflammation or excessive mucus production blocking the airway.  

People with severe childhood respiratory illness and a family history of asthma are more susceptible to asthma. Apart from medical history, pollution and dust allergies can also cause asthma. Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and thickness in the chest are some of the common symptoms of asthma.


While there is no cure for asthma, and the severity varies from person to person, there are preventive medications to control the symptoms of asthma to lead an active normal life. If you are facing difficulty breathing even after medication it is advisable to consult a doctor.

> Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious respiratory disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that mainly affects the lungs. This infection spreads from person to person through tiny droplets released into the air via coughing and sneezing. Tuberculosis can also occur outside your lungs affecting the kidneys, spine, and brain.

While TB is curable and preventable, according to WHO, 10.6 million people suffered from tuberculosis worldwide in 2021. Medically tuberculosis is divided into two types: Latent TB and Active TB depending on the bacteria present in the body. The bacteria causing Latent TB are inactive and non contagious. However, a lack of treatment can turn Latent Tb into an Active TB.


Signs and symptoms of active TB include severe coughing for three or more weeks, blood spots in mucus, chest pain while breathing or coughing, extreme weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue fever with night sweats.

> Bronchitis

Inflammation of the lining of bronchial tubes is called bronchitis. There are two types of bronchitis – ‘acute bronchitis’ also known as a ‘chest cold’ with mild symptoms lasting a week to 10 days and ‘chronic bronchitis’; a condition caused by repeated bouts of bronchitis and defined by a productive cough that lasts at least three months.  Chronic bronchitis is included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and requires medical attention.

Cough, yellowish-grey or green-in coloured mucus, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, chills, and discomfort in the chest are some of the common signs and symptoms of bronchitis.


Acute bronchitis has symptoms similar to common cold such as mild body aches and headaches. While these symptoms usually improve in about a week, you may have a nagging cough that lingers for several weeks.

If your cold symptoms do not improve in a week to 10 days and you are experiencing a lingering nagging cough for several weeks it is advisable to consult a doctor.

> Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the airway and the alveoli in your lungs making it hard to breathe. Most common bacteria and viruses found in the air we breathe can cause pneumonia. Although preventable according to UNICEF, pneumonia claims nearly 700,000 children under the age of 5 globally.


Symptoms of pneumonia range from mild cold or flu to life-threatening conditions depending on germ-causing pneumonia. Learn more about the causes and prevention treatment of pneumonia in our earlier blog. 

> Lung Cancer

Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the second most common cancer and by far the leading cause of cancer deaths. Smokers are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer than those who have never smoked.

Lung Cancer

Unfortunately, lung cancer develops gradually with no signs or symptoms in the early stage. Chest pain, chronic cough, difficulty breathing, sudden weight loss fatigue, or weakness are common signs of lung cancer once they do start appearing.

While more respiratory diseases are not curable; however, various forms of treatments can help control symptoms to improve your daily life. At A.J. Hospital in Mangalore, we have renowned pulmonologists and a dedicated pulmonology department to care for and treat diseases affecting the lungs.  Book an appointment at A.J Hospital in Mangalore today.