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What Is the Lung Parenchyma?

Lung parenchyma can refer to the functioning parts of the human lung.
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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2014
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Lung parenchyma is the medical term used to describe the actual functioning parts of a human or animal lung. It includes the alveolar walls as well as the blood vessels and the bronchi. If any part of the parenchyma becomes damaged or diseased, a person’s life may be at risk. Other organs in the body also contain parenchyma and are susceptible to various diseases and conditions that may prove to be fatal if not diagnosed in a timely fashion and promptly treated.

Upon first hearing the term, some people think of lung parenchyma as primarily relating to the tissue lining the lung’s air pockets or sacs, known as the alveoli. Lung parenchyma, however, more extensively involves the bronchioles or lung airways, as well as key blood vessels located inside of the lungs. Parenchyma in the lungs essentially includes all systems and tissues pertinent to the lung’s healthy functioning.

All healthy humans and animals have lung parenchyma. In fact, parenchyma, defined as the parts which make an organ function, is also present in other parts of the body, such as the liver, spleen, brain and heart. Parenchyma simply refers to any part of an organ that is responsible for that organ working properly.

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When testing for possible disease or infection, doctors examine all areas of the lung in search of irregularities. Not to be confused with lung parenchyma, people with lung parenchymal disease often suffer from conditions such as sarcoidoisis, characterized by tissue swelling and the formation of lumps in the tissue. Some people who are affected with sarcoidoisis located in the lung’s parenchyma fully recover after receiving adequate medical treatment, but for other people such a condition may lead to chronic health problems or may even lead to death. While sarcoidoisis does occur in the parenchyma, it may also occur in other organs, such as the heart and the brain, and its origins are often unknown. Other conditions commonly found in the lung’s parenchyma are emphysema and cancer.

Diseased or infected lung parenchyma can severely inhibit a person’s breathing and quality of life. It is possible for people to have sustained damage to the lung’s parenchyma or to be affected by disease without immediately realizing that the lungs have been jeopardized. When symptoms do arise, many report feeling a shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, a racing heart and chest pain. Health experts recommend that people experiencing these or similar symptoms seek immediate medical attention.

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anon321053
Post 1

Can I get an opinion on this?

I have researched occupational lung diseases including industrial injury emphesyma and bronchiolitis melanoma cancer, pleural plaques and alveolar alveoli.

I am just 42 and did not start smoking until I was in my mid 20's. I worked at a high school in Manchester as a caretaker/building manager from 1998 – 2003. I had tried submitting a claim with IIDB regarding my now chronic lung disease industrial injury to no avail. Since when is emphysema and bronchiolitis and severe lung damage from when I was younger not an industrial disease or chronic lung disease?

Now I have worked for the said authority since 1991 - 2003 when I resigned due to BSF and contractual issues. It's not like I wasn't a member of a popular union at the time I was exposed to asbestos and cement dust, etc., etc. on a daily basis in my capacity as a live in caretaker/building manager at the said high school. I attribute my now chronic lung disease to the said school and even when I resigned, there was no escape as I was still being exposed to various BSF demolition and builders dust while waiting to be rehoused off site.

There is more to this story, but in the interests of privacy, I can't talk about it specifically. But I still feel that having been exposed to asbestos, cement, demolition and builders dust in a school that had a shelf life of only 30 years and was only demolished after 50 has given me this chronic lung disease.

One example is the 1 1/2 in steel gas pipe will rot right through with just a bit of cement stuck on it after 30 years. I know my lungs are not made of steel.

Asbestos diseases manifest themselves in different ways. Some symptoms take many years – even decades – to appear and exposure from a long time ago might only much later show up as a disease. Some of these conditions are malignant and some are not. Melanoma is a type of cancer that destroys the pleura but emphysema destroys the pleura just like asbestos, except it's not correct to say asbestos fibers damaging the pleura in the same way.

Bronchiolitis is abnormal bronchi and becomes filled with excess amount of mucus. If not checked, it will destroy your alveoli just like asbestos the fibres usually resist and destroy these blood cells like bronchiolitis, promoting further inflammation, further mucus and irreversible scarring, fibrosis and destruction of the alveoli.

It looks to me like I am victim of the ongoing cuts in IIDB, and having undergone my first medical review and CT scan of my chronic condition that made me sick, my lung specialist at a hospital who has just diagnosed me with this serious condition did say my lungs where full of holes and I had suffered a major lung injury trauma from when I was younger and I also have emphysema and bronchiolitis.

I am no lung specialist and it's very hard finding one who will confirm this, but I think I know what the early signs of asbestos-related diseases are. That's why I feel my injury is a direct result of my work and living conditions as a caretaker at the high school, but as with everything, time will tell.

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