We speak of pneumothorax or lung collapse when an accumulation of air takes place between the tissues that line the lungs , also called pleurae. This accumulation of air seriously affects respiration, since it takes up space in the rib cage that does not allow the lungs to expand as they would normally.
This supposes a shallow and insufficient breathing, causing the person who suffers a feeling of suffocation and pain in the chest . A pneumothorax seriously compromises the health of the sufferer and requires medical attention as soon as possible. In addition, in the case of not being treated to determine the severity of the collapse, it could have worse consequences, aggravating the symptoms with harmful results for health.
What are the causes of pneumothorax?
Depending on its cause we can distinguish between several types of pneumothorax :
- Extrathoracic pneumothorax : its causes are injuries from the outside of the lungs, such as injuries caused by the impact of a bullet or something puncturing through the pleura, such as a fractured rib.
- Intrathoracic pneumothorax : it is due to the formation of air bubbles within the lungs, usually due to drastic pressure changes, such as those experienced by divers. These bubbles burst, leading to a perforation of the lung and allowing air to escape into the gap between the pleurae.
- Spontaneous pneumothorax : When it appears suddenly and without apparent cause.
- Pneumothorax derived from lung diseases such as: Asthma , COPD, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis or whooping cough .
It has been observed how this condition appears more commonly in young and middle-aged men. And in addition, there is also a higher prevalence in tall, thin or smokers.
What are the symptoms of pneumothorax?
The general symptoms or that always appear are:
- Pain in the entire chest area.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Nasal flaring.
In more serious cases it will also appear:
- Blue colored skin due to the lack of oxygen that he is suffering.
- Dizziness or fatigue
- Heart rate alteration.
How is a pneumothorax treated?
On the occasions that the lung collapse is not serious, a supply of oxygen through the mask and rest will suffice . In some situations the doctor may proceed to drain the air with a needle and the patient will be ready to go home.
But there are more complicated situations in which the severity of the pneumothorax requires more invasive treatments such as:
- Pleural tube to extract air : It consists of introducing a plastic tube between the ribs until it reaches the pleura, releasing the accumulated air and recovering the patient all his lung capacity. The probe can remain in our body for hours or days and usually involves hospitalization of the patient.
- Lung surgery : It will take care of repairing the damaged area of the lung and causing scarring that prevents future collapses.
The prognosis will depend on each patient and on the severity, but it is usually highly compromised with the cause of the pneumothorax.
Diagnosis of pneumothorax
A diagnosis based on symptoms and tests such as radiological examinations is necessary . Pneumothorax can be confused with heart attacks, asthma attacks, myocardial inflammation or perforations in the digestive system. So it is important to discard them.
A pneumothorax negatively affects our health and well-being and although there are no specific prevention measures to get rid of this condition, we can follow healthy habits such as they are; a balanced diet or keeping our body in its optimal state of health, will be our best weapon when facing any illness or recovery.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.