Signs & Symptoms of Lung Disease

Updated February 21, 2017

Lung diseases such as bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis can have similar signs and symptoms; however, the nature of the diseases themselves are different. For example, bronchitis and COPD obstruct the ability for the lungs to release air while pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis disable the lungs from being able to expand during breathing. Consult your doctor or health care provider if you are seeing the signs of lung disease.

Difficulty Breathing

The restrictions placed on the lungs by lung diseases can cause shortness of breath, rapid breathing, the feeling of taking abnormally deep breaths and noisy or raspy breathing. A doctor may be able to hear symptomatic noises using a stethoscope that cannot be heard by the ear.


Prolonged coughing can occur as a result of your body's natural reaction to contaminated, clogged or irritated lungs. Coughing can also cause a strain on breathing and result in pain or inflammation of the throat.


Infections and diseases of the lungs will often cause the body to produce excess mucus in an effort to protect the respiratory system. Coughing will bring up mucus, and mucus will often appear yellow or green in colour.


Inflammation caused in the lining of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract can cause bleeding, which will often show up in coughed-up mucus.


Problems and inflammation in the lungs, as well as coughing, put stress on nerves and muscles and can cause feelings of cramping and pain in the chest area.

Changes in Temperature

A fever may result as part of the body's effort to rid itself of an infection. Fever can cause the body to feel both unusually hot or cold.


If a lung disease is preventing the body from getting the oxygen it needs, this can result in feelings of tiredness and disorientation.

Skin Color

Inadequate oxygen levels in the blood can cause the blood in vessels under the skin to turn blue, which will in turn cause the skin to appear blue. This condition is known as cyanosis.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.