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The Difference Between Obstructive and Restrictive Lung Disease

24 May 2016
| Under Disease Education, Lung Disease, Medical | Posted by
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The Difference Between Obstructive & Restrictive Lung Disease

Doctors classify lung disease as either obstructive or restrictive. The term obstructive lung disease includes conditions that hinder a person’s ability to exhale all the air from their lungs. Those with restrictive lung disease experience difficulty fully expanding their lungs. Obstructive and restrictive lung disease share one main symptom–shortness of breath with any sort of physical exertion. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between obstructive and restrictive lung disease.

Obstructive Lung Diseases

Obstructive lung disease and its characteristic narrowing of pulmonary airways hinder a person’s ability to completely expel air from the lungs. The practical result is that by the end of every breath, quite a bit of air remains in the lungs. Some common conditions related to obstructive lung disease include:

Obstructive lung disease makes breathing especially harder during increased activity or exertion. Exhalations take longer with obstructive lung disease, so that as the rate of breathing increases and the lungs work harder, the amount of fresh air circulated into the lungs, and spent air circulated out, decreases.

Restrictive Lung Diseases

The Difference Between Obstructive & Restrictive Lung Disease

People suffering from restrictive lung disease have a hard time fully expanding their lungs when they inhale. That is, it’s more difficult to fill lungs with air. This is a result of the lungs being restricted from fully expanding.  This can occur when tissue in the chest wall becomes stiffened, or due to weakened muscles or damaged nerves. Any of these factors can restrict the expansion of the lungs. Some of the conditions classified as restrictive lung disease include:

The severity of most lung diseases is tested by using a pulmonary function test. Obstructive and restrictive lung diseases can cause shortness of breath, severe coughing and chest pain. Treatments are different for each condition and will require a special treatment plan provided by your doctor. If you have been diagnosed or suspect that you might have a lung disease, you should talk to your doctor about your condition immediately. Do some research on your own to be sure to ask the right questions.

We hope that you have found our article about the difference between obstructive and restrictive lung disease helpful. While having a chronic lung disease presents many challenges, you can improve your quality of life by gaining more knowledge about your condition, learning healthy lifestyles and trying alternative treatments. If you or a loved one is interested in cellular therapy for lung disease, contact us at the Lung Institute to learn more or call (800) 729-3065.

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months of COPD patients.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.