What Lung Diseases Cause the Most Hospitalizations?

Last Editorial Review: 9/12/2017

Ask the experts

What are the most common lung diseases or conditions for which people are hospitalized?

Doctor's response

The most common lung diseases for which people are hospitalized include pneumonia, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is important to remember the integral part the lungs play in our overall health. Many people develop pulmonary symptoms, but these can be secondary to other conditions. For instance, patients who experience a heart attack may develop shortness of breath because of the heart failure resulting from cardiac damage. Patients who are infected in other organs, like the kidneys, can present with respiratory distress as pulmonary compensation for acids building up in the body from the infection. That childhood song really characterizes it best, for example, "the ankle bone is connected to the shin bone...."

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"Management of stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease"