What is a spontaneous pneumothorax?
Spontaneous pneumothorax refers to the condition when a lung leaks air and collapses. In this condition lung collapses are caused by blebs, not by trauma or an underlying lung disease. Blebs are weak spots on the lungs and people who grow blebs are sometimes diagnosed with “bleb disease.” Even a tiny hole or weak spot can release enough air to collapse the lung. Doctors are unsure why or how they form.
Is it genetic?
While more research needs to be done, there does seem to be a pattern of spontaneous pneumothorax among families. Although a gene has not yet been identified, it is believed that a specific gene causes blebs to form on the lungs.
Who is at risk?
If you have a family history of spontaneous pneumothorax you are more at risk for developing this condition. Doctors once believed tall, thin, young males tend to be more at risk for getting spontaneous pneumothoraces. However many people experience a spontaneous pneumothorax who do not fit these characteristics. There are no confirmed lifestyle choices, such as drug use or being overweight, that make people more susceptible to this condition.
If I have one lung collapse, how likely is it that it will collapse again?
Some people with problematic blebs experience one lung collapse. Unfortunately, many people experience additional lung collapses. These collapses can occur on either lung. In addition, some people can experience leaking blebs which causes pain, but may not necessarily collapse their lungs. Talk to your doctor to discuss the specifics of your situation.