Respiratory diseases; affect the airways, including nasal passages, bronchi, and lungs. From pneumonia to bronchitis to bronchiolitis, asthma, COPD, or lung cancer, all of these diseases affect the respiratory system. Discomfort when breathing, a dry or oily cough, lasting shortness of breath are all signs not to be taken lightly. These symptoms can evoke several respiratory diseases, so they should prompt to consult a doctor without delay. To limit the risks, it is better to avoid tobacco smoke. Smokers are indeed more exposed to these diseases. The toxic products inspired by cigarettes attack the cells lining the throat, nose, mouth, etc. Another responsible for diseases of the respiratory system: air pollution. In this section, discover the main respiratory diseases, their warning signs, and the treatments to be implemented.
1.The main respiratory diseases
Allergy, also called hypersensitivity, is an uncommon reaction of the immune system against elements foreign to the body (allergens), but harmless. It can happen in different regions of the body, on the skin, in the eyes, in the digestive system or in the respiratory system. The symptoms and their intensity will vary depending on where the allergy occurs, and depending on several other factors, specific to each person.
It is a disease characterized by more or less significant inflammation of the respiratory tract, in the bronchi and small bronchi, the bronchioles. It results by the difficulty of breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, or tightness in the chest.
Asthma is a chronic disease, most often demonstrated by seizures interspersed with periods when breathing is normal. In some people, however, asthma causes permanent breathing problems that interfere with daily activities.
It is an infection of the pulmonary parenchyma (bronchioles and alveoli), which can also affects the bronchi; this is called bronchopneumonia. It differs in this from bronchitis, which exclusively affects the bronchi.
A distinction is made between community-acquired pneumonia and nosocomial pneumonia (contracted in a hospital environment). There is rarer pneumonia, those called inhalation due to inhalation of food or gastric liquid such as vomiting or during false food routes, or those called opportunistic, which specifically affect immunocompromised people.
It is a swelling in your airways (bronchi), which brings air into and out of the lungs. The bronchi are the airways that connect your windpipe (in your throat) to the small air sacs (air sacs) in your lungs. Air bags are the place in your body where the oxygen you breathe is absorbed.
When you have bronchitis, the walls of your bronchi are swollen and filled with excess sticky mucus. The swelling of the walls and the mucus partially block the passage of air into your lungs. It makes you cough.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is a long-term respiratory disease, which is a chronic inflammation of the lung that impedes the flow of air from the lungs, the major cause of which is emphysema and bronchitis.
It also results from prolonged exposure to irritating gases or suspended particles that usually result from cigarette smoke. People with chronic obstructive pulmonary illness are more likely to develop heart disease, lung cancer, or other various conditions.
Emphysema is a respiratory disease that occurs when the alveoli in the lungs (alveoli) are damaged. Over time, the inner walls of the alveoli are weakened and torn, which creates larger air spaces and reduces the surface area of the lungs, thus reducing the amount of oxygen reaching the bloodstream. The damaged air sacs don’t work correctly when you breathe out and trap old air inside them and leave no room for fresh oxygen-rich air.
It is a serious disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that was inhaled (inspired). It usually infects the lungs. It can also infect other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, spinal cord, and the brain.
You can have tuberculosis and not be sick; it is then latent tuberculosis: the person has contracted the bacterium of tuberculosis, which is present in his body but which does not proliferate. Latent TB can come back active at any time and make you very sick. If you have inactive TB, treatment is needed to cure your infection.
It is the leading cause of cancer deaths and of all respiratory diseases as it kills more lives than colon cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.
The risk of lung cancer increases in smokers, and it can affect those who have never smoked. The risk of developing lung cancer increases as long as smoking lasts, and the number of cigarettes you smoke increases.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes infection of the lungs and airways. It is common in infants and young children, so almost all children have already contracted the virus by the age of 3.
In children under 3 years of age, RSV may be more severe; it can cause an infection in the lower airways, such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia.
Related: Cold disease, definition, symptoms, and treatments
2. Symptoms of respiratory diseases
Different symptoms can indicate respiratory diseases. In most cases, the patient suffers from breathing difficulties, chest pain, or shortness of breath. These signs may be accompanied by a cough with or without sputum, cyanosis, or deformity of the fingers and nails.
3. Pneumology examinations and treatments
In order to diagnose respiratory diseases, various examinations are carried out in pulmonology. Among the most common, we find the chest x-ray, the lung scanner, the scintigraphy, the bronchoscopy, or the analysis of blood gases. Depending on the pathology detected, different treatments can be used in pneumology. In the pharmacology treatment of diseases, as the use of bronchodilators, antibiotics, immunosuppressants, pulmonary vasodilators, or antifibrotics. And in some cases, surgery may be required.
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Originally published on Live Positively.