Respiratory disease is classified as any of the disorders and/or diseases that affect respiration. Respiratory disease pertains to conditions associated with the airways and lungs, and can affect the trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, and upper respiratory tract. Mild forms of respiratory disease can manifest as conditions such as the common cold. More serious forms of respiratory disease include: bronchitis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, asthma, and lung cancer.
Respiratory disease can be triggered by several different causes. Genetic factors, smoking, inhaling toxic agents, infections, and accidents can all lead to respiratory disease. Allergies and pollution can also trigger adverse respiratory conditions.
There are several different types of respiratory diseases that impede lung and air passage function. These include:
There are scarce symptoms that are associated with respiratory disease. One of the most common signs of respiratory disease is a cough. Other symptoms of respiratory disease include:
Respiratory disease is diagnosed through a physical exam and a series of various tests. A stethoscope is typically used to determine the pitch and loudness of lung sounds, which can reveal abnormalities in the lungs or air passages. Sputum may also be examined for bacteria. Computed tomography (CT) scans produce pictures of the lungs, which can be used to determine any problems.
Treatment for respiratory disease is dependent upon the type of condition a person is diagnosed with. Those suffering from respiratory conditions due to asthma are typically prescribed inhaled or oral medications that can help open airway passages. People who suffer from bronchitis may find relief through prescription or over-the-counter medication. Respiratory diseases such as lung cancer will require treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Lung infections that lead to respiratory disease are typically caused by a viral infection. While a person’s immune system can sometimes work to flush out the infection, antibiotics are sometimes used to stop the infection.
Respiratory failure occurs when there isn’t enough oxygen passing from the lungs into the bloodstream. Respiratory failure can be fatal in some situations if not quickly treated. Lung diseases such as COPD, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary embolism can all cause respiratory failure.
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