Lung Disease and Respiratory System

Lung Disease and Respiratory System

Lung Disease and Respiratory System
Diseases, pollutants and genetics can affect your respiratory health. The simple cold - which is caused by more than 200 different viruses - inflames the upper respiratory tract, resulting in a cough, runny nose and sneezing. A more severe cough combined with mucus is a sign of bronchitis, where the membranes lining the bronchial tubes become inflamed. The inflammatory lung disease asthma affects more than 20 million people, making airways constrict when exposed to irritants like dust, pet dander and cigarette smoke. Pneumonia, another inflammation of the lungs, can occur because of a bacterial or viral infection. People suffering from cystic fibrosis, an inherited lung disease, frequently battle bacterial infections and airways clogged with thick and sticky mucus.

Recently Answered

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    Because most cases of bronchitis are caused by the same kind of contagious virus that causes the common cold, one of the best ways to prevent bronchitis is to wash your hands frequently. You should also consider getting an annual flu shot and should try to avoid contact with others who have respiratory infections or the flu. If you smoke, another important factor is to quit smoking. This will greatly reduce the risk of bronchitis. When you are exposed to irritants in the air, such as dust or fumes, wearing a mask or other protective gear to protect your lungs can also help prevent bronchitis. Your doctor might also recommend getting a pneumonia vaccine, especially if you are over 60 years old or have other issues that increase your risk of bronchitis and pneumonia.

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    To help prevent acute bronchitis:
    • Avoid smoking.
    • Avoid exposure to second hand smoke and do not expose children to second hand smoke.
    • Practice good hand hygiene.
    • Keep you and your child up to date with recommended immunizations.
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    Hyperventilation is breathing faster and deeper than what is considered normal for you. Doing this causes a decrease in carbon dioxide in your blood. Hyperventilation can cause symptoms such as:
    • lightheadedness
    • numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
    • fainting
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    When you hyperventilate, it is not because you are not getting enough oxygen. The problem is that your carbon dioxide is too low in relationship to the amount of oxygen you are taking in. (This answer provided for NATA by the University of Montana Athletic Training Education Program.)
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    A answered
    Symptoms of empyema include:
    • Chest pain
    • Dry cough
    • Excessive sweating
    • Fever and chills
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue
    • Unintentional weight loss
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    Mountain sickness develops when the body cannot adjust to high elevations. At higher elevations the air pressure decreases, which means there is less oxygen in the air. The body needs time to adjust to lower oxygen levels.

    Individuals who climb or travel to altitudes higher than 8,000 feet above sea level at a rate that is faster than 1,000 feet per day are at risk of developing mountain sickness.

    Other factors may also influence a person's risk of developing mountain sickness. If the body is overworked within the first 24 hours of the climb, patients have an increased risk of developing the condition because the body requires more oxygen. Individuals who are dehydrated or hypothermic have an increased risk of developing the condition. Also, consuming alcohol or other sedatives increases the risk of the mountain sickness because these drugs slow breathing.

    Flying in a plane cannot cause mountain sickness because the oxygen level in the plane does not decrease.

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      There are three things that climbers should keep in mind regarding altitude sickness:

      • If you begin experiencing symptoms of altitude sickness, even if no one else is feeling afflicted, you should assume that you are sick.
      • Remember to"climb high, sleep low." In other words, do not ascend to a new altitude to sleep if you are experiencing symptoms of altitude sickness.
      • If you not change altitudes and your symptoms are worse, descend as soon as possible.
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      It is not clear what causes Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which is an altitude-related neurological disorder. Genetics seem to play a part. Someone who is completely out-of-shape may not be vulnerable to AMS, while an Olympic athlete may find herself or himself in a life-threatening medical emergency.

      People suffering from AMS sometimes attribute their sickness to a headache, nausea, or some other cause and keep climbing -- and continue becoming sicker. This misdiagnosis can prove fatal.

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      A answered
      Empyema is a collection of pus in the pleural (or chest) space, caused by an infection that spreads from the lung and leads to a buildup of pus in the pleural space. Risk factors for empyema include bacterial pneumonia, lung abscess, previous thoracic surgery, or trauma or injury to the chest. Empyema can occur when a needle is inserted through the chest wall to draw fluid from the pleural space.
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      Empyema occurs when a lung infection spreads to the pleural cavity. This infection may be from pneumonia or pus that first developed in the lungs. Another possible cause is an infection that results after a chest injury.