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.

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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole-grain foods offers protection against chronic lung disease, as well as a lot of other aging-related diseases. But unlike lots of other examples, we're not exactly sure why. Nevertheless, the difference in lung disease rates between folks on the highest- versus lowest- quality diets was almost fivefold. So even if you are gasping, go for the nutritious goodies.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Don't underestimate the power of treating seemingly trivial problems like sinus conditions, allergies, and acid reflux disease, which can all cause the symptom of shortness of breath. Treating them with over-the-counter medications can greatly improve your overall quality of breathing.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Because breathing affects all of our organs, clues to lung disease are often evident in faraway places, like your fingertips. When the fingertips of corresponding digits of opposite hands are directly opposed, fingernail to fingernail, a small diamond-shaped "window" is apparent between the nailbeds. If this window is obliterated, then you have clubbing of your fingers and need to check out possible causes, especially in the lungs, heart, and intestines. These diseases cause dilation of the small arteries in the fingertips, which leads to hypertrophy of the tissue of the nail beds and clubbing of the fingernails.
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    A , Administration, answered

    Chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and adult asthma may result from air pollution, smoking, and on-the-job exposure to substances that can damage the airways. Closed buildings and air-conditioning systems that recirculation air, as well as chemicals used in synthetic building materials and furnishings, may contribute to breathing problems. Pre-existing asthma may worsen due to exposure to pollutants. Dust may be an irritant, particularly for workers with other respiratory problems. Cigarette and cigar smoke interacts with other pollutants to increase the degree of damage. Dust from coal, grain, and cotton also cause respiratory ailments. Flour in the atmosphere of commercial bakeries too is a hazard for the employees.

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    Bronchiolitis obliterans is caused by destruction of the smallest airways in the lungs. This destruction leads to obstructive pulmonary disease. Damage caused by this disease can be so severe as to require a lung transplant.

    Chronic rejection in transplanted lungs can cause bronchiolitis obliterans, as well.

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    The physical symptoms of altitude sickness are the result of low oxygen levels in the body. As one ascends through the atmosphere, barometric pressure decreases and thus every breath contains fewer molecules of oxygen. One must work harder to obtain oxygen by breathing faster and deeper. This is particularly noticeable with exertion, such as walking uphill. (This answer provided for NATA by the Marist College Athletic Training Education Program)
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    Atmospheric pressure - measured with a barometer and also known as barometric pressure - measures the air's force against a surface. At low elevations, the pressure is greater because the molecules of air are compressed from the weight of the air above them. At higher elevations, the molecules are more dispersed because there is less pressure.

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    A person suffering from high altitude sickness may be breathing faster, deeper, or both. They will likely have shortness of breath during exertion and a change in the breathing pattern at night. They also awaken frequently at night. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, fatigue or weakness, and dizziness or light-headedness. Those suffering from altitude sickness commonly complain of a headache. Many describe this general feeling as similar to that of a hangover. (This answer provided for NATA by the Marist College Athletic Training Education Program)
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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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    Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) has three forms: mild, moderate and severe.

    The majority of people ascending to altitudes of 10,000 feet (3,048 m) or more will experience at least some symptoms of mild AMS. These symptoms include headache, weakness, nausea, and decreased appetite. Mild AMS usually begins within 12 to 24 hours of reaching a higher altitude and normally will disappear within three days. There are medications to treat the symptoms of AMS, but they cannot cure it. Resting and allowing your body to acclimatize,or descending to a lower elevation, are the only ways to cure AMS. Most people who are afflicted with AMS are able to move about on their own; only severe cases require someone to carry them, or otherwise transport them down.