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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    Yes, pleural cavity disorders can be serious. For most, the leading symptoms include difficulty breathing as well as sharp pain while breathing. These disorders often require medicine to reduce inflammation or medical procedures to remove fluid and air from the pleural cavity. Those steps are necessary to restore normal breathing.

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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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    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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    A hemothorax is a collection of blood in the space between the chest wall and the lung as a result of chest trauma. However, hemothorax can also be caused by a defect of blood clotting, pulmonary infarction, lung or pleural cancer, placement of a central venous catheter, thoracic or heart surgery, and tuberculosis.
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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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    Pleural cavity disorders include pleurisy, pleural effusion, pneumothorax, and hemothorax. The pleura are thin layers of tissue that line the outside of the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity. There is a thin space between these layers that is known as the pleural cavity. When liquid, air, or other gas gets in this cavity, or if inflammation occurs, then pleural cavity disorders develop. Pleurisy is inflammation of the pleural tissues that results in breathing difficulty. Pleural effusion happens when too much fluid infiltrates the pleural cavity. Pneumothorax occurs when air or other gas fills the pleural cavity. Hemothorax occurs when blood gets in the pleural cavity.