Patient's Complete Guide to Respiratory Disorders

Overview of Respiratory Disorders

Respiratory disorders are diseases and conditions of the lungs that can impact the airways, lungs, and overall respiratory system. All the structures and organs (throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, or lung tissues) that are linked to breathing are affected by respiratory disorders.

Signs and Symptoms of Respiratory Disorders

  • Wheezing
  • Swelling in the lungs
  • A whistling sound while breathing
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Mucus producing cough
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Recurring respiratory infections
  • Swelling in the feet and legs
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath while performing daily tasks
  • Chronic cough with mucus that is clear, yellow, or greenish

Types of Respiratory Disorders

The common types of Respiratory Disorders include:

  • COPD

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a fatal inflammatory disease of the lungs. It causes obstruction in the airflow from the lungs which makes it difficult for the suffering individual to breathe. People who suffer from COPD are more prone to getting heart and lung diseases that can be as severe as cancer. It is further categorized into:

Chronic Bronchitis

In Chronic Bronchitis, the bronchial tubes tighten and become inflamed as a result, the production of mucus is increased by the lungs. This further adds to the blockage of the airways. In order to clear the airways, a chronic cough is developed.

Emphysema

A huge air sack is formed during Emphysema due to the destruction of the walls of the alveoli (air sacks). The airflow of the lungs is disturbed when air is trapped inside and cannot be exhaled. This then causes shortness of breath.

  • Tuberculosis

It is a bacterial lung disease that is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacteria tuberculosis. Individuals with tuberculosis have a constant feeling of weakness and have night sweets and fever. In some cases, blood during coughing is also observed.

  • Pneumonia

In pneumonia, a bacteria, fungus or virus, or any other infection causes the air sacs in the lungs with fluid or pus. The lung’s ability to exchange gases is reduced when the sacs are filled with fluid and pus.

  • Cystic Fibrosis

Several organs get affected by cystic fibrosis but the lungs get affected the most. This blocks the lungs by forming thick mucus that can trap the harmful bacterias that can lead to infections.

  • Bronchitis

Bronchitis happens when the windpipe gets irritated and swollen. This usually occurs due to an infection. The presence of too much mucus in the bronchial tube may cause difficulty in breathing.

  • Lung Cancer

Lung cancer often comes with no symptoms. But when the symptoms appear they can be, wheezing, chest pain, chronic cough, weight loss, swelling in the neck and face, and hoarseness.

Causes of Respiratory Disorders

The most common causes of respiratory disorders include:

  • Smoking tobacco
  • Secondhand smoking
  • Air pollution
  • Fumes of smoke
  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Long-term wet cough

Risk Factors of Respiratory Disorders

Risk factors of respiratory disorders include:

  • Genetics

A very rare genetic disorder called alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency is one of the major risk factors for respiratory disorders.

  • Exposure to Chemicals and Dust

Exposure to chemicals and dust for a longer period of time can irritate the lungs and cause inflammation that increases the risk of respiratory disorders.

  • Individuals with Asthma

Asthma and all the other inflammatory conditions of the lungs can be a huge risk factor in causing respiratory disorders. Smoking when done while being an asthma patient can increase the risk of respiratory disorders.

  • Tobacco Smoke

Long-term cigarette smoking is one of the major risk factors for respiratory disorders. The more packs one smokes, the greater is the risk of developing respiratory disorders.

Prevention

Respiratory Disorders occur because of a clear cause and can be prevented and their progression can be controlled. The majority of respiratory diseases cases are linked with smoking, so the easiest way to prevent respiratory disorders is by quitting smoking. If there are early signs of respiratory disorders felt by an individual, it is important that they prevent the several diseases from affecting them by:

  • Getting an annual flu shot along with the regular vaccination for pneumococcal pneumonia.
  • Communicate with your doctor if your feel symptoms of depression
  • Quit smoking and other substances

Diagnosis

Respiratory disorders are mostly diagnosed by using a number of procedures. There is a physical test performed to diagnose respiratory disorders by the doctors and there are also some tests recommended that can diagnose respiratory disorders.

  • Physical Examination

During a physical examination, the doctor takes proper family history, reviews all the signs and symptoms, and discusses your exposure to irritants if you have had any.

  • Tests

There are several tests asked to be taken by the doctor in order to diagnose respiratory disorders and study the symptoms and signs even better. These tests include:

Chest X-Ray

A chest X-ray can easily indicate emphysema which is a type of respiratory disorder.

Pulmonary Function Test

The pulmonary Function Test measures the delivery of oxygen to the blood by measuring the amount of air inhaled and exhaled. A spirometer is used during this test. It is a tube connected to a machine, you need to blow in the tube to check how much air the lungs can hold and can blow out of the lungs.

CT Scan

CT Scan of the lungs helps in detecting emphysema and can determine the health condition of the patient as to if they are fit for respiratory disorders surgery or not.

Arterial Blood Gas Analysis

 

This test is performed to measure the function of the lungs in measuring how well the lungs bring in oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.

Treatment of Respiratory Disorders | When to Consult a Doctor

A lot of people are seen suffering from mild symptoms of respiratory disorders and in that case, simple cessation of smoking helps a lot. But for those with severe symptoms, effective therapies are available that can reduce the progression of respiratory disorders and can help improve their lifestyle and health.

Quitting Smoking

The first and the most essential step when it comes to the treatment of respiratory disorders is quitting smoking. Quitting smoking can improve breathing immensely. The doctor can recommend nicotine replacement medications that can help in place of cigarettes.

Oral Steroids

Individuals who experience intense and severe episodes of respiratory disorders can take short courses of oral steroids for moderate to severe exacerbation. However, doctors prohibit the use for longer periods as they come with side effects like diabetes, weight gain, cataracts, and an increased risk of infections.

Medication

Several kinds of medication can be used to treat the complications and symptoms of respiratory disorders.

Bronchodilators

The most common ones used are known as Bronchodilators. These are usually in the form of inhalers. These make breathing easier by opening the airways of the lungs.

Inhaled Steroids

These are used to reduce the inflammation of the airways and help in reducing exacerbation caused by respiratory disorders.

Lung Therapies

Doctors recommend lung therapies to people with moderate to severe symptoms of respiratory disorders. These include:

  • Oxygen Therapy

If there is not enough oxygen in the blood present, supplemental oxygen is used to make up for it. There are several machines and portable devices that are used for delivering oxygen to the lungs.

  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programs include nutrition advice, training and education combined. Several specialists can manage the rehabilitation program well.

Surgery

People with severe forms of emphysema are suggested to get treated with surgery when they don’t get effective treatment through medication. The surgery options include:

  • Volume Reduction Surgery

Parts of the damaged lungs (lung tissues) are removed through surgery from the upper parts of the lungs. This makes extra volume in the lungs or the individual to breathe more easily. The diaphragm then works more efficiently and the lungs start to expand properly.

  • Transplant

A lung transplant is conducted in cases of lung failure. It is undertaken under some specific criteria. It improves the quality of life by making it easy for the individual to breathe.

  • Bullectomy

 

Large air spaces are observed forming in the lungs when the walls of the air sacs are destroyed. This can cause serious breathing issues. During a bullectomy, large air spaces are removed to help improve airflow.

Healthcare Providers

Consult with Best Doctors for Respiratory Disorders

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, Pulmonologist
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Dr. Tanvir Us Salam, Pulmonologist
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Dr. Tanvir us Salam

Dr. Kamran Khalid Cheema, Pulmonologist
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Dr. Muhammad Hussain, Pulmonologist
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Dr. Muhammad Hussain

Asst. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khalid Chaudhry, Pulmonologist
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Prof. Dr. Syed Nazim Hussain Bokhari, Pulmonologist
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Prof. Dr. Ashraf Jamal, Pulmonologist
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Prof. Dr. Ashraf Jamal

Dr. Kamran Hameed, Pulmonologist
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Dr. Kamran Hameed

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Talha Mahmud, Pulmonologist
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Dr. Waqas Aslam, Pulmonologist
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Dr. Waqas Aslam

Speciality for Respiratory Disorders

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