Saskatoon Medical Clinics - Respiratory Diseases are a term that encompasses a large variety of pathological conditions which affect the organs and tissues which make the gas exchange possible. The conditions which fit under the designation of a respiratory disease, include problems with the upper respiratory tract, bronchi, bronchioles, trachea, pleura, pleural cavity, alveoli in addition to the muscles and nerves that are responsible for breathing. Respiratory diseases range from mild and self-limiting such as the common cold for instance, to life-threatening conditions like lung cancer, pulmonary embolism, and bacterial pneumonia.
Pulmonology is the study of respiratory disease and a doctor of medicine specializing in this area particularly is called a pulmonologist. Various names utilized for this particular medical practitioner include: a respiratory medicine specialist, a thoracic medicine specialist, a respirologist and a chest medicine expert.
Respiratory diseases could be classified in a variety of different ways; either by the organ or tissue involved or by the type and pattern of related signs and symptoms, or by the cause of the disease or etiology.
Inflammatory Lung Disease
Inflammatory Lung Disease is characterized by a high neutrophil count. Several examples comprise: acute respiratory distress syndrome, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and cystic fibrosis.
Allergic responses are a common reason for acute respiratory disease. This is due to the exposure to different agents and foods. Common allergens which are found in foods can include lemon, radish, sea foods such as some fatty fish and prawns, bananas, peanuts, pomegranates, dairy and ice creams, lemon, arrowroot, lady's finger and berries. Weather conditions can also affect some people because dusty and sandy weather during summertime can make the air quality poor for people who are sensitive.
Obstructive Lung Diseases
This category of lung diseases are where the airways consisting of the bronchioles, alveoli and bronchi become reduced in volume or else have the free flow of gas impeded, therefore making it more difficult to move air into and out of the lungs.
COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Asthma is an example of COPD. In this obstructive lung disease, the airways become damaged and this causes them to narrow.
Restrictive Lung Diseases or Interstitial Lung Diseases
This is a category of respiratory disease that is characterized by a loss of lung compliance. These lung diseases result in incomplete lung expansion and increased lung stiffness. IRDS or Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome is an example.
Respiratory Tract Infections
Respiratory infections can affect all parts of the respiratory system. These infections are usually divided into either an upper respiratory tract infection or a lower respiratory tract infection.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
The most common type of upper respiratory infection is the common cold. Infections of the upper respiratory tract certain organs can comprise pharyngitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis, otitis media and sinusitis are also in this category.
Lower Respiratory Tract Infection
Pneumonia is the most common lower respiratory tract infection. It is a lung infection normally caused by bacteria, normally Streptococcus within the Western world. Tuberculosis is a large cause of pneumonia across the globe. Different fungi and viruses could result in pneumonia as well, for example acute respiratory syndrome and pneumocystic pneumonia.
Tumors in the respiratory system are either malignant or benign.
Pleural Cavity Diseases
Pleural cavity diseases comprise mesothelioma and emphysema. A pleural effusion is a collection of fluid in the pleural cavity. This can be due to situations such as cirrhosis and congestive heart failure, since the fluid from the bloodstream shifts into the pleural cavity. Diseases here may even occur from pleura inflammation, TB, pulmonary embolus, mesothelioma and different conditions.
A hole in the pleura which covers the lung and permits air in the lung to escape into the pleural cavity is known as a pneumothorax. In this instance, the affected lung collapses like a balloon which is inflated. A tension pneumothorax is a severe type of this where the air cannot escape in the pleural cavity and the pressure gets bigger eventually compressing the blood vessels and the heart, leading to a dangerous life-threatening situation.
Pulmonary Vascular Diseases
Conditions that affect the pulmonary flow are called Pulmonary Vascular Diseases. Various instances comprise: Pulmonary hemorrhage, Pulmonary arterial hypertension, Pulmonary edema and Pulmonary embolism.
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