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Prime Healthcare Pulmonary Group

Asthma

Asthma is a lung disorder that involves inflammation of the airways, restricting airflow in and out of the lungs and causing coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain and increased mucus production. While the specific cause of asthma is unknown, most cases are believed to develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Symptoms can be triggered by several different factors, including allergens, infections, cold air and physical activity. Symptoms vary for each patient but can range from mild coughing to a full blown asthma attack. Asthma attacks can last from a few minutes to a few days, depending on the individual patient. These symptoms tend to come and go, although some patients may develop chronic shortness of breath as well.

Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a common condition that often develops while recovering from a cold or other type of viral respiratory infection, causing a slight fever and a cough. As the symptoms of the initial infection begin to subside, bronchial inflammation occurs and a bacterial infection may develop. Fortunately, like a cold, symptoms of acute bronchitis usually go away on their own after a few days. Resting and drinking plenty of fluids can help speed the recovery process.

Chronic Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a bronchial inflammation that develops after a viral infection, or over time from cigarette smoke and other pollutants, including long-term exposure to secondhand smoke. Chronic bronchitis is classified as having a cough with mucus for the majority of three months out of the year. The chronic form of this condition is not caused by infection, but rather a long-term inflammation that prevents air from easily flowing in and out of the lungs.

Like emphysema and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, chronic bronchitis typically worsens over time, as patients may experience increased shortness of breath, difficulty walking or exerting themselves physically and may require oxygen on a regular basis. Treatment for chronic bronchitis usually involves the long-term use of a medicine called a bronchodilator or steroids to open up the airway.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung disorders that involve a constant obstruction of the airways resulting in difficulty breathing. The two most common types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which usually develop from exposure to cigarette smoke or other pollutants, and are the main causes of respiratory failure.

The damage caused by these conditions is usually permanent, so it is important to seek thorough medical attention in order to prevent any serious damage from occurring. There is no cure currently available for COPD, but medications are available to relieve inflammation and reduce symptoms.

Emphysema

Emphysema is a chronic lung disease that involves damage to the alveoli, the air sacs the supply oxygen to the body, as a result of smoking or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke and other pollutants. In patients with this condition, the air sacs are unable to fill up with an adequate supply of oxygen for the rest of the body, causing shortness of breath, wheezing and a chronic cough.

This condition worsens over time, and there is no cure currently available. Eventually, the air sacs turn into large pockets with gaping holes, preventing oxygen from reaching the bloodstream. Patients may be treated with bronchodilators, inhaled steroids and supplemental oxygen, but these treatments usually only slow the progression of the disease but cannot reverse its effects.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a common condition that involves an inflammation of the lungs as a result of an infection. This condition can be very serious in some patients, especially young children and older adults, and those affected by certain types of infection. Pneumonia symptoms can vary depending on the individual cause, but often include high fever, chills, breathlessness, chest pain and a cough.

It is important to seek proper medical attention for pneumonia, as severe cases may be life-threatening. Treatment for this condition may include rest, antibiotics or antifungal medication depending on the type of infection.

Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a disease that causes tissue in the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, eyes, skin and other areas to swell and develop lumps. The cause of this condition is unknown, but it most often affects patients between the ages of 30 and 50 years old, and is more common in those of African heritage.

Many patients do not experience any symptoms from sarcoidosis, although some may experience weight loss, fatigue, malaise, persistent cough, shortness of breath, skin rash and more. Symptoms vary depending on which organ is affected. Sarcoidosis most frequently begins in the lungs or lymph nodes and usually spreads to at least one other organ.

Most cases of sarcoidosis are mild and go away on their own within a few years, although some patients may experience chronic cases of the condition. Treatment is often needed for chronic cases and may include medications or steroids to suppress the immune system and reduce swelling.

Sleep Apnea

People with sleep apnea stop breathing while they sleep, sometimes up to hundreds of times each night and usually for 10 seconds or longer. This condition is also associated with snoring and daytime sleepiness, although many people are unaware that they have any type of sleep disorder unless it is brought up by their partner. If left untreated, severe cases of sleep apnea may lead to heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure or heart failure.

There are a variety of treatments available for sleep apnea, including oral appliance therapy, mandibular repositioning, nasal sprays, laser surgery and traditional surgery. It is important for patients to seek medical attention for sleep apnea in order to reduce their risk of serious complications.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a common but life-threatening bacterial infection of the lungs that spreads through moisture from an infected person’s coughing, talking or sneezing. Most cases of tuberculosis develop within the lungs, although other organs may be involved as well. There are no symptoms during the initial stages of tuberculosis, as the infection can remain dormant for several weeks or months before causing weight loss, fatigue, fever and shortness of breath.

Treatment of tuberculosis usually involves long-term medication to completely remove all traces of the slow-growing bacteria. Most people usually recover successfully from tuberculosis with no complications, but some may be at a higher risk of developing permanent damage.