Bronchitis

Bronchitis is inflammation (thickening and/or swelling) and increased mucus production of the lining of of the main air passages to the lungs
(the bronchi).

Acute Bronchitis

Bronchial inflammation can be caused by smoke, bacterial or viral infections, chemicals, pollution, and/or acids from your stomach (gastroesophageal reflux disease also called GERD). When the bronchi become inflamed or irritated, a thick mucus forms inside the airways, and this makes it difficult to breathe; so A person may also experience a shortness of breath, but bronchitis usually manifests itself as a cough with headache, chills and a slight fever.

Bronchitis may be chronic or acute in nature

Acute Bronchitis

Many people have had a brief attack of bronchitis, often after they have had a cold. The attack usually lasts for about a week, but the cough may last up to three weeks. During a bout with bronchitis, you may experience cough with large amounts of mucus production, and sometimes, a fever. This brief type of bronchitis is called Acute Bronchitis, and each attack does NOT last long, does NOT come back repeatedly, and lung function returns to normal after the bronchitis infection has ended.

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is a condition in which the airways in the lungs become inflamed. In chronic bronchitis, the condition lasts for a long time or continues to recur. Chronic bronchitis is one form of an illness called Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

Prognosis depends on the severity of the bronchitis. Patients with mild or moderate chronic bronchitis can usually keep the condition well-controlled with medication and therapy to improve lung function. Patients with severe chronic bronchitis may have a more difficult time controlling symptoms.

The best ways to improve prognosis of chronic bronchitis is to begin treatment early and stop smoking, avoid secondhand cigarette smoke, air pollution, infections, and substances that cause allergic reactions.

Specific Assessments Available:

-- Bronchiectasis
-- Bronchitis
-- COMPREHENSIVE TEST (RECOMMENDED)

 

Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is a condition in which damage to the airways causes them to widen and become flabby and scarred.

Bronchiectasis is caused by an abnormal widening of one or more airways in the lungs, and can occur for a number of reasons, but it is usually the result of an infection or other condition that injures the walls of your airways or prevents the airways from clearing mucus. Mucus is a slimy substance that the airways produce to help remove inhaled dust, bacteria, and other small particles.

Bronchiectasis in the lungs

In bronchiectasis, your airways slowly lose their ability to clear out mucus. When mucus can’t be cleared, extra mucus develops in the abnormal airways and creates an environment in which bacteria can grow, making them prone to infection. This leads to repeated, serious lung infections.

Each infection causes more damage to your airways. Over time, the airways lose their ability to move air in and out. This can prevent enough oxygen from reaching your vital organs.

Early diagnosis and treatment of bronchiectasis is extremely important, if the condition is not to become debilitating.

Specific Assessments Available:

-- Bronchiectasis
-- Bronchitis
-- COMPREHENSIVE TEST (RECOMMENDED)

Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB) is a common and often deadly contagious infectious disease cuased by the bacteria mycobacteria. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs, but it  can also affect many other parts of the body.

Tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial disease that primarily involves the lungs. Tuberculosis may develop after inhaling infected droplets sprayed into the air from a cough or sneeze of someone infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis has always been a widespread and potentially deadly disease, but it has become an even larger health issue than it has ever been before for two reasons. The first is that there is an incredible increase in the number of people with active tuberculosis that are also HIV positive, leading to increased complications in treatment and prevention. The second reason is that the disease has evolved into both multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MRD-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which has made some standard treatments ineffective in combating the disease.

Specific Assessments Available:

-- Bronchiectasis
-- Bronchitis
-- COMPREHENSIVE TEST (RECOMMENDED)

Tuberculosis and HIV

The percentage of the global population becoming ill with tuberculosis has continued the decline since 2004, but both Europe and Africa are NOT declining as fast as predicted because of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MRD-TB), extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), and the fact that there is an incredible increase in the number of people with active tuberculosis that are also HIV positive.

HIV attacks the body’s immune system, which leads NOT only to increased rates of infection but also increased rates of death in people infected with both HIV and tuberculosis. The co-infection of HIV/TB is a seriously combination as the diseases facilitate the progress of the other. The World Health Organization’s 2009 global TB control report indicates that about 25% of all TB deaths are among people who are HIV positive.

Regions with high levels of HIV infections like Africa are being hit the hardest. South Africa, where HIV infection is epidemic, has had a tripling tuberculosis infections. In 2007 alone it was estimated that there were 1.37 million new cases of tuberculosis and 456,000 TB related deaths in people infected with HIV.

Specific Assessments Available:

-- Bronchiectasis
-- Bronchitis
-- COMPREHENSIVE TEST (RECOMMENDED)

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a respiratory condition in which there is inflammation of the lung caused by many different germs and can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening.

Many small germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi can infect one or both of your lungs and cause pneumonia.

The infection causes your lungs’ air sacs, called alveoli, to become inflamed, and they may fill up with fluid or pus, causing symptoms such as a cough (with phlegm), fever, chills, and trouble breathing.

Community-acquired pneumonia refers to pneumonia in people who have not recently been in the hospital or another health care facility (nursing home, rehabilitation facility).

Hospital-acquired pneumonia is an infection of the lungs contracted during a hospital stay. Hospital-acquired pneumonia tends to be more serious, because a person in the hospital already has a stressed natural defense against infection (immunosuppressed). In addition, the types of germs present in a hospital are often more dangerous than those encountered in the community.

Pneumonia manifests itself in the form of high fever, cough, shaking chills, and excessive sweating and clammy skin. Pneumonia is accompanied by rapid breathing, a certain amount of wheezing, and there is frequently shortness of breath (often noticeable only when one climbs stairs), and there may be sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing or cough.

Most people with pneumonia also feel extremely tired, lethargic, and have little to no appetite or are nauseous.

The symptoms of viral pneumonia often resemble those of ordinary flu. There are chills and high fever. It is often accompanied by chattering teeth. It may also produce sputum that is green, yellow or rust colored. Pneumonia becomes apparent when the patient experiences a shortness of breath.

 

 

Because pneumonia can be life-threatening, see your doctor as soon as possible if you have a persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, unexplained fever (especially a lasting fever of 102 F or 38.9 C or higher with chills and sweating) or if you suddenly feel worse after a cold or the flu.

Specific Assessments Available:

-- Bronchiectasis
-- Bronchitis
-- COMPREHENSIVE TEST (RECOMMENDED)

Pleurisy

Pleurisy, also known as pleuritis, is an inflammation of the the double membrane that lines the chest cavity and surrounds each of your lungs.

Pleura (Covering of the Lungs)

The inflamed pleural layers rub against each other every time the lungs expand to breathe in air, and this can cause sharp pain with breathing (pleuritic chest pain).  In normal breathing, the lung glides in the chest without rubbing.

If you are experiencing sharp pain with breathing and the cause of this pain is not known, then you need to be diagnosed immediately by a medical professional.

Specific Assessments Available:

-- Bronchiectasis
-- Bronchitis
-- COMPREHENSIVE TEST (RECOMMENDED)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to inflammation of the bronci (medium-size airways) in the lungs and an abnormal, permanent enlargement of air spaces were oxygen is absorbed due to destruction of walls of the lung. These two changes lead to a limitation of the flow of air to and from the lungs causing shortness of breath.

The two main COPD disorders are emphysema and chronic bronchitis, the most common causes of respiratory failure. Both result from damage to the lungs over many years and predominantly affect former and current smokers. Many people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Emphysema occurs when the walls between the lung’s air sacs become weakened and collapse.

 

Chronic bronchitis occurs when the airways in the lungs become swollen and partially clogged with mucus. Chronic bronchitis may also involve muscle spasms in the airways.

The limitation of airflow is poorly reversible and usually gets progressively worse over time. In addition, the natural course of COPD is characterized by occasional sudden worsenings of symptoms called acute exacerbations, most of which are caused by infections of the respiratory tract or exposure to air pollution of some sort..

If you believe you have COPD, then see a Family Practice, Internal Medicine, or Pulmonary specialist.

Specific Assessments Available:

-- Bronchiectasis
-- Bronchitis
-- COMPREHENSIVE TEST (RECOMMENDED)

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease of the bronchial airways that causes bronchioles to constrict, become inflammed, and produce excessive amounts of mucus that end up lining them. All three processes result in a temporary narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs making it difficult to breathe.

This narrowing results in asthma symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Some people refer to asthma as “bronchial asthma.”

Even though there are seemingly miraculous treatments for asthma symptoms, asthma is still a serious — even dangerous — disease that affects more than 22 million Americans and causes nearly 2 million emergency room visits ever year. With proper asthma treatment, you can live well with this condition. Yet inadequate asthma treatment limits the ability to exercise and be active. Poorly controlled asthma can lead to multiple visits to the emergency room and even hospital admission, which can affect your performance at home and work.

In each of the following sections, there are in-depth articles that link to the topics. Be sure to read each health topic so you have a greater understanding of asthma and how it is diagnosed and treated.

There are three major features of asthma:

  1. Airway obstruction. During normal breathing, the bands of muscle that surround the airways are relaxed, and air moves freely. But in people with asthma, allergy-causing substances and environmental triggers make the bands of muscle surrounding the airways tighten, and air cannot move freely. Less air causes a person to feel short of breath, and the air moving through the tightened airways causes a whistling sound known as wheezing. (Fortunately, this airway narrowing is reversible, a feature that distinguishes asthma from other lung diseases such as bronchitis or emphysema.)
  2. Inflammation. People with asthma have red and swollen bronchial tubes. This inflammation is thought to contribute greatly to the long-term damage that asthma can cause to the lungs. And, therefore, treating this inflammation is key to managing asthma in the long run.
  3. Airway irritability. The airways of people with asthma are extremely sensitive. The airways tend to overreact and narrow due to even the slightest triggers such as pollen, animal dander, dust or fumes.

Adult-Onset Asthma

Asthma affects 22 million Americans. Asthma may occur at any age, although it’s more common in younger individuals (under age 40).

People who have a family history of asthma have an increased risk of developing the disease. Allergies and asthma often occur together. Smoking with asthma, a dangerous combination, is still seen commonly.

However, anyone can develop asthma at any time, and adult-onset asthma happens frequently. If you have symptoms of asthma, talk to your doctor. If you have adult-onset asthma, your doctor will instruct you in using the asthma inhalers and other

Specific Assessments Available:

-- Bronchiectasis
-- Bronchitis
-- COMPREHENSIVE TEST (RECOMMENDED)