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Respiratory Illnesses/Diseases

What are respiratory illnesses/diseases?

Respiratory illnesses/diseases are caused by a great many different things and vary a great deal in their exact symptoms and the severity of them. Generally speaking, respiratory illnesses/diseases are those that affect your ability to move air in and out of your lungs. These include:

  • Asthma
  • Cold and Flu
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  • Emphysema
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Pneumonia

What are the general symptoms of respiratory illnesses/diseases?

There are 4 main symptoms exhibited by those suffering from some kind of respiratory ailment. They may range from mild to severe depending on the cause of the ailment.

  1. Cough – this may be dry and hacking, deep and wet with mucus, or barking and painful.
  2. Shortness of Breath – this may include wheezing or gasping
  3. Rales – these are a range of sounds heard with a stethoscope in the lungs when breathing. May include clicking, rattling, or bubbling sounds
  4. Fatigue – reduce oxygen levels in your blood can leave you feeling tired and lethargic. /li>

What are the causes of respiratory illnesses/diseases?

Respiratory Illness

These can be caused by bacteria or viruses that find their way into your lungs. Once there, your body produces mucus to try to fight them off. This mucus can lead to a cough, shortness of breath, or pneumonia.

Respiratory Disease

Respiratory diseases can be caused by environmental, genetic, or lifestyle factors. Some, like COPD, are caused by a buildup of foreign substances in the lungs. These buildups can be caused by smoking or regular exposure to dust and chemicals.

Asthma is another common respiratory disease. It may be caused by genetics, environmental factors, or a combination of the two.

Can any complications arise if left untreated?

The exact complications that can be the result of untreated respiratory ailments depend on the exact ailment. Many, like colds and the flu, and many types of pneumonia, will most often clear up on their own. Others, such as lung cystic fibrosis are chronic illnesses that shorten life expectancy even with treatment.

Many respiratory ailments will continue to get worse if left untreated. This means that breathing will get more and more difficult, putting a greater strain on your heart as it struggles to get enough oxygen to your body.

What medications treat respiratory ailments

If you have been diagnosed with a bacterial infection in your lungs or throat, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. For diseases of the lungs, like COPD and asthma, steroids and other medications that can be inhaled directly into the lungs are often prescribed.

Common medications may include

Antimycobacterial Agents
Capastat cycloserine dapsone ethambutol isoniazid Myambutol

Show More Medications

Antitussives - Non-Opioid
benzonatate DayQuil Cough Delsym dextromethorphan Scot-tussin Diabetic CF Tessalon Perles
Antitussives - Nonnarcotic
benzonatate DayQuil Cough Delsym dextromethorphan Scot-tussin Diabetic CF Tessalon Perles

References

Lung Disease Lookup - American Lung Association

Breath sounds - MedlinePlus

Acute Respiratory Infection - Healthline

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) - NHS