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Better Breathing

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a virus that causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages. It can infect the same person several times during a lifetime, causing more severe illnesses (like pneumonia) in infancy, but only a common cold in adulthood. RSV is very contagious and causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages. RSV can also affect the…

Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) in Newborns

Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is a life-threatening lung disorder that commonly affects premature infants. Respiratory distress syndrome results from insufficient levels of surfactant, a foamy fluid substance produced by the body between the 34th and 37th week of pregnancy.  Surfactant is essential for the expansion of the alveoli or air sacs of the lungs. When an infant is born prematurely,…

Spontaneous Pneumothorax

Spontaneous pneumothorax is a sudden collection of air or gas in the chest that causes the lung to collapse in the absence of a traumatic injury to the chest or lung.  Usually, a distinction is made between a spontaneous (primary) pneumothorax, and secondary (complicated) pneumothorax.   SPONTANEOUS (PRIMARY) PNEUMOTHORAX Spontaneous pneumothorax occurs in individuals with no known lung disease.  It affects…

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung most often caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, and other organisms although there are also non-infectious causes. Pneumonia is often a complication of a pre-existing condition/infection and triggered when a patient’s defense system is weakened, most often by a simple viral respiratory tract infection or a case of influenza, especially in the elderly.…

Pediatric Tuberculosis

Cases of active or latent tuberculosis infection in children are of great concern since it indicates that transmission of tuberculosis has occurred recently.  Most adults who develop active tuberculosis were infected many years ago, when their immune systems were stronger and able to protect them.  When a child is diagnosed with active tuberculosis, it means that someone close to them,…

Occupational Lung Disease

Occupational lung disease is the number one work-related illness in the United States based on the frequency, severity, and preventability of diseases. These illnesses are usually caused by extended exposure to irritating or toxic substances that may cause acute or chronic respiratory ailments, although severe single exposures can cause chronic lung disease as well.  Smoking can act synergistically to increase the…

Pleurisy

The lungs and chest cavity are lined with a thin membrane called pleura. With each breath, the pleura slide smoothly against each other, lubricated by a fluid. Pleurisy occurs when the pleura become inflamed and they rub and grate against each other. This causes pain, aggravated by coughing and deep breathing. Also called pleuritis, the inflammation is often caused by…

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an airborne infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis that usually affects the lungs, although other organs and tissues such as the kidney, spine and brain can be affected as well. Fortunately, TB in these parts of the body is usually not infectious. TB can be spread by coughing, sneezing, laughing or singing. Repeated exposure to someone with TB…

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that involves the mesothelium, or cells that line an organ, usually the lungs, abdominal organs, and heart. The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, where malignant tumors form on the pleura, the sac that lines the chest cavity and protects the lungs. Other forms of mesothelioma affect the peritoneum (abdominal cavity…

Lung Transplants

Lung transplants are given to people as a last resort treatment for irreversible lung failure. Lung failure happens when the lungs are damaged and unable to transfer oxygen and carbon dioxide to and away from cells. Some diseases that cause the lungs to fail and are treated with transplants are emphysema, including the form caused by the alpha-1-antitrypsin-deficiency, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary…

Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD)

Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD), also known as Immotile Cilia Syndrome, is a rare genetic birth defect that involves the blocking of respiratory passages. Patients with PCD have abnormal or absent ciliary motion. Cilia are tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the respiratory passages. During infections more mucus is produced and because the abnormal cilia can’t move or move ineffectively,…

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) is a general term that includes a variety of chronic lung disorders. When a person has ILD, the lung is affected in three ways. First, the lung tissue is damaged in some known or unknown way. Second, the walls of the air sacs in the lung become inflamed. Finally, scarring (or fibrosis) begins in the interstitium…

Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (also called allergic alveolitis) is a disease in which the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs become inflamed when certain dusts are inhaled to which the person is sensitized or allergic. These dusts contain organic substances, such as fungus spores from moldy hay or the droppings of birds. When a person inhales such dusts the first time, no…

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women. An estimated 173,700 new cases of lung cancer and an estimated 160,440 deaths from lung cancer will occur in the United States during 2004. The rate of lung cancer cases appears to be dropping among white and African-American men in the United States, while it continues to rise…

Cocci

The sunny Southwest was a great place for training the fliers of World War II. But it turned out to have a special medical problem. The young airmen and crews at the large flying fields built in the Southwest by the Army Air corps came down with a feverish illness at an alarming rate. The disease that the fliers had…

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an heritable disease caused by an altered gene. It is the second most common life-shortening, childhood onset inherited disorder in the United States; behind sickle cell anemia. Approximately 30,000 people in the United States have Cystic fibrosis (CF). About 1,000 new cases of cystic fibrosis are diagnosed each year. Cystic fibrosis is characterized by the production of abnormally thick and sticky…

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term referring to two lung diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that are characterized by obstruction to airflow that interferes with normal breathing. Both of these conditions frequently co-exist, hence physicians prefer the term COPD. It does not include other obstructive diseases such as asthma. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in…

Chronic Bronchitis

Bronchitis is the inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. When the bronchi are inflamed and/or infected, less air is able to flow to and from the lungs and a heavy mucus or phlegm is coughed up. Many people suffer a brief attack of acute bronchitis with cough and mucus production when they have severe colds. Acute bronchitis is…

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) is a lung disease which can be very serious. Recently, BPD has been seen in adults with Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome. However, BPD is most commonly diagnosed as a complication of respiratory therapy in prenatal infants with respiratory distress syndrome. Many infants with BPD do recover and improve with time to achieve normal or near normal function.…

Lung Diseases Connected to AIDS

Almost any kind of infection is a possible lung disease risk in the presence of HIV. In addition, several types of lung disease are included in the list of AIDS indicator diseases. This means that an individual who is HIV positive and who has one of those diseases is considered to have AIDS. The forms of lung disease that are…

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the rapid onset of respiratory failure (ability to adequately oxygenate the blood) that can occur in critically ill persons of any age over 1 year. The condition can be life threatening and occurs when the lungs cannot perform normal gas exchange due to severe fluid buildup in both lungs. ARDS is mainly caused by…

Deep Freeze Creates Unusual Advice for Better Breathing

A polar vortex has descended upon the Midwest U.S., and this time it’s a doozy. Roughly 85 percent of the people living in the lower 48 states will experience freezing temperatures with roughly 75 million people experiencing temperatures below zero. The worst of it will be in a region of the Upper Midwest from Chicago through Minneapolis. This region will…

Understanding the Connection Between Asthma and Oral Health

There are an estimated 20 million asthma sufferers in the U.S. today, and the dental profession is becoming aware of an increasing number of patients who, while taking medication for asthma, are also showing increasing signs of oral health problems. Most asthmatics breath through their mouth, and this combined with the usual corticosteroid medicine given for asthma, leads to reduced…

How Air Pollution Affects Breath

It’s no secret—poor air quality affects your health. When pollution is bad, it can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and cause shortness of breath. Breathing polluted air for long periods of time can cause serious health problems. The two primary pollutants people should understand are Ozone and particulate matter, also known as PM. Cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles are…

Quickly and Easily Improve Your Breathing Mechanics

Breath is an essential part of life, and learning to do it correctly can have a significant impact on everyday activities. Improving the mechanics of your breathing is a fast and easy way to positively impact your life. The simplest way to do this? Learn about nasal breathing and diaphragm breathing. These are the foundation of breathing and remain useful…