All You Need to Know About Respiratory Diseases: Symptoms, Treatments & Prevention

About Respiratory

What Are Respiratory Diseases?

Respiratory diseases are medical conditions that interfere with the respiratory system, making it difficult for the body to take in the oxygen it needs. These conditions can range from short-term illnesses such as the common cold and seasonal flu, to long-term diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Common Symptoms

The symptoms of respiratory diseases can vary greatly depending on the specific condition, but some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Coughing – either dry or producing mucus
  • Shortness of breath – often times accompanied by chest pressure
  • Wheezing – a whistling or squeaky sound during breathing
  • Fatigue – feeling tired and worn out
  • Fever – hot flashes accompanied by shivers

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you’re experiencing any of the common respiratory symptoms, it’s important that you seek medical attention so a proper diagnosis can be made. Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam and order a variety of tests, such as chest X-rays, CT scans and pulmonary function tests.

Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, your doctor will likely prescribe a combination of treatments and medications to help manage your specific condition. These typically involve:

  • Bronchodilators – medications designed to open up constricted airways
  • Inhaled corticosteroids – used to reduce airway inflammation
  • Anti-viral medications – used to reduce the severity and duration of viral infections
  • Oxygen supplementation – used to aid in breathing difficulty
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation – a program designed to reduce the severity of symptoms and improve quality of life

Prevention Tips

There are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk of developing a respiratory disease, including:

  • Maintaining good general hygiene – wash your hands regularly (especially after being in public) to prevent the spread of germs
  • Avoiding secondhand smoke – as it can cause significant damage to your lungs
  • Limiting your exposure to pollutants – avoid locations where there are high levels of air pollution
  • Staying active – regular exercise can help improve the function of your respiratory system
  • Eating a well-balanced diet – to help strengthen your immune system and protect against respiratory infections

Conclusion

Respiratory diseases can be serious, but there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life. It’s important to seek medical attention right away if you’re experiencing any of the common symptoms of a respiratory disease, and follow the tips outlined above to reduce your risk of developing one.

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