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Lower respiratory tract issues

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Our respiratory system is very prone to developing infections in the lungs. Infants and older adults are more likely to develop infections in their lungs, because their lungs are not as strong in fighting off these infections.

Most of these infections used to be fatal, but with new research and medicine, they are now treatable. With bacterial infections, antibiotics are prescribed, while viral infections are harder to treat, but still curable. Lung cancer. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung by process of metastasis into nearby tissue or other parts of the body.

Lung cancer

Most cancers that start in the lung, known as primary lung cancers, are carcinomas that derive from epithelial cells. The main primary types are small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). The most common symptoms are coughing (including coughing up blood), weight loss, shortness of breath, and chest pains.[1]

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD), and chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD), among others, is a type of obstructive lung disease characterized by chronically poor airflow.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

It typically worsens over time. The main symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, and sputum production.[1] Most people with chronic bronchitis have COPD.[2] Tobacco smoking is the most common cause of COPD, with a number of other factors such as air pollution and genetics playing a smaller role.[3] In the developing world, one of the common sources of air pollution is from poorly vented cooking and heating fires. COPD can be prevented by reducing exposure to the known causes.

This includes efforts to decrease rates of smoking and to improve indoor and outdoor air quality. Worldwide, COPD affects 329 million people or nearly 5% of the population. Pneumonia. Pneumonia (nu-mo'ne-a) is an inflammatory condition of the lung affecting primarily the microscopic air sacs known as alveoli.[1][2] It is usually caused by infection with viruses or bacteria and less commonly other microorganisms, certain drugs and other conditions such as autoimmune diseases.[1][3] Typical symptoms include a cough, chest pain, fever, and difficulty breathing.[4] Diagnostic tools include x-rays and culture of the sputum.


Vaccines to prevent certain types of pneumonia are available. Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Pneumonia presumed to be bacterial is treated with antibiotics. If the pneumonia is severe, the affected person is, in general, admitted to hospital. Signs and symptoms Main symptoms of infectious pneumonia Fever is not very specific, as it occurs in many other common illnesses, and may be absent in those with severe disease or malnutrition. Cause Bacteria Viruses Fungi Parasites Idiopathic Mechanisms Viral Bacterial Diagnosis. Bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is characterized by the development of a cough or small sensation in the back of the throat, with or without the production of sputum (mucus that is expectorated, or "coughed up", from the respiratory tract).


Acute bronchitis often occurs during the course of an acute viral illness such as the common cold or influenza. Viruses cause about 90% of acute bronchitis cases, whereas bacteria account for about 10%.[5][6] Chronic bronchitis, a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is characterized by the presence of a productive cough that lasts for three months or more per year for at least two years. Chronic bronchitis usually develops due to recurrent injury to the airways caused by inhaled irritants. Acute bronchitis[edit] Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi usually caused by viruses or bacteria.

Bronchitis may be diagnosed by a health care provider during a thorough physical examination. Tuberculosis. The classic symptoms of active TB infection are a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss (the latter giving rise to the formerly common term for the disease, "consumption").


Infection of other organs causes a wide range of symptoms. Diagnosis of active TB relies on radiology (commonly chest X-rays), as well as microscopic examination and microbiological culture of body fluids. Diagnosis of latent TB relies on the tuberculin skin test (TST) and/or blood tests. Asthma. Asthma is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.[4] Its diagnosis is usually based on the pattern of symptoms, response to therapy over time and spirometry.[5] It is clinically classified according to the frequency of symptoms, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow rate.[6] Asthma may also be classified as atopic (extrinsic) or non-atopic (intrinsic)[7] where atopy refers to a predisposition toward developing type 1 hypersensitivity reactions.[8] Signs and symptoms Associated conditions A number of other health conditions occur more frequently in those with asthma, including gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), rhinosinusitis, and obstructive sleep apnea.[22] Psychological disorders are also more common,[23] with anxiety disorders occurring in between 16–52% and mood disorders in 14–41%.[24] However, it is not known if asthma causes psychological problems or if psychological problems lead to asthma.[25] Causes Others.