Respiratory Disorders

What is Respiratory Disorder?

Respiratory disorders are a group of conditions that affect the way a person breathes, including conditions that affect the lungs, airways, and other parts of the respiratory system. Some common respiratory disorders include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), lung cancer, pneumonia, and sleep apnea.

Types of Respiratory Disorders

The following is a list of common types of respiratory disorders:

  • Asthma – a chronic lung condition that makes breathing difficult and can be triggered by allergens, irritants, exercise, or stress.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – a progressive and often irreversible lung condition that makes breathing difficult and eventually affects overall health.
  • Lung cancer – a type of cancer that forms in the lung tissue and is often caused by smoking.
  • Pneumonia – an infection in the lungs that can be caused by bacteria, a virus, or a fungus.
  • Sleep apnea – a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep.
  • Cystic Fibrosis – an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs, digestive system, and other organs.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) – an infectious bacterial disease that usually affects the lungs.

Causes of Respiratory Disorders

Respiratory disorders can have a variety of causes, including environmental factors, genetics, and lifestyle choices. Some common causes of respiratory disorders include:

  • Exposure to allergens, such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites.
  • Exposure to air pollution.
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke.
  • Infections, such as the flu, colds, and other viral infections.
  • Genetics – Certain conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, are caused by genetic mutations.
  • Obesity – Obesity can lead to sleep apnea, COPD, and other respiratory disorders.

Symptoms of Respiratory Disorders

Symptoms of respiratory disorders vary depending on the condition, but may include:

  • Coughing.
  • Wheezing.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Difficulty speaking or catching your breath during physical activity.
  • Difficulty sleeping or snoring excessively.

Diagnosis of Respiratory Disorders

If you have symptoms of a respiratory disorder, your doctor will likely perform a physical exam and ask for a medical history. Additionally, your doctor may order tests, such as chest X-rays or CT scans, to rule out or confirm a diagnosis.

Treatment of Respiratory Disorders

Treatment for respiratory disorders can vary depending on the condition and severity. Some treatment options may include lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or avoiding triggers; medications, such as bronchodilators and steroids; or surgery, such as a lung transplant.