Asthma is a condition that blocks your airways. It can make them narrow and swollen, resulting in excessive mucus. It is a type of breathing problem that causes coughing, whistling or wheezing on exhalation, and breath shortness.
Asthma can be uncomfortable and lead to severe conditions if left untreated. It prevents people from performing daily life activities. It can also lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. While it cannot be completely cured, proper treatment at the TX Hospitals can help one can manage its symptoms.
The symptoms can vary from person to person and even change over time. It depends on the conditions, asthma attacks, their frequencies, causes and other reasons. One may encounter a different sign and symptom than the other. However, the most common symptoms include;
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Chest pain
- Wheezing during exhaling in children
- Trouble sleeping by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- Coughing or wheezing attacks that get worse due to respiratory viruses like the cold or the flu.
Some symptoms can worsen with time like-
- Exercise-induced asthma- Winter seasons can affect poor respiratory system-cold and dry air are responsible for exercise-induced asthma.
- Occupational- it is triggered by workplace components like chemicals, fumes, gases or dust.
- Allergy induced- these are catalysts with airborne substances like pollen, mould spores, insect wastes or skin particles and dried saliva of pets.
There are a lot of factors responsible for increasing and making a person prone to asthma. These include the following-
- Hereditary – If your parents or siblings have asthma
- When you have another allergic condition like atopic dermatitis. It causes red, itchy skin and can develop hay fever. This can result in a runny nose, congestion and itchy eyes.
- Being overweight
- Being a smoker
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- Exposure to exhaust fumes
- Exposure to occupational triggers
Diagnoses are required to test for the type of asthma a person has. It can be classified into 4 categories- mild intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent, or severe persistent.
The tests include- physical examination, lung function examinations and additional tests.
These are conducted at the asthma treatment hospital in Hyderabad to sort and know other possible reasons like respiratory infection or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Physicians or the doctor will ask about the signs and symptoms a person is going through. They’ll know the full medical history of the patient.
Lung function tests
These tests are performed to know the basic functioning of the lungs.
- Spirometry- It will know the degree of narrowness your bronchial tubes have. This is checked by knowing the amount of air exhaled after deep breathing. It also is judged by the rate of breathing out.
- Peak flow- It is a device that measures how hard one is breathing out. If you have a lower peak flow it indicates poor lung functioning or the asthma is getting worse. The doctors will guide you along on how to track and deal with low peak flow.
These tests are done at the best hospital for asthma treatment in hyderabad before and after the medication that will open your airways. It is called a bronchodilator. If the condition is improved with the help of a bronchodilator, it may be due to asthma.
- Methacholine challenge- It is known as the asthma trigger and when inhaled it will cause the airways to narrow. If the patient reacts to methacholine, they may have asthma.
- Imaging tests- Chest X-rays can detect structural abnormalities or any diseases. The infections increasing the breathing problems can also be detected.
- Nitric oxide test- The test analyses the amount of nitric oxide is present in your breath. When the airways are inflamed, it is an indication of asthma. The nitric oxide levels can also be greater than normal.
- Sputum eosinophils- It identifies certain white blood cells (eosinophils) in solutions of saliva and mucus (sputum) collected in a cough. The symptoms are diagnosed as the eosinophils can be seen stained as a rose-coloured dye.
- Provocative testing for exercise or cold-induced asthma- After performing a HIIT or physical activity, doctors will measure the obstructions in the airways.
To stop asthma attacks and related causes, it is better to opt for prevention and long term controls. Treatment involves the following-
- Know your triggers
- Avoid the triggers
- Track breathing
- Have a quick-relief inhaler.
- The medication is prescribed by the doctors at TX Hospitals on the basis of your age, symptoms, triggers and what is keeping them in control.
- The long term medications will reduce the inflammation or the swelling in the airways. There are bronchodilators or quick-relief inhalers that can open these airways too. Allergic medications are prescribed by medical professionals to ease the discomfort while breathing.
- The long term asthma control medications are taken daily. These are the cornerstone of asthma treatment and keep it in control. Types are-
- Combination inhalers
- Quick-relief medications- the rapid or short term asthma attacks can be treated with the same. Types are-
- short-acting beta-agonists
- Anticholinergic agents
- Oral and intravenous corticosteroids
- The quick reliever is the best aid during emergency attacks.
- One should keep track of the puffs and consult a doctor on a weekly or biweekly basis.
- It is used to treat severe asthma that isn’t being helped with inhaled corticosteroids or other medications.
- The doctor heats the insides of the lungs. It is done with the help of an electrode and soothes and smoothes muscles. It won’t allow the airways to come together and will make breathing easy. It is a rare therapy to treat asthma patients.
Endobronchial Ultrasound Bronchoscopy
A bronchoscopy can be performed with endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) to diagnose or to determine the stage of lung cancer. The procedure uses high-frequency sound waves to deliver images of tissues through a flexible scope, which is inserted through the mouth into the larger lungs’ airways called bronchi.
You will not be exposed to ionizing radiation or undergo surgery during an endobronchial ultrasound. In addition to its ability to diagnose certain kinds of inflammatory lung diseases that cannot be confirmed with standard imaging tests, it is typically performed in an outpatient setting.
Why Is It Used?
Endobronchial Ultrasound Bronchoscopy Procedure in Hyderabad allows physicians to collect tissue or fluid samples without having to perform traditional surgery on the lungs or surrounding lymph nodes. Samples are useful for:-
- Staging and diagnosing lung cancer.
- Detecting infections such as tuberculosis.
- Detecting inflammatory diseases such as sarcoidosis.
- Detecting cancers such as lymphoma.
What Are the Risks?
Although the EBUS bronchoscopy procedure is very safe, there are a few risks associated with it, including bleeding from the biopsy, infection afterward, low oxygen levels during the procedure or afterward, as well as a very, very small chance of the lungs collapsing. The complications listed above are treatable, but you may be required to spend the night in the hospital instead of returning home the day of your procedure. It is important to tell your doctor if you have ever experienced difficulty with anesthesia or sedation medications in the past.
Historically, lung cancer was diagnosed using invasive procedures carried out via the thorax (chest) to obtain an accurate staging. Some of these techniques include:
- A mediastinoscopy involves inserting a scope through an incision at the top of the sternum (breastbone).
- A thoracoscopy is a procedure in which the lungs are accessed through small incisions between the ribs of the chest, using specialized tools and a viewfinder.
- Thoracotomy involves the removal of a part of the rib (or ribs) to access the lungs.
Healthcare providers can benefit from endobronchial ultrasonography without incurring the risks associated with surgery.
Analyzing the Results
Based on why you are having the procedure, the samples will be sent to your doctor to be examined for evidence of infection, inflammation, or cancer. It usually takes a few days for the results to be analyzed, at time your physician will call you or schedule an appointment for you to go over the results.
Purpose of the Procedure
As a complementary procedure to traditional bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasonography can be ordered if you have been diagnosed with lung cancer (or initial tests are strongly suggestive of it).
EBUS or Endobronchial Ultrasound Bronchoscopy Procedure in Hyderabad, which uses refracted sound waves instead of a viewing scope to visualize airways, provides healthcare providers with a broader picture than bronchoscopy. Ultrasound can provide information about squamous cell carcinomas (which typically begin in the airways) and metastatic lung adenocarcinomas (which can grow from the outer edges of the lungs and invade the central part of the lung) that have invaded the central part of the lung.
EBUS is indicated for two primary reasons:
Lung cancer staging:
Staging determines the severity of lung cancer so that the appropriate treatment can be provided. The technique of transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) allows healthcare providers to obtain tissue from within the lung or from mediastinal lymph nodes in the chest using endobronchial ultrasound. The biopsy cells can then be sent to the lab for analysis in order to determine whether the cancer is still in its early stages.
Evaluation of abnormal lesions:
EBUS with TBNA can be used to obtain a sample of the affected tissues if an abnormal lesion is discovered on a chest X-ray or computed tomography scan. A lymph node biopsy can identify whether the swelling is caused by cancer or an inflammatory lung disease like sarcoidosis. Lymph nodes can also be sampled by EBUS in people who suspect they have pulmonary lymphoma, a form of blood cancer.
What to Expect Before the Procedure
Depending on when the procedure is scheduled, your physician may order blood tests before your procedure, and the evening before your procedure you will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight.
During The Procedure
You will receive an IV on the day of your procedure so you will be able to receive medications that will make your procedure more comfortable. Occasionally, anesthesia is used to make you completely unconscious. During EBUS bronchoscopy, the camera is inserted through your mouth once you are comfortable or asleep.
Your doctor will examine and collect samples from your lung with the help of a camera and ultrasound. Typically, these samples will be taken with an ultrasonic probe and a small needle. A mild cough and sore throat may accompany your illness, but both will disappear in a day or two.
After the Procedure
After a short observation period, an EBUS bronchoscopy generally takes place as an outpatient procedure. You will need someone to drive you home following the procedure.
The Benefits of Endobronchial Ultrasound
There are advantages to EBUS compared to other lung disease diagnostic methods, such as mediastinoscopy. They include:
- Several complications are less likely, including infection and lung collapse.
- EBUS enables your doctor to biopsy, diagnose, and stage lung cancer all at the same time. Consequently, separate procedures are not necessary, which have their own risks.
- Multiple tissue samples can be collected from your lymph nodes and lungs during the same procedure. If you have lung cancer, you may have your tissue tested to see if it contains a gene mutation or special protein. A newer treatment option, such as targeted therapy, may be available to you if your tumor has a genetic makeup.
While endobronchial ultrasound is an excellent tool, it is limited in its ability to visualize lung tissue. The mediastinum (the membrane between the two lungs) is good at providing information about the upper and front parts, but it may not be able to reveal cancer that has spread.
In addition to diagnosing lung infections, EBUS is also useful for detecting lung cancer. By accessing hard-to-reach lymph nodes and determining the strain of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics, endobronchial ultrasound can help diagnose tuberculosis. In spite of its sensitivity, EBUS often produces false negatives in three of ten procedures in patients with tuberculosis.
Esophageal cancer is a cancer type that occurs in the esophagus (food pipe). Our food pipe is a long, hollow, and narrow tube. It connects the throat to the stomach. The food is processed in the stomach and is delivered via the pipe from the throat.
Esophageal cancer can occur in the lining of the esophageal cells. It can multiply at any site in the esophagus. Food pipe cancer affects men more than women.
Esophageal carcinoma is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Infections can differ from place to place. Tobacco, alcohol use, specific food habits, and obesity, may be linked to esophageal cancer in specific regions. The best suitable treatment is provided at TX Hospitals in India.
There are a lot of symptoms and signs associated with esophageal cancer. The following signs are-
- Difficulty swallowing or dysphagia
- Weight loss without trying
- Chest pain
- Chest pressure
- Chest burning
- Worsening indigestion
The nature of symptoms may vary from individual to individual. It can be due to age, prior health conditions, genetics, and lifestyle.
Chronic conditions like irritation of esophagus can increase esophageal cancer. There are factors that can cause irritation and increase the risk of the cancer-like-
- Having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Having precancerous changes
- Barrett’s Condition
- Being obese
- Drinking alcohol
- Having bile reflux
- Having difficulty swallowing
- Having a habit of drinking extremely hot beverages.
- Not eating enough fibre like fruits and vegetables
- Getting radiation treatment
There are other complications related with esophageal cancer such as-
- Food obstructions- your food and liquid may be stuck.
- Bleeding- can be sudden or severe.
There are various tests and procedures to diagnose esophageal cancer. Before the tests, the doctor will ask you about the medical history along with the physical examinations.
The tests include-
- Barium Swallow Study- one is required to swallow a liquid that has barium. X-rays are conducted to know the changes in the tissues after the barium layering of the esophagus.
- Endoscopy- It is used to examine the esophagus under the scope. A flexible tube is inserted with a video lens in the throat that will examine the food pipe. It will analyse the areas of cancer-irritated sites.
- Biopsy- The testing is done on a tissue sample with the help of a proper scope to collect the suspicious or irritated tissue. Laboratory tests further confirm cancer cells.
A confirmatory diagnosis is further conducted to know the extent of cancer. It will help doctors to know the extent of the spread. Tests include-
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
- Computerised tomography (CT)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
These tests would help the medical professional to allocate the stage of cancer- these are represented in Roman numerals from 0 to IV. The IV is in an advanced stage and is said to have spread to the body. The treatments are given according to the cancer stage diagnosed.
Esophageal Cancer Treatment in Hyderabad depends on-
- Type of cancer cells
- Cancer’s stage
There are 3 major treatments given to cancer patients at TX Hospitals- Surgery, Radiation Therapy, and Chemotherapy.
The following are the types of surgeries involved in the Esophageal Cancer Treatment in Hyderabad-
- Removal of small tumours- The margin of healthy tissue along with the small affected section of cancer can be removed in this surgery. It can be done using endoscopy to track the status of the area affected.
- Removal of a portion of esophagus- This is also known as esophagectomy. The affected portion is removed along with the stomach’s upper part. The surrounding lymph nodes are also removed. Surgeons pull the stomach to connect the remaining esophagus to it.
- Removal of the upper portion of the stomach and esophagus- a larger part of the stomach along with the lymph nodes and esophagus is removed in this process. A colon might be used to join the remaining stomach with the esophagus.
- It is defined as the drug treatment against cancer.
- The drugs are mainly used before the surgery; being called neoadjuvant. They can also be used after being called adjuvant.
- Radiation therapy can also be used in combination.
- It can help to relieve signs and symptoms of even advanced cancer.
- Side effects will depend upon the type of drug used in the therapy.
- It uses high energy beams like X-rays and protons. These kill the cancer cells directly.
- It is also called external beam radiation- a machine is placed outside the body and is directed towards cancer.
- It can also be placed inside the body called brachytherapy.
- It can be combined with chemo.
- Usually used before surgery.
- It can relieve advanced esophageal cancer symptoms.
- Side effects include- skin reactions, painful swallowing, which can damage the nearby organs like the lungs and heart.
A flail chest is a type of injury that happens if the chest is struck or hurt with a blunt object. It is a serious injury that is acquired after a heavy collapse. The condition can lead to more than three rib fractures or numerous small fractures. A person’s chest wall can become detached and out of sync with the rest of it.
Flail chest is one of them. It’s uncommon for this to happen as a result of chest trauma, but if it occurs, medical emergencies can cause internal organ damage with bleeding.
Lungs are mainly affected in the flail chest and a person will need immediate medical attention. It can cause serious health issues and disrupt breathing. Contact our healthcare providers in emergency cases at TX Hospitals in India to get Flail Chest Treatment.
- immediate treatment is required post a flail chest accident as it’s an extremely sensitive and serious condition.
- Younger people can recover quickly without any complications. Proper treatment at TX Hospitals can help you out.
- Older people have a high risk of developing complications. They may have pneumonia or respiratory failure.
- There can be an underlying cause of lung or blood vessel trauma. It is seen when the chest wall collapses drastically. This makes the survival chances low and requires immediate treatments.
- People may recover in a few weeks or months if the severity is low.
- It can also be caused by a kick of the animal leading to CPR chest compressions or traumatic injuries.
- Rib fractures can also be caused due to blunt traumas and cause injuries like punctured lungs and blood vessel damage.
As we know flail chest is a serious injury and can lead to many reppurcurtions. It depends on how serious the case is. Severe trauma post accident should be studied including the chest area, doctors look out for the following symptoms-
- Extreme pain in your chest
- Tenderness in the chest
- Tenderness of the bone area that has fractured
- Prominent difficulty in breathing
- uneven rising or falling of your chest while breathing
Such accidents can cause intensive internal damage that won’t be prominent to the naked eye. Doctors at TX Hospitals make sure they go through all these symptoms and make the diagnosis accordingly. The treatments are recommended to give right away in such cases.
There are a lot of after risks involved post flail chest. It can-
- Cause disabilities in people (acute or chronic) depending upon the condition.
- Persistent pain in chest walls
- Deformity of chest
- Shortness of breath
- Breathless even in low intensity workouts
- Lack of diagnosis
- Precautions not taken properly
- Inability to move or perform daily activities
- Oxygen problems
- Blunt traumas
- After looking at the causes a proper diagnosis is made. The diagnosis will help doctors to know the cause and underlying cause of the problem.
- Underlying causes can further cause complications and lead to multiple organ failures if not treated.
- It is very important to get the proper diagnosis before the treatment.
- First, will be the physical examination conducted by the doctor. Doctors at TX Hospitals will conduct these and see the severity of the flail chest.
- They will see the type of fracture you’ve- rib or spinal.
- They’ll examine the breathing with the help of a stethoscope- the unusual movement of the chest wall is a clear sign of a flail chest.
- Chest X-rays are conducted to confirm the preliminary diagnosis.
- Plain X-ray film studies may not be able to detect rib fractures but severe injuries can confirm the flail chest.
- More than one X-ray is conducted.
- Other senses and brain testing is also done by the doctor- if the case is severe, doctor will examine the neural study- they might ask you questions regarding the memory.
Flail Chest Treatment
- Treatments are given immediately as it’s extremely severe.
- The lungs are protected immediately and given oxygen therapies if needed.
- The oxygen mask is given to assist in breathing via a concentrator or a cylinder.
- Medications to ease down like painkillers are given by the doctors.
- A mechanical ventilator can also be used in severe chest flail cases. This is to avoid chest cavity instability.
- Surgery opts-in rare cases when the injuries and risks are unable to be coped with the treatments.
- Consult the medical expert before undergoing a surgery- it has its own risks and benefits.
- Once treated, you’ll recover according to the severity of the chest flail. The type of injury, location and complications developed will determine the recovery time.
- Mild chest flails can take up to 6 weeks while the others can take years.
- Age is also a factor that can determine the recovery time- young people will recover faster than the elderly.
Why Choose TX Hospitals?
TX Hospitals have an aim to be India’s most well-known healthcare provider, which is dedicated to the highest levels of clinical quality and patient care, backed by cutting-edge technology and research.
We demand more of ourselves to provide the best to our patients. We strive for excellence in everything we do so that we can provide the best level of patient-centred care possible.
We provide deep analysis for conditions like chest flails to help you know the situation. Our treatments are globally recommended and are used with the best cutting edge technology.
Chest flails are life threatening and can cause disability in people. Our team will assist you time and give you the best healthcare services that may help you recover fast.
Our team of doctors will take daily follow ups post the treatment to soothe your condition. We also recommend after home care to patients.
The type of cancer that begins and spreads in the lungs is called lung cancer.
Lungs are the two spongy organs present in the chest that inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. The right lung comprises three sections, known as lobes, while the left lung only comprises two lobes. Compared with the right lung, the left lung is smaller in size, as it houses the heart.
When we breathe, the air containing the oxygen is taken in by the nose and is transferred to the lungs via the trachea or the windpipe. The trachea is further divided into two tubes called the bronchi. These divide further to form much smaller branches called the bronchioles. Tiny air sacs called alveoli are present at the end of the bronchioles. These alveoli perform the function of absorbing the oxygen into the blood that is inhaled from the air and giving out the carbon dioxide while exhaling.
TYPES OF LUNG CANCERS
There are two main types of cancers and different treatments are suggested for these.
- NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER (NSCLC)
Almost 80% of the lung cancers that are detected fall under the category of NSCLC. The cancer types that fall under this category include adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large carcinoma.
- Adenocarcinoma is usually found in cells that secrete mucus. These are found in people who are addicted to smoking or were former smokers. It can also be found in people who are non-smokers. The cancer cells in adenocarcinoma are found to grow on the outer parts of the lungs and can be detected in the initial stages. Young women are more at risk of contracting adenocarcinoma in comparison to men.
- Heavy smokers are at risk of squamous cell carcinoma, which is found in the central part of the lungs near the bronchus. Squamous cell carcinoma has its origin in the squamous cells. These are flat cells that line the inside of the airways in the lungs.
- Large cell carcinoma has the potential of growing in any part of the lung. This is aggressive in nature and can spread at an alarming rate, making it harder for effective treatment.
SMALL CELL CANCER
This is also termed oat cell cancer, and 10-15 % of people are diagnosed with small cell cancer. This type of cancer is capable of spreading at an alarming rate because of its high growth rate. Treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy are much more effective.
LUNG CARCINOID TUMOURS
This accounts for only 5 per cent of the people diagnosed with lung cancers. These are slow in growth.
- Other types of lung tumours that are diagnosed include adenoid cystic carcinomas, lymphomas, and sarcomas.
- There are other types of cancers that spread/metastasize to the lungs from other organs like the breasts, kidneys, pancreas and skin.
The symptoms of lung cancers are not visible in the initial stages. Some symptoms that are noticed in the advanced stages are ;
- Chest pain
- Cough that doesn’t seem to go away
- Sudden weight loss
- Blood while coughing.
- Heavy smoking is the most prominent cause of lung cancer. People who smoke and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke- both are equally prone to the complications caused by lung cancers. Smoking damages the cells lining the lungs. Inhaling the cigarette smoke, consisting of carcinogens, affects the lung tissues and the effects are visible immediately. Initially, the body is capable of repairing the damage that is caused, but with repeated exposure, the normal cells undergo damage. This damage over a long period of time will lead the cell to perform in an abnormal way, eventually leading to the growth of the cancer cells.
- Previous radiation therapy can also have an adverse effect on the functioning of the lungs.
- Exposure to the radon gas, produced by the natural breakdown of uranium and found in the soil, rock and water, can affect the air that we breathe. This can lead to the growth of cancer-causing cells in the lungs.
- A family history of lung cancer can also be a risk for the young members of the family.
- Heavy exposure to asbestos, arsenic, chromium, and nickel can prove to be a risk for lung cancer.
- Give up on smoking. It will reduce the risk of lung cancer. There are various options available to quit smoking. Options like nicotine replacement products, medications and support groups are advised by the doctors to help the person in getting rid of smoking.
- Follow a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables. These are great sources of vitamins and nutrients and help in reducing the risk of lung cancer.
- Exercise regularly. This will help keep the body fit and healthy, thereby making it strong enough to fight any foreign particle invasion that might increase the risk of lung cancer.
- Protect yourself from exposure to toxic chemicals. Wear a mask where it is necessary to safeguard the lungs from diseases.
- Check the home for radon levels, especially in areas where radon levels are known to be high.
- Imaging tests such as MRI, X -rays, CT scans etc., will help the doctor examine any abnormal growth of mass or nodule in the lungs.
- Where the symptom involves persistent cough, the doctors usually recommend sputum cytology. The sputum is examined under the microscope to reveal the growth of any cancer-causing cells in the lungs.
- A biopsy is also advised, where the doctor collects a sample of abnormal tissues to be examined in the laboratory.
- Once the cancer is diagnosed, the doctor can suggest other tests that will help determine the cancer stage. The tests involve CT scan, MRI, PET, bone scans etc.
- In most cases, the doctors recommend surgery to remove lung cancer. The different methods include
- Wedge resection, where a small section of the lung that is affected is removed along with a small part of the healthy tissues.
- Segmental resection removes a large portion of the lung, but not the entire lob
- Lobectomy is used to remove the entire lobe of one lung.
- Pneumonectomy is used to remove an entire lung.
- Radiation therapy is also suggested. In this method, high powered energy beams are used to kill the cancer cells. The patient is made to lie on the table,and the radiation is directed precisely on the body part that is affected.
- Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells with the use of drugs. These drugs are injected through the veins or can be taken orally. This method is often used after the surgery is performed to kill the cancer cells that remain. This method can also be used before the surgery to shrink cancer to make it easier to remove.
- Targeted drug treatments to focus on certain abnormalities found in the cancer cells. Blocking these abnormalities with the help of targeted drug treatment, the cancer cells will die.
- In the process of immunotherapy, the immune system is made stronger to fight cancer cells.
- Radiosurgery, which is intense radiation treatment, is used to aim beams of radiation at cancer.
Breathing problems are sometimes very serious and even children face these problems at times. The job of a paediatric pulmonologist is to treat these children who suffer from breathing problems. These are some of the common conditions that are treated by a paediatric pulmonologist:-
Wheezing is a common symptom of many breathing problems. It could just be because of something as common as a cold or be something serious like Asthma. It is a frequent thing that patients come to see the paediatric pulmonologists to get their child treated for wheezing and to determine if that wheezing means that their child is suffering from asthma. Some of the other condition that gets treated by a paediatric pulmonologist include:
- Apnea (Babies with apnea will stop breathing, or “forget” to breathe.)
- technology-dependent children (Some children require oxygen and/or a respirator to help them breathe.)
- Cystic Fibrosis (Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited condition that causes an excessive buildup of mucus in the lungs.)
There are several services that are offered by a paediatric pulmonologist. Pulmonary function testing and flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FBB) are a part of the services offered by a paediatric pulmonologist. A non-invasive test known as pulmonary function testing is done in different ways in ways that are suitable to kids of all ages. A fiberoptic scope is used in the FBB procedure to look inside the lungs for any signs of any defect. This is a more invasive method, but this is not a surgery. Even though it is not surgery, it does require sedation.
Situations where Paediatric Pulmonology is Required
As we have discussed briefly before, paediatric pulmonology involves several diseases. Now to get a better understanding of paediatric pulmonology, let us take a deeper dive into the diseases that are related to paediatric pulmonology.
Asthma– Asthma is a condition that affects the airways in your body. In this condition, the airways in your body get narrow and swell up. The airways also produce some extra mucus if it is affected by asthma. These effects make breathing really difficult and also trigger coughing. This also leads to wheezing, which is a whistling sound produced when you breathe, and also leads to shortness of breath. Asthma might turn out to be a minor nuisance for some people. But for others, Asthma can be very serious and sometimes even life-threatening. It can even become so serious as to interfere with daily activities and can cause asthma attacks. Asthma is a condition that cannot be cured. Even then, the symptoms of asthma can be kept under control. Asthma has the tendency to change over time often. You should always have a doctor that you can consult and work with to follow up on the signs and symptoms of your asthma. This will help you get the treatment that you require according to your condition.
Pneumonia– Pneumonia is a disease, an infection that results in the inflammation of the air sacs in one or both of your lungs. The air sacs in your lungs get filled with pus and fluid (purulent material) when you are affected by pneumonia. The signs and symptoms of pneumonia include cough with pus or phlegm, chills, fever, and difficulty breathing. The cause of pneumonia can be a variety of organisms including bacteria, virus, or fungi. As with all diseases, the severity of pneumonia can range from mild to life-threatening. In infants and children, it is the most serious.
Wheezing– Wheezing is a symptom of many pulmonary conditions. Wheezing itself is a pulmonary condition. Wheezing presents itself as a coarse, high-pitched, whistling sound that comes when you breathe. Wheezing is a common symptom of many kinds of respiratory allergies, especially during the hay fever season. Respiratory infections like acute bronchitis are accompanied by wheezing. The most common causes of wheezing are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There are several treatments that can ease your child’s wheezing. Sometimes, wheezing can get severe and you might face difficulty breathing. For this reason, you should be in contact with a doctor to track your health conditions related to breathing and lungs. A pulmonologist is the best option if you have any of these diseases.
Bronchitis– Bronchial tubes are passages in your child’s body that air to and from your lungs. If there is an inflammation in the lining of your bronchial tubes, it is known as bronchitis. Thickened mucus is coughed up by people who suffer from bronchitis. The mucus might be discolored. As with every disease, bronchitis can range from mild to chronic.
Acute bronchitis often develops from a common cold or any other respiratory infection. Chronic bronchitis is a more serious condition. This is followed by constant irritation or inflammation in the lining of the bronchial tubes. This can also occur often due to smoking. Another name for acute bronchitis is also a chest cold. This usually takes around a week or about 10 days to recover. It does not have any lasting effects. But the cough generally stays for a few weeks that follow. If a person suffers from chronic bronchitis, then they should seek immediate medical attention.
Apnea– Apnea, also known as apnoea, is basically the cessation of breathing. If a person suffers from apnea, then they just forget to breathe or just stop breathing all of a sudden. Your airways get blocked (patency) during apnea. Depending upon the severity of your blockage of air passages, the flow of air to and from your lungs might stop. This is exactly like holding your breath but it is involuntary in this case. This is generally diagnosed during childhood. You might consult an ENT, allergist, or sleep physician for discussing the symptoms and to get proper treatment for apnea.
Cystic Fibrosis– Cystic fibrosis disorder is inherited. It expresses itself in the form of severe damage in the lungs, digestive system, and several other organs of your body.
Cells that are associated with the production of mucus sweat and digestive juices are generally affected by cystic fibrosis. These fluids, which are generally thin and slippery, become thick and sticky. The fluids, which generally act as lubricants, begin plugging up ducts, tubes, and passageways. This happens especially in the lungs and the pancreas. Cystic fibrosis is a progressive disease and requires daily care. Even then, people who suffer from cystic fibrosis can do daily work and like to attend school and go to work. There have been significant improvements in the treatment and screening of Cystic fibrosis.
How can TX Hospitals Help?
Paediatric pulmonology is delicate work as it involves serious diseases and it involves children. But if you have a child who you need to get treated for any of these diseases, you need not worry because TX Hospitals are there at your service. As we know, paediatric pulmonology should always be handled by expert hands. At the TX Hospitals, there are a group of the best pulmonologists that will help you with the treatment of your diseases. The paediatric teams are very qualified and can treat your child with utmost care. We also use the latest technology for the diagnosis and screening of all kinds of diseases. So if you are worried, just contact the TX Hospitals and you will, without any doubt, be in the best hands.
Tuberculosis (TB) in effect with pneumonia is caused by the microbe bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is a contagious, airborne infection that affects human tissue. When M. tuberculosis infects the lungs and causes conditions like pneumonia it is known as pulmonary tuberculosis. It is contagious and can spread to other organs. With early diagnosis and treatment at TX Hospitals in India, pulmonary pneumonia tuberculosis can be cured.
Those who have latent TB are not contagious. They have no symptoms as the immune system gets protected from becoming ill. However, latent tuberculosis may progress to pulmonary or active tuberculosis. If one has a compromised immune system, such as HIV infection, the risk increases.
Pneumonia and tuberculosis can be detected with the following symptoms-
- cough up phlegm
- cough up blood
- have a consistent fever
- low-grade fevers
- have night sweats
- have chest pains
- have unexplained weight loss
Fatigue is also one of the common symptoms associated with pulmonary pneumonia tuberculosis. One may have one or more than one of the symptoms and are required to get a proper diagnosis. These symptoms will not go away with basic medications and a complete treatment becomes necessary.
People who have direct contact with those having TB are at the highest risk of contracting pulmonary pneumonia tuberculosis. This can include contact with the TB-infected family or friends, or working in areas or being in such environment like-
- correctional facilities
- group homes
- nursing homes
People who are the risk-
- older adults
- small children
- people who smoke
- people with an autoimmune disorder
- rheumatoid arthritis
- people with diabetes or kidney disease
- people who inject drugs
- people who are immunocompromised
- undergoing chemotherapy
- chronic steroids
Pulmonary tuberculosis is treatable with medication, but if left untreated or not properly cured, it can be fatal. Untreated pulmonary tuberculosis can lead to long-term harm to organs like-
Diagnosis is started with the physical examination to check lung-fluid content. You further need to tell your doctor about your medical history. Doctors also recommend an X-Ray scan and test to confirm pulmonary pneumonia tuberculosis.
- A doctor will ask to cough and induce sputum up to three times to diagnose pulmonary pneumonia tuberculosis. The samples will be sent to a laboratory to conduct a confirmatory exam. They will examine the sputum under a microscope and detect the presence of tuberculosis.
- The sputum is also run through a culture exam- It is the procedure in which it is kept in a specific substance. The substance encourages the growth of tuberculosis bacteria. Thriving will detect the TB as positive.
- A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can also be conducted by medical professionals. It looks for specific genes from the microorganisms that cause tuberculosis in the sputum.
- CT scan- Imaging for the lungs to detect the TB.
- Bronchoscopy- Test in which a scope is inserted into the mouth or nose and examine the tract and lungs.
- Thoracentesis- The fluid is removed from the chest and lung wall.
- Lung Biopsy- Sample of lung tissue is taken.
People with mild TB and who have not developed pulmonary TB should get treated as it may lead to pneumonia-causing TB. The doctors prescribe many medications and drugs for 6 months to clear out the pulmonary pneumonia TB.
As a confirmatory treatment, the doctor may propose a procedure known as directly observed therapy (DOT). Stopping treatment or skipping doses can cause pulmonary pneumonia tuberculosis to become drug-resistant. It can result in MDR-TB.
MDR-TB is a type of tuberculosis that develops resistance to standard antibiotics. The factors causing it-
- incorrect drug
- people stopping treatment early
- people taking poor-quality medications
People who develop MDR-TB have fewer therapeutic treatments. Second-line therapies can take up to two years to complete. MDR-TB has the potential to progress further to extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). Hence take your medications timely.
Some tips to remember-
- Every day, take your medications at the same time.
- Make a note on your calendar reminding you’ve taken your medicine.
- Request that someone remind you to take your medicine on a daily basis.
- A pill organiser is the best way to keep track of your medications.
Why Choose TX Hospitals
TX Hospitals heritage is defined by its unwavering commitment to clinical excellence, low costs, cutting-edge technology, and forward-thinking research and academia. TX Hospitals is one of the world’s first hospitals to use technology to help with seamless healthcare delivery.
Our objective is to make international-standard healthcare accessible to everyone. We work for the benefit of humanity and are devoted to achieving and maintaining excellence in education, research, and healthcare.
SLEEP APNEA AND SNORING
Sleep apnea is the most common sleeping disorder in the world. It can disrupt your breathing while sleeping and cause respiratory problems. Sleep apnea is of various types but the most common form of it is obstructive sleep apnea.
It happens when the neck muscles relax and cause restrictions in the airway during sleep. This form of obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring is considered the most common symptom of the same.
People who snore aren’t able to take in the oxygen properly, causing rapid and disrupted sleeping sounds. Snoring is mainly linked to heavy breathing and can be treated if taken proper treatment.
There are many clinical and medical solutions for obstructive sleep apnea. One can use a medical device to get the positive airway pressure and keep the breathing open. These sleep apnea medical devices are CPAP or BiPAP medical equipment.
Both have a mouthpiece that transfers air from the device to the nose and passes to the airways.
If the snoring causing sleep apnea gets worse, people can also opt for surgery.
There are many signs and symptoms related to sleep apnea. If persistent, doctors at TXHospitals recommend getting a full diagnosis prior to the treatment-
- Excessive daytime sleepiness or feeling of fatigue
- Loud snoring
- Breathing problems while sleeping
- Abruptions in sleep like gasping or choking
- Waking with a dry mouth
- Waking with a sore throat
- Morning headache
- Difficulty concentrating in daytime
- Mood swings like depression or irritability
- High blood pressure
- Decreased libido
Although many of these issues can be due to other underlying causes- like the flu or viral, or just common cold. One should consult a medical professional only when these are persistent. Snoring and breathing difficulty are mainly seen in the cases of sleep apnea.
Remember that snoring is not a sure sign of having sleep apnea. It can be normal for some people to snore. But if the snoring is loud; consult a medical professional in India at TX Hospitals.
Anyone can have sleep apnea; it may be due to age, health factors, respiratory illnesses and other health issues. The risk factors of sleep apnea are-
- Obesity- the fat can disrupt breathing patterns and cause sleep apnea. Obesity can lead to many things like hypothyroidism or polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Age- It can increase with age. People who are above 60 can experience it at a lower rate than people in their 50s.
- Narrow airways- Having narrow airways can be hereditary or the tonsils may be responsible for the same.
- High Blood pressure
- Chronic cold or nasal congestion- it can occur in people with nasal related congestion.
- Sex- Men are more prone to sleep apnea than women.
- Family history
The diagnosis is conducted with respect to signs and symptoms, physical examination, and tests. A sleep specialist is also consulted along with the procedure.
- Examination of the back of the throat, nose, and mouth is conducted to know extra tissue deposits or abnormalities. The circumference can also be measured to know blood pressure.
- Sleep specialist conducts other examinations to determine the severity and condition of sleep apnea.
- Doctors can conduct overnight monitoring to evaluate sleep conditions.
- Polysomnography- This involves knowing the heart, lung, and brain activity along with the breathing patterns, limbs movement and blood oxygen levels. It is monitored all night to keep track. During the test, you may be given a positive airway treatment via CPAP or BiPAP machines. Other sleep disorders can require different treatments. These can be leg movements, or interfered bouts of sleep detected by narcolepsy.
- Home sleep apnea tests- this is the home version of polysomnography and measures the airflow, breathing patterns and oxygen blood levels. It can also measure snoring levels along with limb movement.
If the condition is mild, your doctor may ask you to opt for lifestyle changes like losing weight and quitting smoking. But when the case is severe there can be a series of treatments prescribed by the doctor. These include therapies and surgeries.
- Positive airway pressure- There are machines used to deliver air pressure from the mouth of the airways. This can help in sleep apnea, the mouthpiece gets attached to the nose and keeps delivering oxygen while sleeping. The most common devices used are CPAP or BiPAP machines. The pressure is continuous, constant and keeps the airways open. Many people can find these masks uncomfortable but with the help of nasal pillows or face masks, one can feel a little better with the equipment.
- A mouthpiece or the oral device- Although positive airway pressure is an effective therapy, many people with mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea can take oral medications. These therapies may help one to sleep better. It can also aid in snoring and provide the mouth to be opened.
Surgery is considered as the last resort if the above treatments are working. It can cure severe sleep apnea related conditions-
- removal of tissue- the tissue from the mouth and throat is removed. It may also remove tonsils or adenoids. The procedure is called UPPP or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and requires local anaesthesia.
- Upper airway stimulation- the skin is implanted with a small, thin impulse generator and the device detects breathing patterns and stimulates nerves. This is beneficial for those who can’t take CPAP or BiPAP.
- Jaw surgery- the jaws are moved forward with respect to the facial bones and is called maxillomandibular advancement. The space is enlarged behind the tongue and palate.
- Surgical neck opening- It is also called a tracheostomy and is done when the sleep apnea becomes life-threatening. The metal or plastic tube is inserted inside and cleanses the area.
- Nasal surgery is done to remove any polyps or treat partitions at the deviated septum.
- Enlarged tonsils are also removed.
Why Choose TX Hospitals?
Sleep apnea and snoring related disorders are exclusively treated at TX Hospitals. Sleep apnea can be dangerous and with our extensive and comprehensive approach towards human wellness, we provide proper diagnosis against sleep apnea and snoring. Our world-class technology aims to give the best to its patients.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. People who have bronchitis often cough up thickened mucus, which can be discolored. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.
Often developing from a cold or other respiratory infection, acute bronchitis is very common. Chronic bronchitis, a more serious condition, is a constant irritation or inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, often due to smoking.
Acute bronchitis, also called a chest cold, usually improves within a week to 10 days without lasting effects, although the cough may linger for weeks.
However, if you have repeated bouts of bronchitis, you may have chronic bronchitis, which requires medical attention. Chronic bronchitis is one of the conditions included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
For either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, signs and symptoms may include:
- Production of mucus (sputum), which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color — rarely, it may be streaked with blood
- Shortness of breath
- Slight fever and chills
- Chest discomfort
If you have acute bronchitis, you might have cold symptoms, such as a mild headache or body aches. While these symptoms usually improve in about a week, you may have a nagging cough that lingers for several weeks.
Chronic bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that lasts at least three months, with recurring bouts occurring for at least two consecutive years.
If you have chronic bronchitis, you’re likely to have periods when your cough or other symptoms worsen. At those times, you may have an acute infection on top of chronic bronchitis.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if your cough:
- Lasts more than three weeks
- Prevents you from sleeping
- Is accompanied by fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C)
- Produces discolored mucus
- Produces blood
- Is associated with wheezing or shortness of breath
Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, typically the same viruses that cause colds and flu (influenza). Antibiotics don’t kill viruses, so this type of medication isn’t useful in most cases of bronchitis.
The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is cigarette smoking. Air pollution and dust or toxic gases in the environment or workplace also can contribute to the condition.
Factors that increase your risk of bronchitis include:
- Cigarette smoke.People who smoke or who live with a smoker are at higher risk of both acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.
- Low resistance.This may result from another acute illness, such as a cold, or from a chronic condition that compromises your immune system. Older adults, infants and young children have greater vulnerability to infection.
- Exposure to irritants on the job.Your risk of developing bronchitis is greater if you work around certain lung irritants, such as grains or textiles, or are exposed to chemical fumes.
- Gastric reflux.Repeated bouts of severe heartburn can irritate your throat and make you more prone to developing bronchitis.
Although a single episode of bronchitis usually isn’t cause for concern, it can lead to pneumonia in some people. Repeated bouts of bronchitis, however, may mean that you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
To reduce your risk of bronchitis, follow these tips:
- Avoid cigarette smoke.Cigarette smoke increases your risk of chronic bronchitis.
- Get vaccinated.Many cases of acute bronchitis result from influenza, a virus. Getting a yearly flu vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu. You may also want to consider vaccination that protects against some types of pneumonia.
- Wash your hands.To reduce your risk of catching a viral infection, wash your hands frequently and get in the habit of using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Wear a surgical mask.If you have COPD, you might consider wearing a face mask at work if you’re exposed to dust or fumes, and when you’re going to be among crowds, such as while traveling.
During the first few days of illness, it can be difficult to distinguish the signs and symptoms of bronchitis from those of a common cold. During the physical exam, your doctor will use a stethoscope to listen closely to your lungs as you breathe.
In some cases, your doctor may suggest the following tests:
- Chest X-ray.A chest X-ray can help determine if you have pneumonia or another condition that may explain your cough. This is especially important if you ever were or currently are a smoker.
- Sputum tests.Sputum is the mucus that you cough up from your lungs. It can be tested to see if you have illnesses that could be helped by antibiotics. Sputum can also be tested for signs of allergies.
- Pulmonary function test.During a pulmonary function test, you blow into a device called a spirometer, which measures how much air your lungs can hold and how quickly you can get air out of your lungs. This test checks for signs of asthma or emphysema.
Most cases of acute bronchitis get better without treatment, usually within a couple of weeks.
Because most cases of bronchitis are caused by viral infections, antibiotics aren’t effective. However, if your doctor suspects that you have a bacterial infection, he or she may prescribe an antibiotic.
In some circumstances, your doctor may recommend other medications, including:
- Cough medicine.If your cough keeps you from sleeping, you might try cough suppressants at bedtime.
- Other medications.If you have allergies, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may recommend an inhaler and other medications to reduce inflammation and open narrowed passages in your lungs.
If you have chronic bronchitis, you may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation — a breathing exercise program in which a respiratory therapist teaches you how to breathe more easily and increase your ability to exercise.
Lifestyle and home remedies
To help you feel better, you may want to try the following self-care measures:
- Avoid lung irritants.Don’t smoke. Wear a mask when the air is polluted or if you’re exposed to irritants, such as paint or household cleaners with strong fumes.
- Use a humidifier.Warm, moist air helps relieve coughs and loosens mucus in your airways. But be sure to clean the humidifier according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid the growth of bacteria and fungi in the water container.
- Consider a face mask outside.If cold air aggravates your cough and causes shortness of breath, put on a cold-air face mask before you go outside.
Bronchiolitis is a common lung infection in young children and infants. It causes inflammation and congestion in the small airways (bronchioles) of the lung. Bronchiolitis is almost always caused by a virus. Typically, the peak time for bronchiolitis is during the winter months.
Bronchiolitis starts out with symptoms similar to those of a common cold, but then progresses to coughing, wheezing and sometimes difficulty breathing. Symptoms of bronchiolitis can last for several days to weeks.
Most children get better with care at home. A small percentage of children require hospitalization.
For the first few days, the signs and symptoms of bronchiolitis are similar to those of a cold:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Slight fever (not always present)
After this, there may be a week or more of difficulty breathing or a whistling noise when the child breathes out (wheezing).
Many infants also have an ear infection (otitis media).
When to see a doctor
If it’s difficult to get your child to eat or drink and his or her breathing becomes more rapid or labored, call your child’s doctor. This is especially important if your child is younger than 12 weeks old or has other risk factors for bronchiolitis — including premature birth or a heart or lung condition.
The following signs and symptoms are reasons to seek prompt medical attention:
- Audible wheezing sounds
- Breathing very fast — more than 60 breaths a minute (tachypnea) — and shallowly
- Labored breathing — the ribs seem to suck inward when the infant inhales
- Sluggish or lethargic appearance
- Refusal to drink enough, or breathing too fast to eat or drink
- Skin turning blue, especially the lips and fingernails (cyanosis)
Bronchiolitis occurs when a virus infects the bronchioles, which are the smallest airways in your lungs. The infection makes the bronchioles swell and become inflamed. Mucus collects in these airways, which makes it difficult for air to flow freely in and out of the lungs.
Most cases of bronchiolitis are caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV is a common virus that infects just about every child by 2 years of age. Outbreaks of RSV infection occur every winter, and individuals can be reinfected, as previous infection does not appear to cause lasting immunity. Bronchiolitis also can be caused by other viruses, including those that cause the flu or the common cold.
The viruses that cause bronchiolitis are easily spread. You can contract them through droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks. You can also get them by touching shared objects — such as utensils, towels or toys — and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Bronchiolitis typically affects children under the age of 2 years. Infants younger than 3 months of age are at greatest risk of getting bronchiolitis because their lungs and immune systems aren’t yet fully developed.
Other factors that are linked with an increased risk of bronchiolitis in infants and with more-severe cases include:
- Premature birth
- Underlying heart or lung condition
- Depressed immune system
- Exposure to tobacco smoke
- Never having been breast-fed (breast-fed babies receive immune benefits from the mother)
- Contact with multiple children, such as in a child care setting
- Spending time in crowded environments
- Having siblings who attend school or get child care services and bring home the infection
Complications of severe bronchiolitis may include:
- Blue lips or skin (cyanosis), caused by lack of oxygen
- Pauses in breathing (apnea), which is most likely to occur in premature babies and in babies within the first two months of life
- Low oxygen levels and respiratory failure
If these occur, your child may need to be in the hospital. Severe respiratory failure may require that a tube be inserted into the windpipe (trachea) to help the child’s breathing until the infection has run its course.
If your baby was born prematurely, has a heart or lung condition, or has a depressed immune system, watch closely for beginning signs of bronchiolitis. The infection can quickly become severe. In such cases, your child will usually need hospitalization.
Because the viruses that cause bronchiolitis spread from person to person, one of the best ways to prevent it is to wash your hands frequently — especially before touching your baby when you have a cold or other respiratory illness. Wearing a face mask at this time is appropriate.
If your child has bronchiolitis, keep him or her at home until the illness is past to avoid spreading it to others.
Other commonsense ways to help curb infection include:
- Limit contact with people who have a fever or cold.If your child is a newborn, especially a premature newborn, avoid exposure to people with colds, especially in the first two months of life.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces.Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people frequently touch, such as toys and doorknobs. This is especially important if a family member is sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Then throw away the tissue and wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Use your own drinking glass.Don’t share glasses with others, especially if someone in your family is ill.
- Wash hands often.Frequently wash your own hands and those of your child. Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy for yourself and your child when you’re away from home.
- Breast-feed.Respiratory infections are significantly less common in breast-fed babies.
Vaccines and medications
There are no vaccines for the most common causes of bronchiolitis (RSV and rhinovirus). However, an annual flu shot is recommended for everyone older than 6 months.
Infants at high risk of the RSV infection, such as those born prematurely or with a heart or lung condition or who have a depressed immune system, may be given the medication palivizumab to decrease the likelihood of RSV infections.
Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (purulent material), causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia.
Pneumonia can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. It is most serious for infants and young children, people older than age 65, and people with health problems or weakened immune systems.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe, depending on factors such as the type of germ causing the infection, and your age and overall health. Mild signs and symptoms often are similar to those of a cold or flu, but they last longer.
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Confusion or changes in mental awareness (in adults age 65 and older)
- Cough, which may produce phlegm
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Lower than normal body temperature (in adults older than age 65 and people with weak immune systems)
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
Newborns and infants may not show any sign of the infection. Or they may vomit, have a fever and cough, appear restless or tired and without energy, or have difficulty breathing and eating.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, persistent fever of 102 F (39 C) or higher, or persistent cough, especially if you’re coughing up pus.
It’s especially important that people in these high-risk groups see a doctor:
- Adults older than age 65
- Children younger than age 2 with signs and symptoms
- People with an underlying health condition or weakened immune system
- People receiving chemotherapy or taking medication that suppresses the immune system
For some older adults and people with heart failure or chronic lung problems, pneumonia can quickly become a life-threatening condition.
Many germs can cause pneumonia. The most common are bacteria and viruses in the air we breathe. Your body usually prevents these germs from infecting your lungs. But sometimes these germs can overpower your immune system, even if your health is generally good.
Pneumonia is classified according to the types of germs that cause it and where you got the infection.
Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia. It occurs outside of hospitals or other health care facilities. It may be caused by:
- The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in the U.S. is Streptococcus pneumoniae. This type of pneumonia can occur on its own or after you’ve had a cold or the flu. It may affect one part (lobe) of the lung, a condition called lobar pneumonia.
- Bacteria-like organisms.Mycoplasma pneumoniae also can cause pneumonia. It typically produces milder symptoms than do other types of pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is an informal name given to this type of pneumonia, which typically isn’t severe enough to require bed rest.
- This type of pneumonia is most common in people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems, and in people who have inhaled large doses of the organisms. The fungi that cause it can be found in soil or bird droppings and vary depending upon geographic location.
- Viruses, including COVID-19.Some of the viruses that cause colds and the flu can cause pneumonia. Viruses are the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than 5 years. Viral pneumonia is usually mild. But in some cases it can become very serious. Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) may cause pneumonia, which can become severe.
Some people catch pneumonia during a hospital stay for another illness. Hospital-acquired pneumonia can be serious because the bacteria causing it may be more resistant to antibiotics and because the people who get it are already sick. People who are on breathing machines (ventilators), often used in intensive care units, are at higher risk of this type of pneumonia.
Health care-acquired pneumonia
Health care-acquired pneumonia is a bacterial infection that occurs in people who live in long-term care facilities or who receive care in outpatient clinics, including kidney dialysis centers. Like hospital-acquired pneumonia, health care-acquired pneumonia can be caused by bacteria that are more resistant to antibiotics.
Aspiration pneumonia occurs when you inhale food, drink, vomit or saliva into your lungs. Aspiration is more likely if something disturbs your normal gag reflex, such as a brain injury or swallowing problem, or excessive use of alcohol or drugs.
Pneumonia can affect anyone. But the two age groups at highest risk are:
- Children who are 2 years old or younger
- People who are age 65 or older
Other risk factors include:
- Being hospitalized.You’re at greater risk of pneumonia if you’re in a hospital intensive care unit, especially if you’re on a machine that helps you breathe (a ventilator).
- Chronic disease.You’re more likely to get pneumonia if you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart disease.
- Smoking damages your body’s natural defenses against the bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia.
- Weakened or suppressed immune system.People who have HIV/AIDS, who’ve had an organ transplant, or who receive chemotherapy or long-term steroids are at risk.
Even with treatment, some people with pneumonia, especially those in high-risk groups, may experience complications, including:
- Bacteria in the bloodstream (bacteremia).Bacteria that enter the bloodstream from your lungs can spread the infection to other organs, potentially causing organ failure.
- Difficulty breathing.If your pneumonia is severe or you have chronic underlying lung diseases, you may have trouble breathing in enough oxygen. You may need to be hospitalized and use a breathing machine (ventilator) while your lung heals.
- Fluid accumulation around the lungs (pleural effusion).Pneumonia may cause fluid to build up in the thin space between layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity (pleura). If the fluid becomes infected, you may need to have it drained through a chest tube or removed with surgery.
- Lung abscess.An abscess occurs if pus forms in a cavity in the lung. An abscess is usually treated with antibiotics. Sometimes, surgery or drainage with a long needle or tube placed into the abscess is needed to remove the pus.
To help prevent pneumonia:
- Get vaccinated.Vaccines are available to prevent some types of pneumonia and the flu. Talk with your doctor about getting these shots. The vaccination guidelines have changed over time so make sure to review your vaccination status with your doctor even if you recall previously receiving a pneumonia vaccine.
- Make sure children get vaccinated.Doctors recommend a different pneumonia vaccine for children younger than age 2 and for children ages 2 to 5 years who are at particular risk of pneumococcal disease. Children who attend a group child care center should also get the vaccine. Doctors also recommend flu shots for children older than 6 months.
- Practice good hygiene.To protect yourself against respiratory infections that sometimes lead to pneumonia, wash your hands regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Don’t smoke.Smoking damages your lungs’ natural defenses against respiratory infections.
- Keep your immune system strong.Get enough sleep, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance — such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander — or a food that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people.
Your immune system produces substances known as antibodies. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn’t. When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system’s reaction can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.
The severity of allergies varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening emergency. While most allergies can’t be cured, treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms.
Allergy symptoms, which depend on the substance involved, can affect your airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, and digestive system. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. In some severe cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, can cause:
- Itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth
- Runny, stuffy nose
- Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
A food allergy can cause:
- Tingling in the mouth
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat
An insect sting allergy can cause:
- A large area of swelling (edema) at the sting site
- Itching or hives all over the body
- Cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath
A drug allergy can cause:
- Itchy skin
- Facial swelling
Atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition also called eczema, can cause skin to:
- Flake or peel
Some types of allergies, including allergies to foods and insect stings, can trigger a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. A life-threatening medical emergency, anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Loss of consciousness
- A drop in blood pressure
- Severe shortness of breath
- Skin rash
- A rapid, weak pulse
- Nausea and vomiting
When to see a doctor
You might see your health care provider if you have symptoms you think are caused by an allergy, and nonprescription allergy medications don’t provide enough relief. If you have symptoms after starting a new medication, call the provider who prescribed it right away.
For a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), call 911 or your local emergency number or seek emergency medical help. If you carry an epinephrine auto-injector, give yourself a shot right away.
Even if your symptoms improve after an epinephrine injection, you should go to the emergency department to make sure symptoms don’t return when the effects of the injection wear off.
If you’ve had a severe allergy attack or any signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis in the past, make an appointment to see your health care provider. Evaluation, diagnosis and long-term management of anaphylaxis are complicated, so you’ll probably need to see a provider who specializes in allergies and immunology.
An allergy starts when your immune system mistakes a normally harmless substance for a dangerous invader. The immune system then produces antibodies that remain on the alert for that particular allergen. When you’re exposed to the allergen again, these antibodies can release a number of immune system chemicals, such as histamine, that cause allergy symptoms.
Common allergy triggers include:
- Airborne allergens,such as pollen, animal dander, dust mites and mold
- Certain foods,particularly peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs and milk
- Insect stings,such as from a bee or wasp
- Medications,particularly penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics
- Latex or other substances you touch,which can cause allergic skin reactions
You might be more likely to develop an allergy if you:
- Have a family history of asthma or allergies,such as hay fever, hives or eczema
- Are a child
- Have asthmaor another allergic condition
Having an allergy increases your risk of certain other medical problems, including:
- If you have severe allergies, you’re at increased risk of this serious allergy-induced reaction. Foods, medications and insect stings are the most common triggers of anaphylaxis.
- If you have an allergy, you’re more likely to have asthma — an immune system reaction that affects the airways and breathing. In many cases, asthma is triggered by exposure to an allergen in the environment (allergy-induced asthma).
- Sinusitis and infections of the ears or lungs.Your risk of getting these conditions is higher if you have hay fever or asthma.
Preventing allergic reactions depends on the type of allergy you have. General measures include the following:
- Avoid known triggers.Even if you’re treating your allergy symptoms, try to avoid triggers. If, for instance, you’re allergic to pollen, stay inside with windows and doors closed when pollen is high. If you’re allergic to dust mites, dust and vacuum and wash bedding often.
- Keep a diary.When trying to identify what causes or worsens your allergic symptoms, track your activities and what you eat, when symptoms occur and what seems to help. This may help you and your provider identify triggers.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet.If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction, a medical alert bracelet (or necklace) lets others know that you have a serious allergy in case you have a reaction and you’re unable to communicate.
A pneumothorax (noo-moe-THOR-aks) is a collapsed lung. A pneumothorax occurs when air leaks into the space between your lung and chest wall. This air pushes on the outside of your lung and makes it collapse. A pneumothorax can be a complete lung collapse or a collapse of only a portion of the lung.
A pneumothorax can be caused by a blunt or penetrating chest injury, certain medical procedures, or damage from underlying lung disease. Or it may occur for no obvious reason. Symptoms usually include sudden chest pain and shortness of breath. On some occasions, a collapsed lung can be a life-threatening event.
Treatment for a pneumothorax usually involves inserting a needle or chest tube between the ribs to remove the excess air. However, a small pneumothorax may heal on its own.
The main symptoms of a pneumothorax are sudden chest pain and shortness of breath. Severity of symptoms may depend on how much of the lung is collapsed.
When to see a doctor
Symptoms of a pneumothorax can be caused by a variety of health problems, and some can be life-threatening, so seek medical attention. If your chest pain is severe or breathing becomes increasingly difficult, get immediate emergency care.
A pneumothorax can be caused by:
- Chest injury.Any blunt or penetrating injury to your chest can cause lung collapse. Some injuries may happen during physical assaults or car crashes, while others may inadvertently occur during medical procedures that involve the insertion of a needle into the chest.
- Lung disease.Damaged lung tissue is more likely to collapse. Lung damage can be caused by many types of underlying diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, lung cancer or pneumonia. Cystic lung diseases, such as lymphangioleiomyomatosis and Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, cause round, thin-walled air sacs in the lung tissue that can rupture, resulting in pneumothorax.
- Ruptured air blisters.Small air blisters (blebs) can develop on the top of the lungs. These air blisters sometimes burst — allowing air to leak into the space that surrounds the lungs.
- Mechanical ventilation.A severe type of pneumothorax can occur in people who need mechanical assistance to breathe. The ventilator can create an imbalance of air pressure within the chest. The lung may collapse completely.
In general, men are far more likely to have a pneumothorax than women are. The type of pneumothorax caused by ruptured air blisters is most likely to occur in people between 20 and 40 years old, especially if the person is very tall and underweight.
Underlying lung disease or mechanical ventilation can be a cause or a risk factor for a pneumothorax. Other risk factors include:
- The risk increases with the length of time and the number of cigarettes smoked, even without emphysema.
- Certain types of pneumothorax appear to run in families.
- Previous pneumothorax.Anyone who has had one pneumothorax is at increased risk of another.
Potential complications vary, depending on the size and severity of the pneumothorax as well as the cause and treatment. Sometimes air may continue to leak if the opening in the lung won’t close or pneumothorax may recur.