Respiratory Disorders

Laryngitis

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Laryngitis is when your voice box or vocal cords become inflamed from overuse, irritation, or infection. The two main types of this condition are chronic (long-term) and acute (short-term) laryngitis.

A variety of conditions can cause the inflammation that results in laryngitis. These include viral infections, environmental factors, and in rare cases, bacterial infections.

Acute laryngitis is a temporary condition caused by an underlying infection or overuse. Treating the underlying condition will cause the laryngitis to go away. On the other hand, chronic laryngitis results from long-term exposure to irritants. This type of laryngitis tends to be more severe and have effects that last longer.

The causes of acute laryngitis include:

  • viral infections
  • straining vocal cords by talking or yelling more than normal
  • bacterial infections (rare)

The causes of chronic laryngitis include:

  • frequent exposure to harmful chemicals or allergens
  • acid reflux
  • frequent sinus infections
  • smoking or being around smokers
  • overusing your voice
  • low-grade yeast infections caused by frequent use of an asthma inhaler

Other reasons behind persistent hoarseness and sore throat could be cancer, paralysis of the vocal cords, or changes in vocal cord shape that result from getting older.

The most common symptoms of laryngitis include:

  • weakened voice
  • loss of voice
  • hoarse, dry throat
  • constant tickling or minor throat irritation
  • dry cough

Croup

In infants and small children, certain symptoms indicate a form of bacterial laryngitis called croup. Croup, which is inflammation of the throat, can lead to the development of epiglottitis. Epiglottitis occurs when tissue swells to the point that it begins to close the windpipe. This condition can be fatal if not treated quickly. Seek immediate medical treatment if your child has:

  • trouble swallowing
  • problems breathing
  • extra saliva
  • noisy, high-pitched sounds when breathing in
  • a fever over 103°F
  • a barking cough

Laryngitis affects your vocal cords and voice box. Your doctor will often start with a visual diagnosis. Your doctor will use a special mirror to view your vocal cords, or they’ll perform a laryngoscopy to magnify the voice box for easy viewing. During a laryngoscopy, your doctor will stick a thin flexible tube with a microscopic camera through your mouth or nose. Your doctor will look for the following signs of laryngitis:

  • irritation
  • redness
  • lesions on the voice box
  • widespread swelling, which is a sign of environmental factors causing laryngitis
  • vocal cord swelling only, which is a sign that you’re overusing your vocal cords

If your doctor notices a lesion or other suspicious mass, they may order a biopsy to rule out throat cancer. During a biopsy, your doctor will remove a small piece of tissue so it can be examined in a lab.

Adenoids

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The adenoids are a mass of soft tissue behind the nasal cavity. Like lymph nodes, adenoids are part of the immune system and are made of the same type of tissue (lymphoid tissue). White blood cells circulate through the adenoids and other lymphoid tissue, reacting to foreign invaders in the body.

We all have adenoids at birth and in childhood, but as we head into adolescence they start to shrink. By adulthood, most people’s adenoids have disappeared.

Adenoids Conditions

  • Adnoiditis : Inflammation of the adenoids, often from infection. Bacteria or viruses may cause adenoiditis.
  • Enlarged adenoids: In children, the adenoids can get larger because of infection or reasons that are unclear. Very large adenoids can interfere with breathing or with the flow of mucus.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea : While sleeping, enlarged adenoids may intermittently block the flow of air through the throat. This can cause a person to stop breathing for a few seconds (known as apnea) and can occur several times each night.
  • Ear Infections (otitis): In children, enlarged adenoids may block the Eustachian tubes, which drain fluid from the ears into the throat. If these tubes are unable to drain, it can lead to repeated ear infections.

Adenoids Tests

  • Endoscopy: A small, flexible tube with a lighted camera on the end is inserted into the nose or throat. A doctor can view the nasal passages and adenoids on a video screen during endoscopy.
  • A CT scanner takes multiple X-rays, and a computer constructs detailed images of the sinuses, nasal cavities, and adenoids.
  •  An MRI scanner uses a high-powered magnet and a computer to create highly detailed images of the nasal passages, sinuses, and adenoids.
  •  An X-ray film taken from the side of a person’s face (lateral view) can sometimes show enlarged adenoids.

Pneumonia

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Pneumonia  is a lung infection that can make you very sick. You may cough, run a fever, and have a hard time breathing. For most people, pneumonia can be treated at home. It often clears up in 2 to 3 weeks. But older adults, babies, and people with other diseases can become very ill. They may need to be in the hospital.

You can get pneumonia in your daily life, such as at school or work. This is called community-associated pneumonia. You can also get it when you are in a hospital or nursing home. This is called healthcare-associated pneumonia. It may be more severe because you already are ill. This topic focuses on pneumonia you get in your daily life.

Germs called bacteria or viruses usually cause pneumonia.

Pneumonia usually starts when you breathe the germs into your lungs. You may be more likely to get the disease after having a cold or the flu. These illnesses make it hard for your lungs to fight infection, so it is easier to get pneumonia. Having a long-term, or chronic, disease likeasthma, heart disease, cancer, or diabts also makes you more likely to get pneumonia.

symptoms caused by bacteria usually come on quickly. They may include:

  • cough. You will likely cough up mucus (sputum) from your lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
  • Fever.
  • Fast breathing and feeling short of breath.
  • Shaking and “teeth-chattering” chills.
  • chest pain that often feels worse when you cough or breathe in.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Feeling very tired or very weak.
  • Nausea and Vomitting.
  • Diarrhoa.

When you have mild symptoms, your doctor may call this “walking pneumonia.”

Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms. They may not have a fever. Or they may have a cough but not bring up mucus. The main sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how well they think. Confusion or delireum is common. Or, if they already have alung disease, that disease may get worse.

Symptoms caused by viruses are the same as those caused by bacteria. But they may come on slowly and often are not as obvious or as bad.

Bronchitis

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What Is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is a respiratory disease in which the mucus membrane in the lungs’ bronchial passages becomes inflamed.

As the irritated membrane swells and grows thicker, it narrows or shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs, resulting in coughing spells that may be accompanied by phlegm and breathlessness.

The disease comes in two forms: acute (lasting from one to three weeks) and chronic (lasting at least 3 months of the year for two years in a row).

People with asthma may also have asthmatic bronchitis, inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes

Acute bronchitis may be responsible for the hacking cough and phlegm production that sometime accompany an upper respiratory infection. In most cases, the infection is viral in origin, but sometimes it’s caused by bacteria.

If you are otherwise in good health, the mucus membrane should return to normal after you’ve recovered from the initial lung infection, which usually lasts for several days.

chronic bronchitis is a serious long-term disorder that often requires regular medical treatment.

If you are a smoker and come down with acute bronchitis, it will be much harder for you to recover. Every cigarette damages the tiny hair-like structures in your lungs, called cilia, that are responsible for brushing out debris, irritants, and excess mucus.

If you continue smoing, the damage to these cilia prevent them from functioning properly, thus increasing your chances of developing chronic bronchitis. In some heavy smokers, the mucus membrane lining the airways stays inflamed and the cilia eventually stop functioning altogether. Clogged with mucus, the lungs are then vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections, which over time distort and permanently damage the lungs’ airways. This permanent condition is called COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Your doctor can perform a breathing test, called spirometry, to see if you have developed COPD.

Chronic bronchitis is one of two main types of a COPD. The other main form of COPD is emphysema. Both forms of COPD make it difficult to breathe.

Acute bronchitis is very common. The disorder often can be treated effectively without professional medical assistance. However, if you have severe or persistent symptoms or high fever, or if you cough up blood, you should see your doctor right away.

Seek emergency medical help if you have trouble brathing or have chestpain. If you suffer from chronic bronchitis, you are at risk for developing heart problems, as well as more serious lung disases and infections, so you should be monitored by a doctor.

 

What Causes Bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis is generally caused by lung infections, 90% of which are viral in origin. Repeated attacks of acute bronchitis, which weaken and irritate bronchial airways over time, can result in chronic bronchitis.

Industrial pollution is another culprit. Chronic bronchitis is found in higher-than-normal rates among coal miners, grain handlers, metal molders, and other people who are continually exposed to dust and fumes. But the chief cause is heavy, long-term cigarette smoking, which irritates the bronchial tubes and causes them to produce excess mucus. The symptoms of chronic bronchitis are also worsened by high concentrations of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants in the atmosphere.

Croup

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Croup

Croup is breathing difficulty and a “barking” cough. Croup is due to swelling around the vocal cords. It is common in infants and children.

Causes

Croup is most often caused by viruses, such as parainfluenza RSV, measles, adenovirus, and influenza. It tends to appear in children between 3 months and 5 years old, but it can happen at any age. Some children are more likely to get croup and may get it several times. It is most common between October and March, but can occur at any time of the year.

More severe cases of croup may be caused by bacteria. This condition is called bacterial tracheitis.

Croup may also be caused by:

  • Allergies
  • Breathing in something that irritates your airway
  • Acid reflux

Symptoms

The main symptom of croup is a cough that sounds like a seal barking.

Most children will have mild cold symptoms for several days before the barking cough becomes evident. As the cough gets more frequent, the child may have trouble breathing or stridor (a harsh, crowing noise made when breathing in).

Croup is typically much worse at night. It often lasts 5 or 6 nights. The first night or two are most often the worst. Rarely, croup can last for weeks. Talk to your child’s doctor if croup lasts longer than a week or comes back often.

Exams and Tests

Children with croup are most often diagnosed based on the parent’s description of the symptoms and a physical exam. Sometimes a doctor will listen to a child cough over the phone to identify croup. In a few cases, x-rays or other tests may be needed.

A physical exam may show chest retractions with breathing. When listening to the child’s chest through a stethoscope, the health care provider may hear:

  • Difficulty breathing in and out
  • wheezing
  • Decreased breath sounds

An exam of the throat may reveal a red epiglottis. A nck x ray may reveal a foreign object or narrowing of the trachea.

Prognosis

Croup is most often mild, but it can still be dangerous. It usually goes away in 3 to 7 days.

The tissue that covers the trachea (windpipe) is called the epiglottis. If the epiglottis becomes infected, the entire windpipe can swell shut. This is a life-threatening disease.

If an airway blockage is not treated promptly, the child can have severe trouble breathing or breathing may stop completely

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