There are a number of reasons and symptoms which can be cause for concern when it comes to pulmonary health and health concerns. Even a simple cough or shortness of breath, when experienced chronically, can be indicative of a more serious problem worthy of being addressed. Some of the symptoms to look for are:
Coughing is characterized into three categories. Acute (in which the cough lasts less than a few weeks), sub-acute (in which the cough lasts greater than a few weeks), and chronic (in which it lasts beyond nine weeks). While the first or second may indicate a mild or seasonal illness, chronic cough can be both harmful by itself as well as indicative of a greater issue at hand. Coughing can be triggered by many things including air pollution, asthma, sinus drainage, and in more serious cases, lung cancer.
Narcolepsy is a severe neurological disorder in which the brain has difficulty regulating sleep and wake cycles for the person experiencing the condition. The symptoms of narcolepsy are typically extreme grogginess and tiredness that is experienced chronically on a day to day basis. Those who suffer from narcolepsy experience the sleepiness of a normal person who has been sleep deprived for 24-48 hours and often times have difficulty stopping themselves from falling asleep.
RLS is a neurological disorder in which the patient has an irresistible urge to move their legs to stop odd feeling sensations. These sensations range from tingly numbness to aches and pains. Moving the body part effected (normally legs but it has been known to occur in arms and the torso as well) provides temporary relief from said uncomfortable sensations. It most commonly occurs during “restful wakefulness” such as reading a book before bed or shortly after turning out the light to go to sleep.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which the ability to fall asleep or stay asleep as long as desired is greatly hindered. Insomnia can last for as short as a few days to as long as a few weeks. For practical purposes, insomnia is normally diagnosed by a doctor whose patient responds in the affirmative to one or both of the questions “Do you have trouble falling asleep?” and “Do you have trouble staying asleep.” The loss of sleep increases overall stress on the body and has been known to increase chance of heart disease as well as automobile accidents.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a condition which is mostly caused by genetics. The symptoms are similar to that of asthma but are not successfully treated by asthma treating products. The condition can also lead adults who have little or no exposure to smoking to develop emphysema.
Pulmonary Hypertension is a drastic increase of blood pressure in the blood vessels (arteries and veins) within the lungs. This increase pressure can cause shortness of breath, fainting, and even death in the most severe cases. The increased blood pressure leaves the vessels in the lungs so swollen that it becomes difficult for the lungs to expand and deflate properly resulting in oxygen loss for the victim.
Cystic fibrosis is a condition, which affects mostly the lungs but has been known to affect the pancreas and other internal organs. Symptoms include chronic sinus and lung infections, poor growth and weight gain despite normal diet, and clubbing of the toes and fingers. There is no known cure for Cystic fibrosis, however, the bacterial infections that plague victims can usually be treated with relative ease when the correct antibiotics are applied.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is the buildup of scar tissue on the lungs. The resulting scar tissue is far less effective, if at all, at absorbing and distributing oxygen to the blood of the person suffering from the condition. This lowered effectiveness results in perpetual shortness of breath, especially when exerting one’s self. Other symptoms can include a hacking dry cough and wheezing. Currently there is no known effective cure for Pulmonary Fibrosis and though at times the cause of why the scar tissue builds up (like in the case of an accident) is evident, there have been cases where the scar tissue begins to build on the lungs more suddenly.
Asthma is characterized as chronic inflammation of the air ways which results in shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. The cause of Asthma is not fully understood but it is certain that genetic and environmental factors play a roll. Asthma is also characterized by the fast acting response and thereby associated with it whether it is a continuous oral supplement or the more recognizable inhaler.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease is characterized by chronically low airflow in the lungs. This results in shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, and sputum (phlegm from the lower airways) production. Most people diagnosed with chronic bronchitis also have COPD. Smoking is the primary cause of COPD in people with variables such as work hazard, air quality/pollution, and genetics also contributing to a smaller degree.
The effects of snoring can have ramifications that go far beyond the simple disturbing of a partner at night. There are a number of causes for snoring to happen including the relaxation of the neck muscles during sleep and the miss positioning of the jaw and associated muscles during sleep. The resulting partial blockage of the airway in the throat can sometimes be the first indication of what may eventually become a more serious sleep apnea. The less successful intake of oxygen also causes a less restful sleep as well as drowsiness and irritability upon waking up.
A nodule is described as a mass with a diameter of less than 3 cm which is surrounded by healthy functioning lung tissue. These nodules are most commonly forms of benign cancers which can either be removed or monitored relatively safely. However, around 10-20% of these nodules go on to be identified as malignant cancer. The percent increases for the elderly, overweight, and smokers.
Apnea, simply put, is the cessation of movement in the muscles that expand and deflate the lungs. Apnea can be induced in a number of ways including chemically (through anesthetics), mechanically (through choking), and psychologically as is the case when crying or laughing for extended periods. It is most commonly known for its use in the condition “Sleep Apnea” where the patient, though asleep, suffers bouts of 20-30 minute periods where the time between breaths can be delayed as long as 30 to 60 seconds.
More commonly known as simply “coughing up blood” hemoptysis is a condition often indicative of some sort of infection of damage to the lungs. This condition can range from blood spatter being expelled while coughing to blood laced mucus bring expelled while coughing. However, in the case where blood laced mucus is being expelled from the body, Hemoptysis can sometimes be misidentified as a lung problem when it is, in fact, a sinus problem/infection which has caused said blood laced mucus to drip into the throat causing irritation and cough.
Chest pain is a symptom often associated with some of the most serious of conditions such as heart attack or stroke. However, it can also be indicative of many pulmonary and respiratory problems. If the origin of the chest pain is ruled to be non-cardiac, and thus not life threatening, it can many times be attributed to pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, or a number of other respiratory diseases.
Shortness of breath or “Dyspnea” is, as the name implies, the feeling associated with having difficulty breathing or not being able to catch one’s breath. Shortness of breath is very often associated with diseases like Asthma as well as COPD and should not be taken lightly especially when a patient suffers from Shortness of breath chronically.
Shift-Work Sleep Disorder is a condition which normally affects people who find themselves having to work during times that are more normally used for sleeping so-calledd ‘graveyard shifts’). In addition to having increased grogginess and insomnia, those who experience SWSD also have difficulty falling asleep during the times they have set aside to sleep during, despite making the environment very sleep friendly.