Respiratory diseases are one of the biggest killers each year in the UK, and with COVID-19 fresh in our minds it’s a hot topic.
What Are The Common Symptoms Of A Respiratory Disease That May Be Of Concern?
Although all respiratory diseases are different, and some more serious than others, they do tend to have similar symptoms in common. These include:
1. Trouble Breathing
While most people feel out of breath after exercise or running for the bus, those that struggle to breathe for apparently no reason are cause for extreme concern. Any patient presenting with chronic shortness of breath requires immediate examination.
2. A Cough That Won’t Go Away
This would be a cough that hasn’t gone away on its own after 2 to 3 weeks.
3. Noisy Breathing
Wheezing or noisy breathing could point to an obstruction in the airway. This tends to be due to inflammation or mucus, but again should be thoroughly investigated.
4. Lingering Chest Pain
Sudden and/or severe chest pain is a medical emergency and should be treated as such. However sometimes mild, benign chest pain can linger, making it difficult for patients to take a deep breath. This could point to a chest infection for instance.
5. Chronic Mucus
Mucus is your body’s natural defence against infection and other irritants. However, if a patient has been coughing up phlegm or feeling drainage in their chest for a month or more, this could be a sign of something more serious.
6. Coughing Up Blood
The blood that escapes in a cough may come from your lungs or respiratory tract. No matter the cause, coughing up blood is serious and you should see your doctor right away.
What Are The Most Common Respiratory Diseases?
Asthma is a chronic condition where the airways becoming inflamed so it’s hard to breathe. Usually asthma shows itself in childhood, although it can be diagnosed at any time. It’s also often exacerbated by allergies to pet hair or feathers, or a bout of hay fever.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is an umbrella term applying to a range of different respiratory diseases that cause difficulty breathing. This includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD can develop slowly but is often fatal without effective treatment. People who smoke have a higher risk of COPD.
This is where the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed, either due to a virus or a bacterial infection. Most people recover over time and with treatment, however pneumonia can be serious and even life-threatening particularly for the elderly.
Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer for both men and women. It can develop in any part of a patient’s lung and symptoms often don’t become apparent until the cancer is significantly advanced. Rapid diagnosis and treatment is therefore essential in achieving the best outcomes.
Are You A Healthcare Professional Who Regularly Sees Patients Presenting With Respiratory Difficulties?
If so, you may well find our two scheduled CPD courses Minor ailments online: respiratory conditions for the primary care practitioner and also Minor ailments online: ear and eye conditions for the primary care practitioner helpful.
Both courses are now being offered via Zoom and are held on the 7th October and the 23rd September respectively. Covering a variety of subjects from examination to diagnosis and treatment, they offer an excellent grounding in these subjects for nurses and allied health professionals in particular.
The course are each worth 4 hours of CPD and are completed over half a day. Sign up now to secure your place.