Lung/Pulmonary

A breath of fresh air.
Lung/Pulmonary

Lung Conditions & Treatments

HealthEast Lung Center specializes in the treatment of:

 

Allergy and asthma

Seasonal allergies are mainly caused by trees, grass, weed pollens and some molds. If you sneeze and have a runny or stuffy nose during the spring, summer or fall, you may have an allergy. Other symptoms can include sneezing, itching, and red or watery eyes.

The goal of most treatments is to reduce the symptoms. A variety of medications and immunizations are available to treat your specific needs. You should see a board certified allergist for allergy testing or allergy shots. The best way to prevent allergies is to avoid the things that cause an allergic reaction.

Asthma is an ongoing respiratory disease that can be inconvenient, but is a manageable condition. If you have asthma, you are not alone. In the United States, asthma affects 14 to 15 million people. Asthma is the swelling of the airways or increased sensitivity of the airways.

The swelling can last for hours, days or weeks following an episode. Some long-term control medications can help prevent and reduce inflammation. Many people see their doctor for asthma care. If you have had a severe asthma episode, several visits to the hospital or emergency room, or a poor response to medicines, you and your provider may choose to been seen by a specialist such as an allergist or lung specialist (pulmonologist). Many treatments are available today that can help control asthma, including long term, quick-relief medications and alternative therapies.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (also known as COPD)

COPD is a progressive lung disease that affects millions of people each year. This class of diseases is relatively irreversible and limits the airflow in the lungs. The most familiar disease in this group is emphysema or chronic bronchitis, but many people suffer from both of these diagnoses. Some people with COPD may also have “asthma-like” symptoms, such as wheezing. Other symptoms include shortness of breath (dyspnea) with activity and chronic coughing. The cause for COPD in more than 95 percent of people in the United States is cigarette smoking.

Treatment includes avoiding infections, medication, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation or surgery.

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Environmental and occupational diseases

In the past few years evidence has emerged that United States military personnel who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan may be at increased risk for developing lung symptoms, and, in some cases, disabling chronic lung diseases. The causes of their lung disease remain unknown, but may be related to exposure to dangerous chemicals and inhalation of small fragments or substances in Southwest Asia. Symptoms can include shortness of breath with exercise, decreased exercise capacity, cough, mucus membrane and eye irritation.

Complete diagnostic testing should be done by your doctor to determine the best treatment.

Infectious disease

Bronchiectasis is a condition of the airways in the lungs. When a person has bronchiectasis, the airways are permanently and abnormally widened and inflamed. These damaged airways can no longer effectively clear mucous and bacteria from the lungs. Cough, sputum production and shortness of breath can occur.

Treatment can include improving the clearance of sputum, treatment of infection, improving muscle strength and possible surgery. Inhaled medication and antibiotics can also help.

Lung cancer

Lung tumors can be benign or cancerous. There are many causes and risk factors for lung cancer, including:

  • Smoking
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Exposure to radon gas (often in the home or mining work)
  • Exposure to asbestos and other substances (often at work)
  • History of lung cancer in your immediate family
  • Radiation therapy for another type of cancer - especially in the chest area
  • Over 65 years of age
 

Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination.

Lung nodule

A lung nodule is also called a spot on your lung (pulmonary nodule). It is usually round or oval in shape. They are easy to find but can be hard to diagnose. Nodules can be present in your body years before a doctor discovers them. Doctors find lung nodules on one out of every 500 chest x-rays. Most nodules are not cancerous. They are usually discovered on a chest x-ray or CT Scan. They need to be examined and watched closely by your doctor.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer where the tumor grows on the lining inside the body cavity, most often starting in the lining near the chest. It is known to be caused by breathing asbestos fibers. Your exposure could have occurred many years ago. Asbestos was a popular form of insulation at one time and was used in homes and buildings.

Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of the three.

Respiratory conditions

Respiratory infections including pneumonia happen in the lungs, chest, sinuses, nose and throat. Chronic infection means they occur repeatedly over time. Many respiratory infection germs can be passed from one person to another by breathing in respiratory droplets from a person coughing or sneezing, or by touching the nose, mouth or eyes after being in contact with someone with a respiratory infection. Symptoms include: shortness of breath, fatigue, mucus production, fever, sore throat, nasal discharge, bad breath or cough. Testing may be done to learn more.

Treatment is based on the symptoms and diagnosis. Examples could include: a nasal wash, good coughing techniques or medications including antibiotics. Smoke avoidance is important.

Sleep conditions

Excessive sleepiness becomes a problem when a person cannot stay awake and alert long enough to complete daily tasks. Excessive sleepiness is different from fatigue or physical tiredness. Excessive sleepiness may increase the risk of car, work or home accidents. It may also cause poor school or work performance. Memory problems and changes in behavior also can occur.

Common causes of excessive sleepiness and ways to manage them include:

  • Chronic Lack of Sleep
    It is important to get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep each night will help you maintain normal alertness and performance while awake. A person may allow plenty of time for sleep, but sleep time can be interrupted by sleep apnea, periodic limb movements, pets, children, body clock disturbances such as shift work or jet-lag. Try keeping the same schedule every day. Medications and natural supplements such as melatonin may help this.
  • Medications/Sedating Medicines
    Some medications may cause sleepiness as a side effect. Talk to your doctor about whether any of your medications could cause sleepiness. He or she may be able to find an alternative medication that is just as effective but less sedating.
  • Other conditions
    Narcolepsy and circadian rhythm sleep disorders are a couple of other disorders associated with sleepiness.
    • Narcolepsy occurs when there is a problem with the part of the brain that controls sleep and wakefulness. It may be managed with medication and scheduled naps.
    • Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are disturbances of your internal clock's rhythm and may be managed with light therapy and slow adjustments to a person's sleep schedule.

Vocal cord dysfunction

The vocal cords are located at the top of the windpipe and vibrate from exhaled air to produce noise and voice. Breathing causes the vocal cords to open, allowing air to flow through the windpipe (trachea) and into the lungs. With vocal cord dysfunction, the vocal cords close together, during breathing. This leaves only a small opening for air to flow through and causes asthma-like symptoms. Common triggers can include: upper respiratory infections, exposure to airborne irritants, post-nasal drip, “silent” reflux, strong odors or fumes, smoke, exercise and stress.

Once diagnosed, vocal cord dysfunction can be alleviated with medication, individualized exercises and other techniques.