Respiratory Disease

Respiratory diseases are the diseases of the respiratory system which include the pleural cavity, lung, trachea, bronchial tubes, upper respiratory tract and the muscles and nerves for breathing. A respiratory disease can be mild or self-limiting like common colds or it can be life-threatening such as pulmonary embolism or bacterial pneumonia. They are the common cause of illness and deaths. Pulmonology is the study of respiratory diseases and the doctor who specializes in respiratory diseases is called a pulmonologist.

Types of Respiratory Diseases

Classification of respiratory diseases varies depending on the organ involved, the cause of disease and symptom patterns. It is advised to always be careful with foods because some can cause allergic reactions and provoke breathing difficulties. Fatty fishes, sea prawns, arrow root, raddish, moong dhal, peanuts, ladys finger, water content spinach, bananas, grapes, curds, berries, pomegranates, ice creams, custard apples, etc. Bad weather conditions may also trigger some respiratory diseases.

· Inflammatory Lung Disease

Respiratory DiseaseIt is characterized by a high neutrophil count which is also seen in cystic fibrosis, asthma, COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

· Obstructive Lung Diseases

Obstructive lung disease is defined as narrowing of the bronchial tubes making it difficult for the air to move in and out of the lungs

· COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Asthma

They are examples of obstructive lung disease where in the air ways are narrowed.

· Restrictive Lung Disease

Also called as interstitial lung disease, is characterized by a loss of lung compliance which causes incomplete lung expansion and increases the stiffness in the lung. An example is Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

· Respiratory Tract Infections

It is an infection affecting any part of the respiratory tract and is divided into upper and lower respiratory tract.

Common colds are the most common condition associated with upper respiratory tract infection. Tonsillitis, sinusitis, pharyngitis, otitis media and laryngitis are also considered as upper respiratory tract infections.

Pneumonia is the most common condition associated with lower respiratory tract infection. It is caused by bacteria, Streptococcus Pneumoniae. In severe cases, it can develop into lung abcess and can spread to the pleural cavity.

· Respiratory Tumors such as malignant and benign tumors are the cancers in the lungs.

Diagnostic Tests

To determine the kind of respiratory disease a person is experiencing, the following diagnostic tests are done.

· Pulmonary function test

· Chest x-ray

· CT scan

· Sputum culture to detect certain microorganisms

· Lung pleura biopsy

· Bronchoscopy

· Ventilation – perfusion scan

· Ultrasound scanning to detect pleural effusion


The treatment depends on the kind of disease presented and its severity.

· Medications that are often inhaled:

· Bronchodilators

· Corticosteroids

· Anticoagulants

· Antibiotics

· Cancer chemotherapy

· Immune suppressants

· Oxygen

· Physiotherapy

· Liquid ventilation

· Mechanical ventilation

· Surfactant replacement therapy

· Radiotherapy

· Surgery

· Pneumonectomy and lobectomy for cancer removal

· Pleurodesis

· Lung transplantation

· Lung volume reduction surgery

· Artificial lung

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Other Infectious and Communicable Diseases


Poliomyelitis is caused by enterovirus. The incubation period is 7 to 14 days. The communicability period is not exactly known. The virus is present in the throat and feces shortly after the infection and persists for about 1 week in the throat and 4 to 6 weeks in the feces.

The sources of infection are the oropharyngeal secretions and feces of the infected person. Transmission is through direct contact with infected person, fecal-oral and oropharyngeal routes.

The signs and symptoms include abdominal pain followed by soreness and stiffness on the trunk, neck, and limb that progress to flaccid paralysis.

Scarlet Fever

Scarlet FeverThe causative agent of Scarlet fever is group-A beta-hemolytic streptococci. The incubation period is between 1 to 7 days. The communicability period is during the incubation period and clinical illness, about 10 days and during the first 2 weeks of the carrier stage, although it may persist for months.

The sources of infection are nasopharyngeal secretions of infected person and carriers.

The transmission is through direct contact with infected person or droplet spread, indirectly by contact with contaminated articles, and ingestion of contaminated milk or other foods.

The signs and symptoms include abrupt high fever, vomiting, headache, malaise and abdominal pain. Red, fine papular rash develops in the axilla, groin, and neck that spread to cover the entire body. The rash blanches with pressure except in areas of deep creases and folds of the joints called as Pastia’s sign. The tongue is coated and papillae become red and swollen like a white strawberry tongue. By the fourth to fifth day, the white coat sloughs off, leaving prominent papillae or called as red strawberry tongue. The tonsils are edematous or swollen and covered with gray-white exudates. Pharynx is edematous and beefy red.

Infectious Mononucleosis (Kissing Disease)

The kissing disease is caused by Epstein-Barr virus. The incubation period is 4 to 6 weeks. The communicability period is unknown. The virus is shed before the onset of the disease until 6 months or longer after recovery.

The source of infection is the oral secretions. It is transmitted through direct intimate contact or infected blood.

The signs and symptoms include fever, sore throat, malaise, headache, fatigue, nausea and abdominal pain. Lymphadenopathy and hepatosplenomegaly are also present.

Enterobiasis (Pinworm)

The causative agent is Enterobius vernicularis. The sources of infection are the nematodes which is universally present in temperate climatic zones. The eggs are ingested or inhaled since the eggs float in the air, hatches in the upper intestine, mature in 2 to 8 weeks, and migrate to the cecal area. The females then mate, migrate out the anus and lay eggs.

Transmission is favoured in crowded conditions, ingestion of inhalation of eggs, hands to mouth or fecal-oral route and contaminated items. Pinworm eggs persist in the environment for 2 to 3 weeks.

The signs and symptoms include intense peri-anal itching, irritability, restlessness, poor sleep, bed-wetting, distractibility and short attention span. In females, the worm may migrate to the vagina and urethra and cause infection.

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Liver Disease

Liver disease is a condition, infection or disease affecting the tissues, cells, functions and structure of the liver. If the liver is infected or inflamed, the ability to perform its function is impaired. Liver diseases and infections are caused by variety of conditions such as virus, bacteria, and physical or chemical changes in one’s body. Malnutrition is common cause of liver disease accompanied with alcoholism.

Signs and Symptoms

Liver disease symptoms can be acute or chronic. Chronic liver disease is more common than acute. Liver disease in men is two times common than in women. It can range from mild to severe depending on the type of the disease.

Liver Disease· Yellowing of the skin or jaundice

· Nausea

· Dark urine

· Loss of appetite

· Unusual weight gain or weight loss

· Diarrhea and vomiting

· Light-colored stools

· Upper right stomach abdominal pain

· Malaise and fatigue

· Itching that is generalized

· Varicose veins

· Low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia

· Low grade fever

· Muscle pain

· Sex drive loss

· Depression


· Congenital birth defects

· Metabolic disorders

· Bacterial or viral infections

· Poisoning by toxins or alcohol

· Medications that are toxic to liver

· Nutritional deficiencies

· Injury or trauma

Some Liver Diseases in Children:

Galactosemiais a disease which is inherited where in the body cannot tolerate some sugars in milk. The sugars build up causing serious liver damage and to some parts of the body.

Allagile’s Syndromeis a condition where in the bile ducts deteriorates and narrows which is common in the early years or first year of life.

Neonatal Hepatitisis a hepatitis that occurs in newborns in the first months of life.

Hemorrhagic Telangiectasiais a condition where in the blood vessels allows easy and frequent bleeding of the digestive tract and skin.

Liver Diseases in Adults:

Liver Cirrhosisis a serious disease which causes the cells and tissues of the liver to be replaced with a scar tissue.

Glycogen Storage Disease Type 1causes blood sugar control problems when a person is fasting.

Porphyriais a condition where in the use of body for porphyrins is disrupted.


A healthcare professional determines an existing liver disease through the symptoms, physical exam and medical history. An enlarged liver or hepatomegaly is commonly found upon examination.

Other diagnostic tests include:

· Liver function test is a blood test that checks the liver enzymes and by products of the liver.

· CBC or complete blood count for blood analysis

· Abdominal x-rays

· Ultrasound for visualization of body organs and if masses are present

· Upper gastrointestinal tract study for detection of esophagus abnormality caused by a liver disease

· Liver scans for visualization of liver structure

· Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography or ERCP is a visualization of structures around the liver through the use of an endoscope.

· Abdominal CT scan or MRI provides liver information, its structure and function.

Treatment to prevent further disease or infection

Treatment includes bed rest, drinking a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration, avoiding unnecessary medications, avoiding of alcohol, eating a balance diet and taking prescribe medications as needed.

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Communicable and Infectious Diseases

Rubeola (Measles)

The causative agent is a virus. The incubation period is between 10 to 20 days. The communicability period is from four days before to 5 days after the rash appears.

It is transmitted through respiratory tract secretions, blood and urine of infected person. It is airborne or direct contact with the infectious droplet.

Signs and symptoms include fever, malaise, coryza and cough. The rash appears as red, discrete maculopapules that blanch easily with pressure and gradually turn a brownish color lasting for 6 to 7 days. The rash begins behind the ears and spreads downward to the feet.

Rubella (German Measles)

Communicable and Infectious DiseasesThe causative agent of German measles is rubella virus. The incubation period is between 14 to 21 days. The communicability period is 7 days before to about 5 days after the rash appears.

It is transmitted through nasopharyngeal secretions. The virus is also present in blood, stool, and urine. The mode of transmission is by airborne or direct contact with infectious droplets. It can also be transmitted via indirect contamination by articles freshly contaminated with nasopharyngeal secretions, feces, or urine.

The signs and symptoms include low grade fever, malaise, pinkish red maculopapular rash that begins on the face and spreads to the entire body. Petechial spots may occur on the soft palate.


The causative agent of mumps is paramyxovirus. The incubation period is 14 to 21 days. The communicability period is immediately before and after the swelling begins. The source of infection is the saliva of infected person and possibly urine.

It is transmitted through direct contact with infected person and droplet spread from infected person.

Signs and symptoms include fever, headache, malaise, anorexia, and earache aggravated by chewing, followed by parotid glandular swelling.

Chickenpox (Varicella)

The causative agent of chicken pox is varicella-zoster virus. The incubation period is between 13 to 17 days. The communicability period is 1 to 2 days before the onset of the rash to 6 days after the first crop of vesicles, when crusts have formed. The source of infection is respiratory tract secretions of infected person or skin lesions.

It is transmitted through direct contact, droplet or airborne spread and contaminated objects.

The signs and symptoms include slight fever, malaise, and anorexia followed by a macular rash that first appears on the trunk and scalp and moves to the extremities. The lesions become pustules, begin to dry and develop a crust. The lesions may appear on the mucous membranes of the mouth, the genital area and the rectal area.


Diphtheria is caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria. The incubation period is between 2 to 5 days. The communicability period depends until virulent bacilli are no longer present usually 2 weeks but it can be as long as 4 weeks. The source of infection is the discharges from the mucous membrane of the nose and nasopharynx, skin, and other lesions of the infected person.

the transmission is through direct contact with infected person, a carrier or contaminated articles.

The signs and symptoms are low grade fever, malaise, sore throat, foul-smelling, mucopurulent nasal discharge, gray membrane on the tonsils and pharynx and lymphadenitis.

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