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What are the Different Types of Respiratory Conditions?

Respiratory conditions are chronic or acute health issues that affect the lungs and the respiratory system. Many respiratory conditions are treatable, but can also be persistent health problems with a wide variety of causes and aggravating factors. Any illness that affects breathing or the lungs can be referred to as a respiratory condition.

The respiratory system is made up of several organs in the body that help process oxygen and carbon dioxide. The most vital parts of the system are the lungs, trachea, throat, nasal cavity, and bronchial tubes. Irritation or deterioration of any of these areas can lead to respiratory conditions, which may be temporary or long-lasting health issues.

The common cold is one of the most basic respiratory conditions that can impact oxygen intake. Inflammation of the tissues in the nose and throat due to a viral or bacterial infection, along with increased phlegm production, can inhibit breathing and lead to symptoms such as a stuffy nose or cough. In some cases, the tissue of the lungs can also become inflamed, leading to a condition known as bronchitis. Symptoms of bronchitis include a chest cough, low fever, wheezing, and yellow or green mucus.

Although colds and even bronchitis typically clear up after 7-14 days, people with these mild respiratory conditions should be monitored carefully for signs of a more serious condition, such as pneumonia. This severe infection of the lungs is characterized by symptoms such as chest pain, severe fatigue, difficulty breathing, consistent coughing, and falling blood pressure. Pneumonia can be fatal in some cases, and care should be taken to seek medical treatment if common cold symptoms persist or severely worsen.

Chronic respiratory conditions are persistent or recurring illnesses that affect the lungs and breathing system. These may be caused by a variety of factors, such as severe allergies, exposure to pollution, smoking, or a weaker than usual immune system. These illnesses include asthma, chronic obstructed pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary hypertension. Many of these conditions can be treated with medication and drug therapies to reduce symptoms and inflammation, but can rarely be cured.

In some cases, respiratory conditions can prove fatal. Lung cancers, which are often caused by smoking or overexposure to pulmonary irritants, are notoriously difficult to treat. Respiratory conditions caused by chronic exposure to pollutants, such as asbestos, are sometimes incurable. Although exposure to chemicals and pollutants cannot always be avoided, many health experts suggest that the best way to avoid acute or chronic respiratory problems is to avoid any type of smoking.

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