The respiratory system, through which air enters the body, is prone to disorders, and most of them are infections. Micro-organisms thrive in the air around us and can gain easy access to the system through the air that we inhale. Therefore, respiratory issues are very common, but also not always a cause for concern. Most respiratory disorders would have common symptoms including coughing, chest pain, sputum production with varying features, shortness of breath, wheezing, etc.
Read on to know the symptoms of common respiratory disorders, so you are equipped to handle them.
- Asthma: Asthma is one of the most common respiratory issues. The trigger could be extreme cold, excessive pollen in the air, stress, etc.
- Common cold: This is a common disorder of the upper respiratory tract. This could be due to allergy or infection. There is difficulty breathing, labored breathing, runny nose, and extreme lethargy. The throat is also sore and there is a scratchy, itchy feeling at the back of the throat.
- Bronchitis: The bronchi are the further branches through which air flows, and these when inflamed cause bronchitis. Often caused as an infection, this produces a cough that can throw up a lot of sputum.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: This often occurs with ageing and also due to smoking. This produces chronic coughing, difficulty to throw out air easily without effort. There could also be phlegm, which can be colorless (unlike an infection)
- Tuberculosis: This is a bacterial infection of the lung tissue, and there is shortness of breath, a cough which persists for more than 5 weeks, and greenish-yellowish sputum. The person also would have very low energy levels, and sometimes blood in the sputum too.
- Pneumonia: Pneumonia again is an infection of the lung and can be caused by bacteria or virus. This again causes chest pain, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and greenish sputum.
- Lung cancer: With smoking and environmental pollution on the rise, the instances of lung cancer have also been on the rise. This is usually diagnosed in the later stages as the symptoms are confused with any common respiratory disorders and ignored. Chest pain, chronic cough, difficulty breathing, and voice changes are some common symptoms of cancer.
- Emphysema: Caused predominantly by smoking, this causes breathing difficulties and reduces the amount of air available for exchange in the lungs. There is no cure, but quitting smoking can reduce the severity of the condition.
Know that prolonged problems with respiratory tract require further investigation and should not be ignored as just another attack of cold and cough.