The seminar was devoted to respiratory problems, their varieties, causes, common patient complaints, and their management. The main complaints characteristic of respiratory diseases include cough, dyspnea, and hemoptysis (Dunphy et al., 2019). Cough occurs as a defensive reaction when mucus accumulates in the larynx, trachea, bronchi, or when a foreign body gets there. With various diseases of the respiratory system, shortness of breath or dyspnea can have a different origin: pulmonary, cardiac, hematological, or psychogenic (Dunphy et al., 2019). Hemoptysis is the discharge of blood with phlegm during coughing. This symptom can appear both in diseases of the respiratory system and in diseases of the cardiovascular system. Hemoptysis can be related to pulmonary tuberculosis, viral pneumonia, bronchitis, or bronchiectasis.
In the seminar, we also discussed chronic respiratory problems, such as sleep apnea, characterized by frequent cessation of breathing while sleeping. This disease is diagnosed with the help of the Stanford Sleepiness Score, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, sleep latency test, and polysomnogram (Dunphy et al., 2019). Obstructive sleep apnea is not a life-threatening condition, but it can cause serious problems such as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. One of the forms of treatment is a device that maintains airway patency.
An acute respiratory viral infection is a collective term that includes several diseases, mainly of the upper respiratory tract, caused by a viral pathogen. The most common variants of lower respiratory tract infections are acute bronchitis, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, pneumonia, and interstitial lung disease. The most common treatments for infectious respiratory disorders are antibiotics and antivirals. If an infection is found, a chest x-ray and leukocyte count should be done to check for pneumonia (Dunphy et al., 2019). Tuberculosis is also a respiratory disorder caused by mycobacterial infection, often with a latency period after the initial infection. Symptoms include cough, fever, weight loss, and malaise. Diagnosis is most often based on sputum and bacterial culture test results, and treatment is carried out with antibacterial drugs.
Asthma is an inflammatory chronic disease that is most often manifested by periodic attacks of shortness of breath and wheezing. The frequency and severity of these symptoms can vary, for example, the interval between attacks can range from one hour to one day. Bronchial asthma can affect people of all ages, but most often children and young people. The most common causes of this disease are allergens, infections, and psychological factors (Dunphy et al., 2019). Factors that contribute to the development of bronchial asthma are often household allergens, such as dust, pets, wool, feathers, and household chemicals. It is considered an incurable disease; however, patients can monitor the course of the disease and the symptoms.
Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of various respiratory problems, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a condition in which a build-up of purulent mucus in the lungs causes a painful cough and difficulty in breathing. The risk of developing this illness is especially high among young people who start smoking because tobacco smoke significantly slows down lung development (Dunphy et al., 2019). Tobacco also aggravates asthma, so quitting smoking as soon as possible is the most effective way to slow the progression of respiratory diseases.
Tobacco smoking is also known as the leading cause of lung cancer. The first step in the diagnosis of lung cancer is a chest x-ray or a computed tomography with contrast. One of the most progressive methods of diagnosing lung tumors is video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (Dunphy et al., 2019). The doctor chooses a treatment program for lung tumors depending on the form and stage of the disease. The three main ways to fight cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
To sum up, respiratory diseases involve the organs of respiratory system, especially the nasal passages, bronchi, and lungs. They vary from viral infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, or tuberculosis to chronic illnesses such as obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. Viral infections often affect the upper or lower respiratory tract causing various problems. Usually, antibiotics are used to treat acute respiratory problems, as well as antiviral therapy and other approaches depending on the severity and kind of the disease.
Dunphy, L., Winland-Brown, J., Porter, B., & Thomas, D. (2019). Primary care: The art and science of advanced practice nursing—An interprofessional approach. FA Davis.