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The 5 Most Common Respiratory Problems and Solutions

I can't breatheRespiratory conditions are some of the most common ailments around—which is all the more reason to learn about them and watch carefully for symptoms. They come in many different forms, affect young and old alike, and range from mild to severe.

Often times people allow respiratory conditions to worsen by not seeking help right away, often believing it to be a common cough or harmless cold. But respiratory conditions are very distinct, and require specific treatments in order to heal.

Here are 6 of the more common respiratory problems, along with some of the most common treatments.

1. Asthma

This chronic inflammatory condition of the air passages affects around 1 in 12 Americans, which is somewhere around 8% of the population. Causes vary from genetic to environmental or behavioral, and symptoms can be extremely severe and traumatic.

There are many types of asthma, and many treatments also. Inhaled medications that calm and smooth the air passages are among the most common. Certain oral or intravenous medications may be used to treat acute or long-term cases.

2. Laryngitis

This condition is often referred to as “losing one’s voice,” and involves inflammation of the larynx (vocal chords). A number of different things can cause Laryngitis, both viral and behavioral/traumatic in nature. Aside from losing the ability to speak, symptoms can include things like shortness of breath and trouble swallowing.

There are many different types/causes of Laryngitis, and treatments vary accordingly. Antibiotics and other strong medications are used in acute cases, whereas mild cases only need rest and fluids to heal.

3. Tonsillitis

This is an infection of the tonsils, either by a virus or by bacteria, that causes them to become inflamed. A specific bacteria called group A streptococcus is responsible for many cases of Tonsillitis, and these cases are known as strep throat. Symptoms can range from mild to very painful.

Fortunately, most cases on Tonsillitis will resolve on their own, even without treatment. However, treatment can alleviate symptoms and speed up recovery. Medications may be prescribed to relieve pain, stop inflammation, and reduce fever. In some cases, antibiotics are prescribed.

4. Bronchitis

When the bronchi (airways present in the lungs) become inflamed, the condition is called Bronchitis. A deep chest cough is the most common symptom, and the condition is usually viral in nature.

Usually, only the cough and fever will be treated with appropriate medications. Antibiotics are generally not used unless the condition is due to whooping cough.

5. Pneumonia

Like Bronchitis, Pneumonia is an infection of the lower respiratory tract. However, in the case of pneumonia, the infection affects the alveoli of the lungs and is generally much more serious in nature.

Treatment varies depending on the type and severity of Pneumonia present, but antibiotics are often used and are successful. Severe cases result in hospitalization. It bears mentioning that Pneumonia proves fatal for nearly 4 million Americans each year.

Don’t delay—get treatment!

If you or someone you love is experience symptoms that may indicate a respiratory condition listed above, it’s important to get him or her to urgent care, your primary physician, or the Emergency Room (in life-threatening situations) as soon as possible.

Getting treatment early could prevent the condition from becoming more severe, and allow your loved one to recover faster. Don’t take chances with respiratory problems—they are easily identifiable by qualified medical professionals, and can be treated effectively with modern medicine.

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