Asthma

Asthma is a chronic, or life long, disease that can be serious – even life threatening.  There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed so you can live a normal, healthy life. The good news is that asthma is manageable and treatable.

The more you can learn about asthma, the better you and your loved ones can manage living with this disease, making the most of every day, and maintaining the quality of life that is important to you.

Symptoms of Asthma

·         Wheezing. You may notice a wheezing sound when you breathe. Sometimes this happens only when you exercise or have a cold.

·         Frequent Cough. This may be more common at night.  You may or may not cough up mucus.

·        Shortness of Breath. This is the feeling you can't get enough air into your lungs. It may occur only once in a while, or often.

·        Chest Tightness.  Your chest may feel tight, especially during cold weather or exercise. This can also be the first sign of a flare-up.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.  The sooner you begin treating your asthma and maintaining control, the less damage you will cause to your lungs in the long run. There are many resources available for people living with asthma and their loved ones.

COPD

COPD, also known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is a very serious disease, and the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is that COPD is often preventable and treatable.

If you or a loved one has COPD, there are steps to take to help cope with the lifestyle changes this disease brings.  Knowing about COPD and its treatment can help you feel more in control.  

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a malignant tumor in the lungs. This means that the abnormal cells of the tumor grow without order or control. They destroy the healthy lung tissue around them.

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is a malignant tumor in the lungs.  This means that the abnormal cells of the tumor grow without order or control.  They destroy the healthy lung tissue around them.  Lung cancer can spread to other parts of the body.  Sometimes other types of cancer can spread to the lungs.  This type of tumor is not lung cancer. 

There are two major types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.  Non-small cell lung cancer is the more common.  It makes up about 80 percent of lung cancer cases.  This type of cancer usually grows and spreads to other parts of the body more slowly than small cell lung cancer does.

Why is Lung Cancer so Serious?

One reason lung cancer is such a killer is that it is hard to detect in its early stages.  It may take years for the lung cancer to grow, and early on there are usually no symptoms.  By the time the patient starts to notice symptoms, the cancer is often advanced.  Researchers are working hard to develop tests that can detect lung cancer in its early stages, when it can be treated more successfully.  Researchers are also seeking new treatments to increase the survival time and even cure lung cancer.

Warning Signs of Lung Disease


If you have any of these warning signs or symptoms, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Chronic Cough - A cough that you have had for a month is chronic.  This is an important early symptom.  It tells you something is wrong with your respiratory system.


Shortness of Breath -
Shortness of breath that doesn’t go away after exercising, or that you have after little or no exertion, is not normal. Labored or difficult breathing – the feeling that it is hard to breathe in or breathe out - is also a warning sign.


Chronic Mucus Production -
Mucus, also called sputum or phlegm, is produced by the airways. It is a defense response to infections or irritants. If your mucus production has lasted a month, this could indicate lung disease.


Wheezing -
Noisy breathing or wheezing is a sign that something unusual is blocking your lungs’ airways or making them too narrow.


Coughing up Blood -
If you are coughing up blood, the blood may be coming from your lungs or upper respiratory tract. Whatever the source of the blood, it is a sign of a health problem.


Chronic Chest Pain –
Unexplained chest pain that lasts for a month or more – especially if it gets worse when you breathe in or cough – can also be a warning sign.