The lungs are essential organs within the respiratory system that help you breathe by taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Lung cancer is one of the most common and deadliest types of cancer, killing more people each year than colon, prostate, ovarian, lymph and breast cancer combined.
Most cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking, which may include secondhand smoking as well. In some cases, people who have never smoked or had prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke may develop lung cancer as a result of excessive alcohol use, certain lung diseases or a family history of lung cancer.
Patients with lung cancer may not experience any symptoms during the early stages, which can make diagnosis difficult. As the disease progresses, patients may experience:
- Chronic cough
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Unexpected weight loss
Treatment for lung cancer depends on the severity of the condition and the overall health of the patient, but may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or medication. A combination of treatments may be used in order to achieve the most effective results for each individual patient. Some patients may not need any treatment other than monitoring the disease, or may choose not to undergo certain treatments because of the associated side effects.
Your doctor will help you decide which treatment is best for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition, as well as your medical history and overall health.
Pneumonia is a common disease that affects thousands of Americans each year and may be fatal in children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems. Pneumonia is an infection caused by a virus, bacteria or fungus and can mild or very severe.
Symptoms of pneumonia can vary depending on the cause of the disease. They may be similar to symptoms of a cold or the flu, and can include:
- High fever
- Chest pain
- Cough that produces mucus
Treatment of pneumonia also depends on the cause but can include rest, antibiotics or antifungal medication. It is important to see a doctor and receive proper treatment for pneumonia in order to prevent complication and the spread of the disease to others.
Sleep Disordered Breathing
Sleep disorders are common conditions that involve difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up. Sleep disorders may develop as a result of changes in the brain regions and neurotransmitters, stress, anxiety, depression, poor sleep habits or many other possible causes. By not getting sufficient sleep at night, many people are affected during the day and may have difficulty completing their everyday activities.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea - These conditions involve breathing irregularities while sleeping, which can result in loud noises, blocked airways and interrupting sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a common but life-threatening bacterial infection of the lungs. It occurs more frequently in older adults who most likely acquired the infection during a time when the condition was even more common. Tuberculosis now affects about one-third of the human population and kills almost 2 million people each year.
Like other bacterial infections, tuberculosis spreads through moisture from an infected person's coughing, talking or sneezing. But unlike most other infections, most people infected with tuberculosis do not suffer from any symptoms of the disease as the infected cells can remain dormant for many years. Only about 5 to 10 percent of infected people have cells that multiply and cause sickness.
Certain people may be at a higher risk of acquiring tuberculosis. Risk factors for this disease include a lowered immunity, prolonged contact with an infected person, your nationality, your age, or a number of other factors.
An active tuberculosis infection causes symptoms and becomes contagious two to eight weeks after infection. A long term cough is the most common symptom of tuberculosis, but others can include:
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath
Tuberculosis can affect nearly any part of the body, including the joints, bones, urinary tract, muscles and nervous system.
Doctors usually perform a skin test called the Mantoux test to diagnose tuberculosis. This test can detect an infection before symptoms are present. A chest X-ray or urine sample can confirm the diagnosis.
TB is usually treated through medication that may be needed for 6 to 12 months. Preventive drug therapy may be used for infections that are not yet active. Active cases may require a variety of daily medications. Since the TB bacteria grow so slowly, the long treatment must be completed in order to successfully treat the disease. Treatment may be different for people with drug-resistant infections or those who have HIV or AIDS.
To learn more about our Pulmonology Services, please contact us at (310) 657-3792 today to schedule an appointment.