Breathlessness

br1If breathing problems and breathlessness occur with sputum or a fever, you might have a simple upper or lower respiratory tract infection see more, in which case in one or two weeks when the infection clears up your symptoms will most likely return to normal. If breathlessness occurs with chest pain, wheezing, coughing up blood or limits simple activities you may have a more serious or chronic problem that requires medical attention.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the name given to conditions where you find it difficult to breathe in and out due to long term damage to your lungs. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, usually due to exposure to smoke from tobacco or open fires. Treatments can help manage symptoms but unfortunately don’t offer a cure.

Long term lung damage occurs in response to harmful substances and usually starts with inflammation. If this continues, the walls of the airways become thicker, which narrows the airways, and breathing becomes harder. In chronic bronchitis, the inflammation results in excess production of mucus and phlegm that blocks your airways and makes you cough.

In emphysema, the damage also affects the air sacs, which lose their elasticity. This makes it difficult for air to get in and out of your lungs. With fewer air sacs working properly, taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide is limited, making you breathe harder – and if you can’t get enough oxygen, you feel tired and less able to carry out everyday activities.

Staff at the South West Sleep Clinic are trained and experienced in dealing with all kinds of respiratory problems, including assessment for symptoms such as cough, breathlessness, chest pain, sputum and specific diseases like COPD, asthma, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema and lung infections such as bronchitis, or pneumonia.

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