Lung disease is the number three killer in the U.S., causing one in seven deaths, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). Breathing problems and allergies are increasingly common among children in the U.S., including asthma and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Respiratory conditions include a wide range of problems, from flu to bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to lung cancer.
Mercy's Lung Center offers a number of services for the effective detection, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of lung conditions.
Asthma is a disease in which the airways become narrowed and blocked, causing shortness of breath, breathing trouble and other symptoms. Severe asthma may require emergency treatment to restore normal breathing. Environmental triggers - such as cold air, some viral infections, tobacco smoke, exercise and allergens (things that cause allergies) - can cause an asthma episode. Weather changes and irritants in the environment like smog, aerosol sprays, perfumes, and paint fumes can be problematic for asthmatics. Treatment must be tailored to the individual.
Asthma – Bronchial Thermoplasty Procedure
Mercy Pulmonology Clinic is now offering a new non-drug, outpatient procedure called Bronchial Thermoplasty, which has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists. Bronchial thermoplasty is a treatment option that can provide additional benefits to standard asthma medications. In clinical studies, bronchial thermoplasty has been shown to improve asthma related quality of life and provide long-lasting asthma control, including:
- Reduced asthma attacks
- Decreased visits to the emergency room and hospital for respiratory symptoms
- Less time lost from work, school and other daily activities due to asthma
Learn more about bronchial thermoplasty.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a group of diseases that limit the flow of air into and out of the lungs. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, most often caused by heavy, long-time cigarette smoking. COPD also includes chronic asthma.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing repeatedly during sleep because the airway collapses, preventing air from getting into the lungs. Causes can be extra tissue (such as large tonsils) in the back of the airway; the tongue falling back and blocking the airway; or decreased tone of the muscles holding the airway open. Sleep apnea is common as adult asthma. Most people who snore excessively have some form of sleep apnea. Severe sleep apnea can deplete the level of oxygen in the blood, heightening the risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks or strokes. Symptoms include snoring, interrupted by periods of silence or pauses in breathing; gasping or choking during sleep; excessive movements during sleep; morning headaches; extreme sleepiness or fatigue during the day.
Lung Nodules & Lung Cancer
Lung nodules are a small mass of tissue in the lung. They appear as round, white shadows on a chest X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan. They're usually about .2 inch (5 millimeters) to 1 inch (25 mm) in size. A larger lung nodule (25 mm or larger), is more likely to be cancerous than is a smaller lung nodule.
Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus, causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia. It can range in severity from mild to life-threatening and is most serious for infants and young children, people older than age 65, and those with underlying health problems or weakened immune systems. Antibiotics and antiviral medications can treat many common forms of pneumonia.
Lung Fibrosis / Interstitial Lung Disease
Lung Fibrosis or Interstitial Lung Disease describes a large group of disorders, most of which cause progressive scarring of lung tissue. The scarring associated with interstitial lung disease eventually affects your ability to breathe and get enough oxygen into your bloodstream. This may be caused by long-term exposure to hazardous materials, such as asbestos. Some types of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, also can cause interstitial lung disease. In most cases, however, the causes remain unknown. Once lung scarring occurs, it's generally irreversible. Medications can slow the damage of interstitial lung disease, but many people never regain full use of their lungs. Lung transplants are an option for some people who have interstitial lung disease.
Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of your heart. It begins when tiny arteries in your lungs, called pulmonary arteries, and capillaries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed. This makes it harder for blood to flow through your lungs, and raises pressure within your lungs' arteries. As the pressure builds, your heart's lower right chamber (right ventricle) must work harder to pump blood through your lungs, eventually causing your heart muscle to weaken and eventually fail. Pulmonary hypertension is a serious illness that becomes progressively worse and is sometimes fatal. Although pulmonary hypertension isn't curable, treatments are available that can help lessen symptoms and improve your quality of life.