11 English AP
11 January 2011
Respiratory Diseases: Infections Invading the Lungs
The average human takes breathing for granted. One might think that breathing is just an involuntary movement, but for the millions of people who suffer from respiratory illnesses, each and every breath is a major accomplishment to another day of daily life. The respiratory system not only oxygenates the blood for the body, but also filters out wastes, infections, and provides the air that is needed for daily speech. The respiratory system is a vital component of the body and although the lungs can stand abuse from some smoke and pollutants, there are a variety of disorders and diseases that can be completely temporary and harmless, while others can be life-threatening. Respiratory diseases include diseases that affect the lungs, pleural cavity, trachea, bronchial tubes, and the muscles and nerves it takes to breathe. Respiratory diseases can be classified by several different things, such as the organ involved, the pattern of the symptoms, or the cause of the disease. There are a variety of respiratory diseases, such as bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, empyema, mycoplasma pneumonia, pleurisy, and lung abscesses. Respiratory diseases, mild or fatal are treated differently according to their symptoms and severity.
There are many different types of diseases that can infect the lungs, that are not deathly fatal to ones health, however, “Bronchiectasis is an abnormal dilation of the bronchi caused by suppurative infection of the bronchial wall. It can follow suppurative pneumonia or lung abscess and may be a sequel of respiratory infection of early childhood. Measles, influenza, and tuberculosis also may predispose the person to bronchiectasis” (Brunner and Suddartn 304) and it can be fatal if proper precautions are not followed. The infection attacks the bronchial wall like soldiers at war, causing the loss of supporting structure and it produces thick sputum that will obstruct the bronchi. According to the Textbook of Medical Surgical Nursing: “Characteristic symptoms of bronchiectasis include chronic cough and the production of purulent sputum in copious amounts. A high percentage of patients with this disease experience hemoptysis. Clubbing of the fingers is also very common. The patient is likely to be subject to repeated episodes of pulmonary infection”. (Brunner and Suddartn 304)
Patients with bronchiectasis are generally put on a year-round dosage of antibiotics. Other ways to treat the disease is through postural drainage of the bronchial tubes and sometimes patients will receive bronchodilators. It is ideal to provide extra sources of humidification to patients with bronchiectasis, such as using a face tent. “Patients with bronchiectasis almost always have associated bronchitis. This makes the sputum expectoration easier”, which is how doctors determine if one has the disease, “because the water content of the sputum is increased by aerosolized nebulizer treatments and by an increase of oral fluid intake” (Brunner and Suddartn 305). If a patient is diagnosed with bronchiectasis they should take precautions and get immunized for influenza. “Hemoptysis in spite of good medical regimen provided the disease involves only one or two areas, the lung can be removed in toto. All diseased portions is removed provided that the postoperative lung section will be adequate. It may be necessary to Blankenship 3
remove a segment of a lobe (lobectomy), or an entire lung (pneumonectomy)” (Brunner and Suddartn 305). Cystic fibrosis is a disease that is inherited genetically and it is present from the time of birth. Cystic fibrosis is “characterized by a tendency to chronic lung infections and an inability to absorb fats and other nutrients from foods” (Clayman 328). When cystic fibrosis was first identified, almost every person diagnosed...