Respiratory disease is a medical term that encompasses pathological conditions affecting the organs and tissues that make gas exchange possible in higher organisms, and includes conditions of the upper respiratory tract, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, pleura and pleural cavity, and the nerves and muscles of breathing. Respiratory diseases range from mild and self-limiting, such as the common cold, to life-threatening entities like bacterial pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, and lung cancer. The study of respiratory disease is known as pulmonology. A doctor who specializes in respiratory disease is known as a pulmonologist, a chest medicine specialist, a respiratory medicine specialist, a respirologist or a thoracic medicine specialist. Respiratory diseases can be classified in many different ways, including by the organ or tissue involved, by the type and pattern of associated signs and symptoms, or by the cause (etiology) of the disease. Inflammatory lung disease
Characterised by a high neutrophil count, e.g. asthma, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or acute respiratory distress syndrome. Allergic reactions due to exposure to certain agents (i.e. foods) are a relatively common cause of acute respiratory disease. Obstructive lung diseases
Obstructive lung diseases are diseases of the lung where the airways (i.e. bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli) become reduced in volume or have free flow of gas impeded, making it more difficult to move air in and out of the lung. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which includes asthma an example of an obstructive lung disease, is where the airways become damaged, causing them to narrow. Restrictive lung diseases
Restrictive lung diseases (also known as interstitial lung diseases) are a category of respiratory disease characterized by a loss of lung compliance, causing incomplete lung expansion and increased lung stiffness. E.g. in infant respiratory distress syndrome...
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