Pulmonary Disease & Sleep Medicine at Meliora Healthcare

The respiratory system is a network of organs and tissues that work to help you breathe. Many of us take roughly 20,000 breaths a day without a second thought. For some, breathing can be a difficult or even painful process. Our goal is to improve the well-being and quality of life for individuals affected by these conditions. We strive to ensure that our patients receive the care and attention they deserve.

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Breathing Easier

We understand the importance of respiratory health and the significance of quality sleep, and we’re here to provide comprehensive care for our patients. From asthma to interstitial lung disease, COPD to lung nodules, and lung cancer to sleep disorders, our recognized team raises the standards for patient care. Below, we’ll go over some of the most common pulmonary conditions and sleep disorders that our specialists diagnose and treat. For more details on these conditions and others, visit our patient education section.

Top 10 Pulmonary and Sleep Conditions

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease most often related to smoking, characterized by inflammation of the lungs and airways. This disease causes the airflow from the lungs to be obstructed, which can result in symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, and mucus production. Conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis frequently contribute to the development of COPD.

Asthma

Asthma is a common chronic lung disease that can affect individuals of all ages. It has multiple causes such as allergens, exercise, stress, odors, infections, and air pollution. Asthma causes the airways (bronchial tubes) to become inflamed, narrowed and swollen, and produce extra mucous making it difficult to breathe. Common symptoms include chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. The symptoms of asthma can vary significantly in severity.

Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is a lung condition in which the airways become damaged and widened. As a result, they can’t clear mucus as effectively, which allows bacteria to grow, causing inflammation and damage to the lungs. Typically, bronchiectasis causes persistent coughing as the body tries to get rid of the excess mucus. Additional symptoms can include wheezing, shortness of breath, and repeated infections.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing periodically stops while they sleep. Your brain tries to protect you by waking you up enough to breathe, but this prevents restful, healthy sleep. Over time, this condition can cause serious complications. However, this condition is often very manageable, especially with close adherence to prescribed treatments. Common symptoms include feeling tired, daytime sleepiness, memory loss, trouble concentrating, and insomnia.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)

 IPF is a serious, lifelong lung disease.  Idiopathic is a term providers use when they can’t determine what caused a condition. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is the most common type of interstitial lung disease. It causes lung scarring (tissues scar and thicken over time), making it harder to breathe. Symptoms may come on quickly or take years to develop. Medications may slow down scarring and help preserve lung function, but it’s considered a progressive disease for which there is no cure.

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a term for a group of over 200 conditions that cause inflammation and scarring in your lungs. Symptoms of ILD include shortness of breath and a dry cough. ILD can be caused by medications, radiation therapy, connective tissue diseases or inhaling harmful substances. Examples of ILD include Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), asbestosis, silicosis, and Non-Specific Interstitial Pneumonia (NSIP). Lung damage caused by ILD is treatable, however often irreversible.

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Chronic Cough

A cough is a reflex reaction designed to keep your airways clear. A chronic cough is defined as a cough that lasts longer than eight weeks. Typically, when a cough lasts this long, it means that it isn’t caused by a common cold or a respiratory infection.  Common causes for a chronic cough include chronic bronchitis, asthma, COPD, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), post-nasal drip, swallowing difficulties, and vocal cord disorders.

Lung Nodule

Many people have lung nodules. Respiratory illnesses, infections, and work-related or environmental exposures can cause nodules to form in the lungs. Most lung nodules are not a sign of lung cancer and don’t require treatment. They are usually followed by having imaging, such as a CT scan, periodically done. Rarely, pulmonary nodules are a sign of lung cancer and may require further investigation. Small lung nodules rarely cause symptoms.

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women and is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the US. It’s caused by harmful cells in your lungs growing unchecked.  There are two main types of lung cancer, Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Cancer is usually staged based on the size of the initial tumor, how far or deep into the surrounding tissue it goes, and whether it’s spread to lymph nodes or other organs. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, and targeted drugs. Screening is recommended if you’re at high risk.

Non-Tuberculosis Mycobacterial (NTM) Lung Disease

Nontuberculous mycobacteria are a family of slow-growing bacteria that exist in soil, water, and dust, making them impossible to avoid. They can be resistant to disinfectants. They can also survive high temperatures that typically destroy other types of bacteria. The severity of infection, treatment approach, and prognosis depend on which bacteria strain is causing the infection and whether the disease is nodular or cavitary.  Symptoms of the disease can vary, but some people may not have any symptoms at all. Common symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, night sweats, low-grade fever, and unexpected weight loss.

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