Your lungs take in oxygen and deliver it to your bloodstream when you breathe. All the cells in your body need this oxygen to function and grow. Your body’s ability to function appropriately is hampered when you have a breathing disorder. Breathing disorders can be long-term or chronic, such as asthma, allergies, or COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
There are many factors that impact your lungs and put you at a higher risk of developing a breathing problem or exacerbating a breathing disorder you already have. You can avoid or limit exposure to certain risks, but some are more difficult to protect yourself from, such as air pollution. Although you can avoid going out on days when air pollution is especially high in your area, you can’t always lock yourself away indoors, especially if you have a job, family to care for, or other vital needs that require you to travel outdoors.
Breathing disorder risks you can avoid or limit include:
Reduce your risk of complicating your breathing disorder by getting an annual flu shot to help prevent catching influenza, and if you’re over age 65, get a pneumonia shot as well. Sleep apnea, which causes you to quit breathing in your sleep, can exacerbate COPD symptoms. A CPAP machine is often recommended to help ease your symptoms and lower your risk for increasing the severity of your breathing disorder.
Some people are predisposed to developing a breathing disorder due to genetics or their lifestyle choices may enhance their risk. For example, if your parents suffered from severe allergies or asthma, you aren’t guaranteed to have the same problems, but your risks are higher than those whose family history doesn’t include breathing disorders. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking tobacco, can also increase your risk.
Schedule an appointment with an experienced pulmonary doctor for an accurate medical diagnosis and effective treatment to help alleviate symptoms from your breathing disorder. Medication and treatment plans vary based on your specific condition, so it’s vital the diagnosis be accurate.
Doctors diagnose breathing problems by performing a physical exam, taking a patient and family health history, and using various tests. Pulmonary function tests, such as spirometry, are common for diagnosing breathing disorders, especially asthma. Your doctor may also order a CT scan to look for problems in your lungs.
Once your breathing disorder has been diagnosed, determining what triggers your breathing difficulties and avoiding them is a critical part of your treatment plan. Medical interventions may also be used, including prescription drugs, such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids, and breathing treatments with an inhaler and/or nebulizer. Your doctor may also recommend pulmonary rehab, which is a supplement treatment to help restore lung function, or in limited cases, surgery to correct an obstruction.
Respacare in Bridgewater and Flemington, New Jersey, offers compassionate, comprehensive care. Our team of board-certified physicians provides a wide range of services, including advanced treatment for breathing disorders. We specialize in helping patients who have breathing disorders lead happier, healthier lives through intensive therapy at our on-site clinic.
Our pulmonary specialists can diagnose the source of your breathing difficulties and advise you on treatment options that are right for you. Contact us at 732-356-9950 to discuss your breathing concerns today.