There's Asthma But What Other Respiratory Conditions Are There?

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 1:23pm

The medical field consists of many different areas of healthcare. One of these areas is respiratory therapy. Breathing is a highly complex and crucial function for the human body. Therefore, when a respiratory condition is presented, it must be carefully managed with the appropriate respiratory therapy.

Although asthma is one common respiratory condition, there are several others lung-related conditions, which impact people across the globe each day. Here are a few which you can study and be trained on at respiratory therapy schools in California.


There are two types of bronchitis - acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.

Acute bronchitis is brought on by infection or lung irritants such as fumes, dust and pollution. The symptoms of acute bronchitis may last from a few days up to 3 weeks and is best managed with medications which alleviate cough, pain and fever.

Chronic bronchitis is a more serious, long-term condition which is most often caused by smoking. Patients who suffer from this condition have an ongoing cough with the presentation of mucus. To treat chronic bronchitis, the first step is to quit smoking. Further treatments may include bronchodilators, steroids, PDE4 inhibitors, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

If chronic bronchitis is not properly treated or if the patient continues to smoke, then this condition can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Other contributing factors for COPD include smoking, long term exposure to chemical fumes, pollution and dust. The main goal for COPD treatment is to prevent further deterioration of the lungs. To do this, it is highly recommended for patients to quit smoking and to avoid second hand smoke. Other treatments for COPD include bronchodilators, oxygen supplementation and pulmonary rehabilitation.


Pneumonia is a common respiratory condition caused by bacteria, viruses and in some cases, fungi. This infection causes inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs. Pneumonia can affect people of all ages and ranges in severity. Depending on the severity, the infection can last from two days up to three weeks or even longer, and can result in death. In most cases pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics. However, severe cases may require a hospital stay where additional treatment can be administered.


Influenza, also commonly called the flu, is a very serious respiratory condition which is caused by a viral infection. This infection is very contagious and in the most severe cases it can cause death. Therefore, people with this condition must be treated immediately. Anti-viral medications are used to treat influenza and help to reduce symptoms.

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is caused when plaque builds up inside of a person's coronary arteries. These arteries are what carry the oxygenated blood to the heart. Therefore, this disease can become very severe if not treated properly. The first steps for treatment include lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise and stress management. In addition, some medical treatments may be used as well, such as anticoagulants, ACE inhibitors and vitamin supplements treatments. Furthermore, in patients with blocked arteries, angioplasty and coronary artery bypass grafting or CABG, may be required.

This is only a short list of other common respiratory conditions, but as you can see there is a great need for respiratory therapists. With the proper training at respiratory therapy schools in California, you can be well on your way to a great and rewarding career in healthcare.


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