Chest Conditions

The respiratory system is essential in bringing new oxygen to the blood and removing harmful carbon dioxide from the body. Any changes to the airways due to infection or damage will limit the effectiveness of the lungs to perform this vital function. Here are some of the conditions that are commonly seen:

COAD – Chronic obstructive airway disease. This is a collective term for conditions that have chronic airway narrowing and can include emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis.

Emphysema – Enlargement of the air sacks in the lungs with destruction of the sack wall. This leads to problems with oxygen exchange and can cause breathlessness.

Asthma – Chronic inflammation of the airways which can cause airway obstruction and bronchospasm. It is a condition where breathlessness is due to difficulty in getting air out.

Bronchitis – Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the larger airways. This is usually due to a viral or bacterial infection.

Pneumonia – Inflammation of the smaller airways and alveoli (air sacks) in the lung. Again this can be due to viral or bacterial infection.

Pleurisy – Inflammation of the lining of the lungs (pleura). This can cause the lung to stick to the chest wall which causes pain with inhalation.

Bronchiectasis – Irreversible dilation of the airways which can cause airflow obstruction and increased chance of infection.

Cystic Fibrosis – Genetic disorder that leads to the production of thick and sticky secretions. This leads to frequent and recurrent lung infections.

Sinusitis – Inflammation of the sinus cavity causing mucous production. This can be caused by allergies, infections or auto-immune disorders.

Treatment can include deep breathing exercises, stimulated coughing, percussions and vibrations, postural drainage positions and suctioning. Home advice and exercises are often included.