What are the different types of respiratory diseases?

There are many types of respiratory diseases. They are often classified as obstructive or restrictive lung diseases and respiratory tract infections. Some of these respiratory diseases are serious and require regular treatment. Some of them can even cause death. Others, like the common cold, are considered minor illnesses that come and go fairly quickly and don't cause serious problems.

An obstructive respiratory disease is marked by the obstruction of a person's airways. A common type of obstructive respiratory disease is asthma, which is inflammation and temporary narrowing of a person's airways that makes it hard for them to breathe. Another condition that causes airway obstruction is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is marked by narrow airways that cause a person's airflow to be limited. Over time, the condition worsens. Both asthma and COPD can be deadly.

A restrictive respiratory disease prevents the lungs from expanding as they should, decreasing air capacity and making it difficult to breathe. Among these diseases are asbestosis and pulmonary fibrosis. Asbestosis is caused by inhaling asbestos, which causes scarring of the inner lung tissue. The result is chest pain, cough, gradually worsening shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Some people with this disease develop secondary conditions that are fatal.

Pulmonary fibrosis is also characterized by scarring of lung tissue, which progresses over time. Damage to the lungs can be caused by a number of things, including other medical conditions, radiation, and toxins in the environment. Its symptoms include shortness of breath, dry cough, weight loss, muscle and joint pain, and fatigue. For some people, this condition becomes severe very quickly, while others may experience worsening symptoms over the years. People with this condition have an average life expectancy of two to five years.

Most people are familiar with respiratory infections, which are caused by bacteria and viruses. The most common respiratory infection is the common cold, which is caused by a wide range of viruses. The common cold is marked by symptoms such as sore throat, sneezing, cough, and runny or stuffy nose. Colds may be accompanied by a fever, although this is not as common as the other symptoms. When it does occur, it is usually just a low-grade fever.

Pneumonia is another type of respiratory tract infection that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This infection can affect one or both of a person's lungs and is marked by moderate to high fever, chills, and a cough that often produces mucus. Some people experience shortness of breath and chest pain with this disease. Although many people recover from pneumonia, it can be deadly.

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