Our Respiratory Care Services Include:
“Respiratory care is a frequent need- after all, millions of people are stricken by respiratory illnesses such as colds and flu every year. Luckily, many of these illnesses are self-limited. Still others suffer from chronic lung conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and other chronic lung conditions. Whether your symptoms are short-lived or require long-term care, we can help. Just make an appointment and come in to see us. Together we can plan how best to treat you”.
What is the respiratory system?
The respiratory system consists of the nasal passages, the larynx (the voice box), the pharynx (the back of the throat below the nasal cavity), the trachea (the windpipe), the bronchi and the lungs. The main job of the respiratory system is to oxygenate our blood, so that blood rich in oxygen can be delivered throughout the body. The respiratory system is also responsible for helping the body to get rid of waste products (CO2), which we breathe out. The diaphragm is a muscle that lies just below our lungs and helps the lungs expand and contract as we inhale and exhale. The actual exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place in the alveoli, tiny sacs that are located in the lungs.
What are common symptoms associated with respiratory conditions?
Conditions affecting the respiratory system may be obvious, or may be confused for a problem in another body system. The most common symptoms associated with respiratory disease are:
- cough- a common symptom of respiratory illness; may be acute or chronic, depending on the illness
- chest pain– many respiratory illnesses can cause chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain may result from coughing a lot (muscle or rib pain) or from irritation of the pleura, the membranes that cover the lung.
- fever– fever may be caused by inflammation or infection anywhere in the respiratory tract; or may also occur with mailgnancy (cancer)
- fatigue– fatigue may be due to not having enough oxygen circulating in the blood stream
- hemoptysis– coughing up blood may occur in tuberculosis and in malignancy (lung cancer), but it occasionally occurs from coughing too much, especially in patients taking blood thinners
- wheezing– individuals with asthma may wheeze, this is due to inflammation and swelling in the airways that restrict air movement
- shortness of breath– individuals may feel short of breath if their oxygen levels are low
- malaise– malaise is feeling generally unwell
- sputum production– pneumonia and other infections of the respiratory tract may cause increased sputum production; asthma may also cause this
- headache– headache may be induced by coughing, or it may be related to infection or inflammation
- hoarseness– excessive coughing or infection of the pharynx (pharyngitis) may cause your voice to become hoarse
What respiratory conditions can you treat?
We are internal medicine physicians. We are also geriatricians. We treat a variety of adult respiratory illnesses, including:
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
What can I expect when I come in to see you?
When you come in to see us in the clinic requiring respiratory care, we will need to gather the following information from you:
- past medical history
- allergies (environmental, food and medications)
- family history
We will ask you about when your symptoms started and if they are associated with other signs/symptoms of infection, such as throat pain, rhinitis (runny nose) or fever. We will ask how long you have had your symptoms and what you’ve tried at home to relieve them- what worked and what didn’t help.
Once we have gathered some history, it’s time for us to examine you. We may look in your nose, ears and throat for signs of infection. We will use a stethoscope to listen carefully to your heart and lungs. We may also examine your abdomen for any signs of tenderness. We may also look for any swelling in your legs, as this is sometimes a sign of cardiac disease, symptoms of which can often mimic respiratory disease.
After we have gathered your history and examined you, we will decide if any diagnostic testing is required. This may include a chest x-ray, a sputum sample or blood tests. We may decide to treat you before lab or x-ray results have come back, or we may ask you to return for another visit- this all depends on our findings and what we suspect is causing your symptoms.
If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms (unless you are certain you are suffering from the common cold, which should improve in 7 to 10 days) make an appointment to come in and see us. While some respiratory symptoms are undoubtedly due to a virus or a bacterial infection that may get better on their own without treatment, other symptoms may be due to a more serious respiratory illness requiring care. Call for your appointment today.