Respiratory Disorders and Diseases
There are many illnesses and infectious diseases centered around the respiratory system. Tuberculosis (one of the most rapidly spreading disease in the world), SARS: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (a recently discovered disease), Avian Influenza, and Bronchitis to name a few. Research is available on all of these topics; however, this website will be focusing on non-communicable disorders and diseases.
Asthma is a respiratory disease often accompanied by long bouts of wheezing and occasional "Asthma Attacks." Children of families in which this disease is present are more susceptible to developing it. There are no known cures or preventive methods for this disease, nor information as to how it is arises in the individual. People with this disease (20.3 million in 2001*) are able to use an inhaler before an attack if they are aware of the signs. Many try to avoid triggers that will irritate the lungs and cause an attack. Beyond wheezing, chest-tightness, breathlessness and morning and night coughing are symptoms of this disease. During an asthma attack the sides of the airways in a person's lungs become swollen and inflamed. This causes the airway to shrink and less air to reach the persons lungs. A buildup of mucus, accompanying the swelling, will clog the airways further.
Lung Cancer is usually caused by cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking alone is the cause of the most amount of preventable premature deaths in the United States. Cancer is an uncontrolled division of cells. These growths may produce tumors. There are two types of tumors, those that are benign and those that are malignant. Benign tumors, non-cancerous, remain in the area in which they originated. Malignant tumors spread, often through use of the lymphatic system and blood stream, until they reach other body tissue and form secondary tumors. Leukemia is an example of a form of cancer that does not produce solid tumors. Mutated genetics of a cell permit it to perform the uncontrolled cell division and also prevent the cells from doing their intended jobs. The increasing number of mutated cells depletes the nutrients needed by the healthy cells. The mutations are caused by carcinogens, certain carcinogens are attributed to specific types of cancer. Tobacco is the carcinogen responsible for Lung Cancer.
Men who smoke increase their risk of death from lung cancer by more than 22 times and from bronchitis and emphysema by nearly 10 times. Women who smoke increase their risk of dying from lung cancer by nearly 12 times and the risk of dying from bronchitis and emphysema by more than 10 times. Smoking triples the risk of dying from heart disease among middle-aged men and women.**
*Statistic and Graph Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
**Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-attributable mortality and years of potential life lost ó United States, 1990. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1993;42(33):645-8.