Dr Milind Sathe
MBBS, DTCD, FCCP
General Medicine refers to deviation of any sort from healthy well being of an individual and is treated by a General Practitioner. This might be a seasonal flu or a common cold or a lifestyle and hereditary disorder like abnormal blood sugar and blood pressure. Having extensively dealt with health checkups and medicine, Dr. Milind Sathe consults you for the General medicine, lifestyle and diet modifications that can help you lead a better life.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body.
Cystic fibrosis affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. These secreted fluids are normally thin and slippery. But in people with cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes the secretions to become sticky and thick. Instead of acting as a lubricant, the secretions plug up tubes, ducts and passageways, especially in the lungs and pancreas.
Respiratory signs and symptoms
The thick and sticky mucus associated with cystic fibrosis clogs the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. This can cause signs and symptoms such as:
- A persistent cough that produces thick mucus (sputum)
- Exercise intolerance
- Repeated lung infections
- Inflamed nasal passages or a stuffy nose
Digestive signs and symptoms
The thick mucus can also block tubes that carry digestive enzymes from your pancreas to your small intestine. Without these digestive enzymes, your intestines aren't able to completely absorb the nutrients in the food you eat. The result is often:
- Foul-smelling, greasy stools
- Poor weight gain and growth
- Intestinal blockage, particularly in newborns (meconium ileus)
- Severe constipation
It is very essential to have a qualified doctor supervise your medication and treatment if you happen to experience these symptoms.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. This thickened, stiff tissue makes it more difficult for your lungs to work properly. As pulmonary fibrosis worsens, you become progressively more short of breath.
- Shortness of breath, particularly during exercise
- Dry, hacking cough
- Fast, shallow breathing
- Gradual unintended weight loss
- Aching joints and muscles
- Clubbing (widening and rounding) of the tips of the fingers or toes
The lung damage caused by pulmonary fibrosis can't be repaired, but medications and therapies can sometimes help ease symptoms and improve quality of life. For some people, a lung transplant might be appropriate.
Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is high blood pressure in the arteries to your lungs. It is a serious condition. If you have it, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to your lungs become hard and narrow. Your heart has to work harder to pump the blood through. Over time, your heart weakens and cannot do its job and you can develop heart failure.
Signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include
- shortness of breath,
- difficulty breathing with exertion,
- rapid breathing, and
- rapid heart rate.
Pulmonary hypertension is diagnosed by measuring the pulmonary pressures by either ultrasound of the heart (echo-cardiogram) or right heart catheterization.
The treatment for pulmonary hypertension can include oxygen, diuretics, blood thinners, medications that open the pulmonary arteries, and treatments for any underlying disease.
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen. That makes them very sensitive, and they may react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When your airways react, they get narrower and your lungs get less air.
Symptoms of asthma include:
- Coughing, especially early in the morning or at night
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
Not all people who have asthma have these symptoms. Having these symptoms doesn't always mean that you have asthma. The doctor will diagnose asthma based on lung function tests, your medical history, and a physical exam. It may also be required to take some allergy tests.
Asthma is a very prevalent disease in our country, and is treated primarily by quick-relief medicines to stop asthma symptoms and long-term control medicines to prevent symptoms.
People with obstructive lung disease have shortness of breath due to difficulty exhaling all the air from the lungs. Because of damage to the lungs or narrowing of the airways inside the lungs, exhaled air comes out more slowly than normal. At the end of a full exhalation, an abnormally high amount of air may still linger in the lungs.
The most common causes of obstructive lung disease are:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis
- Cystic fibrosis
- Obstructive lung disease makes it harder to breathe, especially during increased activity or exertion. As the rate of breathing increases, there is less time to breathe all the air out before the next inhalation.
Cough is a common symptom in restrictive and obstructive lung diseases. Usually, the cough is dry or productive of white sputum. People with chronic bronchitis, a form of obstructive lung disease, may cough up larger amounts of colored sputum.
Symptoms of depression and anxiety are also common among people with obstructive lung disease and restrictive lung disease. These symptoms occur more often when lung disease causes significant limitations in activity and lifestyle.
Acute bronchitis is a shorter illness that commonly follows a cold or viral infection, such as the flu. It consists of a cough with mucus, chest discomfort or soreness, fever, and, sometimes, shortness of breath. Acute bronchitis usually lasts a few days or weeks.
Chronic bronchitis is a serious, ongoing illness characterized by a persistent, mucus-producing cough that lasts longer than 3 months out of the year for more than 2 years. People with chronic bronchitis have varying degrees of breathing difficulties, and symptoms may get better and worse during different parts of the year.
If chronic bronchitis occurs with emphysema, it may become chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Signs and symptoms of both acute and chronic bronchitis include:
- Persistent cough, which may produce mucus
- Low fever and chills
- Chest tightening
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Blocked nose and sinuses
- One of the main symptoms of acute bronchitis is a cough that
- lasts for several weeks. It can sometimes last for several months if the bronchial tubes take a long time to heal fully.
It is common for the symptoms of chronic bronchitis to get worse two or more times every year, and they are often worse during the winter months.
However, a cough that refuses to go away could also be a sign of another illness such as asthma or pneumonia.
Pneumonia is inflammation of the air spaces in the lungs, most commonly due to an infection. Pneumonia may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi; less frequently by other causes.
Common symptoms of Pneumonia are:
- shortness of breath and
If pneumonia is caused by bacteria, your doctor will give you antibiotics. These almost always cure pneumonia caused by bacteria. Pneumonia can make you feel very sick. But after you take antibiotics, you should start to feel much better. Call your doctor if you do not start to feel better after 2 to 3 days of antibiotics. Call your doctor right away if you feel worse.
Tuberculosis spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks. If you have been exposed, you should go to your doctor for tests. You are more likely to get TB if you have a weak immune system.
Symptoms of TB in the lungs may include
- A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Coughing up blood or mucus
- Weakness or fatigue
- Night sweats
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you need to visit a doctor immediately!