Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Respiratory Diseases

April 11, 2024

Learning Objective: Differentiate between the signs and symptoms of respiratory diseases and disorders.
     Besides cancer, most respiratory diseases can be divided into chronic or acute conditions. The disease sections of this chapter discuss these three categories of respiratory diseases. Prior to learning about the diseases, it is important for the medical assistant to understand the common signs and symptoms of respiratory diseases. Respiratory diseases can cause the following reactions:
                 • Dyspnea: Difficulty with breathing.
                 • Shortness of breath (SOB): Breathlessness
                 • Hemoptysis: Expectorate of blood or blood-streaked sputum
                 • Hiccup: Sound produced by the spasmodic involuntary contraction of the diaphragm that causes uncontrolled breathing in of air followed by the rapid closure of the glottis
                 • Epistaxis: Nosebleed
                 • Rhinorrhea: Nasal discharge
Additional signs and symptoms relate to breathing, changes in the oxygen amount in the blood and tissues, and abnormal lung sounds.


Breathing Changes
Learning Objective: Define signs and symptoms related to breathing changes.
Signs and symptoms of respiratory diseases that relate to abnormal breathing rate changes include the following:
                 • Apnea: Temporary absence of breathing
                 • Bradypnea: Abnormally slow breathing
                 • Cheyne-Stokes respiration: An increase in the depth and rate of breathing, followed by a decrease in breathing, and then a period of apnea
                 • Hyperpnea: An increase in the depth of breathing; the rate may also be increased.
                 • Hyperventilation: Abnormal increase in breathing
                 • Orthopnea: Difficulty breathing unless in an upright position (e.g., sitting or standing)
                 • Tachypnea: Rapid, shallow breathing


Oxygen Changes
Learning Objective: Define signs and symptoms related to oxygen changes.
      Respiratory conditions can also change the amount of oxygen in the blood and tissues. These signs and symptoms include the following:
                 • Cyanosis: Lack of oxygen in the blood, causing a bluish color in the skin, nail beds, and lips
                 • Hypoxemia: Insufficient oxygen in the blood
                 • Hypoxia: Decrease in oxygen in the tissues


Abnormal Lung Sounds
Learning Objective: Define abnormal lung sounds.
Abnormal lung sounds are heard when using a stethoscope, which is placed over the lung field.
                 • Pleural rub or pleuritic rub: An auscultatory sound caused by the rubbing together of the visceral and costal pleurae.
                 • Rales: Inspiratory auscultatory sounds resembling crackles or popping sounds caused by fluid in the airway or alveoli. Can be described as moist, dry, fine, or coarse.
                 • Rhonchi: Auscultatory sounds resembling snoring. Occurs when airflow is partially blocked through the large airways.
                 • Stridor: High-pitched inspiratory sound due to a blockage in the upper airway; can be heard with or without a stethoscope.
                 • Wheezing: High-pitched sound produced by a narrowed airway; can be heard with or without a stethoscope.