Respiratory medicine is also known around the world as pulmonology, respirology, thoracic and chest medicine. It involves the care of patients with disorders of the respiratory tract. The specialty is wide and diverse with a large number of conditions. Some conditions such as the common cold are common whilst others are very rare.
Symptoms of respiratory illness can be variable. Often the first symptom may be a cough. Sometimes this can be persistent and further investigation is necessary. Breathlessness is also a common symptom both on exertion and at rest. Other symptoms include wheeze and fatigue amongst others. These symptoms can be worrying and further investigation may be necessary.
A large number of people with a lung condition have not been diagnosed, with symptoms often wrongly dismissed. It is therefore extremely important to get symptoms checked out early as many respiratory conditions can lead to severe impairment of quality of life and even death. Conditions include:
- Chest infections
- Lung cancer
- Lung nodules
- Pleural disease
- Respiratory failure
- Obstructive Sleep apnoea (OSA)
- Breathlessness of unknown cause
- Interstitial lung disease or lung fibrosis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, previously known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis)