Sleep Apnea. What’s That?

Asthma, or reactive airway disease, is a chronic disorder that results in restricted breathing due to inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the main air passages in the lungs. Asthma affects 3 to 5 percent of adults and 7 to 10 percent of children in the United States. Severe asthma attacks cause approximately 5,000 deaths per year.

Three changes occur inside the airways of the lungs in people with asthma: the first change is inflammation, or swelling, whereby the airway becomes inflamed and produce a thick mucus. Inflammation then leads to constriction of the muscles around the airways, causing the airways to become narrow. This narrowing is also referred to as bronchospasm. The third change is increased sensitivity of the airways, causing the asthma patient to become overly sensitive to animal dander, pollen, cold air and tobacco smoke, to name a few.

Asthma patients need to work together with their doctors to develop a medication action plan to control symptoms and minimize attacks.

Learn more about sleep apnea

Pneumonia. What’s That?

During normal respiration, air travels through the nose, down the trachea, and into smaller and smaller airways called bronchi. The bronchi divide into bronchioles and finally into tiny grape-like clusters of thin, fragile sacs called alveoli. In the alveoli, oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide in the blood.

Pneumonia is a serious infection or inflammation of your lungs. The alveoli fill with pus and other liquid blocking oxygen from reaching your blood. If there is too little oxygen in your blood, your body’s cells can’t work properly.

Pneumonia affects your lungs in two ways. Lobar pneumonia affects a section (a lobe) of a lung. Bronchial pneumonia (or bronchopneumonia) affects patches throughout both lungs.

Pneumonia is not a single disease. It can have over 30 different causes. There are five main causes of pneumonia: 1) Bacteria, 2) Viruses, 3) Mycoplasmas, 4) Other infectious agents, such as fungi – including pneumocystis, 5) Various chemicals.

If you have symptoms of pneumonia call your doctor immediately. Even with the many effective antibiotics, early diagnosis and treatment are important.

Learn more about pneumonia.

Pulmonary Embolism. What’s That?

The circulatory system carries blood throughout the body via an intricate network of arteries and veins.  The venous system is the section of the circulatory system that uses veins to return the used, or deoxygenated, blood to the heart and lungs.  Occasionally, irregularities in the wall of a vein (especially in areas of slow flow, such as the area surrounding a venous valve) can cause a blood clot, or thrombus, to form. Once formed, additional fibrin and red blood cell deposits cause the thrombus to grow inside the vein.

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Emphysema. What’s That?

For the next few videos in our series in partnership with CareFlash, we look at common respiratory issues common in seniors.

Emphysema Background

During normal respiration, air travels through the nose, down the trachea, and into smaller and smaller airways called bronchi. The bronchi divide into bronchioles and finally into tiny grape-like clusters of thin, fragile sacs called alveoli. In alveoli, oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide in the blood.

[Read more...]

CareFlash: Where Technology Makes Care Far Easier

A string of serendipitous events this week made me a true believer in how technology can dramatically simplify the way we care for our loved ones.

A Sick, Distant Relative

I heard from a family member that a distant cousin had a brain issue that has required several surgeries to correct.  He’s still not out of the woods, but they’re making progress finding the root cause.

The poor kid just graduated high school and his mother is emotionally exhausted.

She’s drained not just from the stress of her son’s illness, but from the hard work required to continuously update friends and family, explain the illness, describe treatments and their results, etc.

Everyone wants an update, so she repeats the same process nearly every day.

Coordinating Care is Hard Work

  • Have you ever had a loved one in the hospital, or suffering from a diagnosis that required a long or permanent care period?
  • Do you have friends of co-workers who needed a hand after an injury or illness?
  • How many times did you explain the diagnosis and treatment?
  • How did you coordinate errands or take the kids to school?
  • How did you handle your own life while you provided care to this person?

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