Respiratory Issues

Starling Clinic

Primary Care located in Plano, TX & Texarkana, TX

For the millions of Americans affected by ongoing respiratory issues, it can be draining to live with persistent wheezing, incessant breathlessness, or endless anxiety over the possibility of an unexpected flare-up. Rabia Khan, MD, and the team at Starling Clinic in Texarkana and Plano, Texas, provide comprehensive care for patients with chronic respiratory illnesses ranging from childhood asthma to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Call your nearest Starling Clinic office or book an appointment online today.

Respiratory Issues Q & A

What are common respiratory issues?

Respiratory problems affect people of all ages, ranging from very young children to elderly adults. The most common respiratory illnesses in the United States are: 

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Pneumonia 
  • Lung Cancer
  • Pleural effusion
  • Cystic fibrosis

Although some people are genetically predisposed to developing a chronic respiratory disease, many people develop respiratory problems because of environmental factors and lifestyle habits like smoking. 

What’s asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects about 20 million people in the United States, almost half of whom are children. During an asthma attack, the airways in your lungs swell and fill with mucus as the muscles that surround those airways contract, making it harder to breathe. Signs and symptoms of an asthma flare-up include:  

  • Recurrent cough
  • Persistent wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

An asthma attack happens when something irritates your airway and triggers a flare-up. Air pollution, allergens, cigarette smoke, and respiratory infections are some of the most common asthma triggers.  

Asthma is often more problematic for children than it is for adults, simply because they have much smaller airways. 

What’s COPD?

Some 15 million Americans have COPD, a progressive and inflammatory lung disease that makes breathing difficult. The term COPD actually refers to a group of inflammatory lung diseases that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases, asthma.  

People with COPD have less air flowing through their airways for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The airways and air sacs have lost their elasticity
  • The walls between the air sacs have been destroyed
  • The walls of the airways are thick and inflamed  

The vast majority of COPD cases are caused by long-term exposure to damaging lung irritants like cigarette smoke and second-hand smoke.

Although the severity of symptoms varies widely among individuals, most people with COPD feel like they can’t quite catch their breath, particularly when they’re active. A persistent cough, ongoing chest tightness, wheezing, and an inability to breathe deeply are other common symptoms. 

How are respiratory issues treated?

The main goal of any respiratory management plan, regardless of the specific condition that’s being treated, is to keep symptoms under control and reduce or prevent flare-ups. 

With asthma, this often means avoiding known triggers, taking your control medication as prescribed, and having your quick-relief medication (inhaler) on hand at all times. With COPD, early treatment and targeted lifestyle changes like quitting smoking can help you feel better and slow the progress of the disease.

To learn more about the respiratory care services available at Starling Clinic, call your nearest office or click online to schedule a visit today.