Breathing Disorders

Your lungs supply air to your body and expel gasses out of your body. They’re part of your respiratory system, a group of tissues and organs that work together to help you breathe. Unfortunately, lung diseases can harm your respiratory system. Early detection of pulmonary disorders is the best way to manage acute and chronic lung conditions.

The team evaluates all lung symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing, to determine the cause of your symptoms.

What are the common types of breathing disorders?

Breathing disorders come in many forms. These conditions are brought on by infections, smoke, and other factors.

Breathing disorders include:

  • Asthma
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung Nodules
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Occupational lung disorders
  • Bronchiectasis

How are breathing disorders diagnosed?

Your practitioner at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine takes a complete medical history and performs a physical exam, focusing on your symptoms.

He or she may order diagnostic tests such as:

  • Pulmonary function tests, such as spirometry and peak flow
  • Cardiopulmonary stress testing
  • Chest X-ray
  • Six-minute walk test
  • Bronchoscopy, a lung exam through a scope
  • Thoracentesis (lung fluid drainage)
  • Metabolic cart (measures oxygen use and energy expenditure)

These tests help your practitioner to evaluate how well your lungs and airways are working.

How are breathing problems treated?

Once your condition is diagnosed, your practitioner creates a care plan tailored to the needs of your respiratory issue. There are multiple treatment options you may undergo if you have asthma, emphysema, and COPD.


Treatment may include short-term and longer-term medications tailored to the cause of your asthma, its severity, and your lung functioning. You’ll learn how to use a peak flow meter at home to prevent you from being surprised by an asthma flare-up.


If you’re still smoking, treatment may include medications or counseling to help you quit. You may be prescribed oxygen or medications to help you breathe, or in severe cases, be a candidate for lung reduction surgery.


Treatment may include medications to make it easier to breathe, a respiratory therapy program, or help of a breathing tube or breathing devices. If your condition is serious, you may benefit from surgery.

If you’re seeking relief from a breathing problem, Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine can help. Call today or book a consultation online.