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Respiratory & Lung Care

Most people have felt out of breath at some point in their lives. Usually, they blame it on being out of shape, having a temporary illness or getting older. But, for people who have breathing difficulties often, it could be a sign of a bigger problem. Gundersen Pulmonary has specialists who can help diagnose and treat a full range of lung and breathing disorders.

Respiratory and lung conditions we treat

Asthma: While there is no cure for asthma, Gundersen's lung specialists can help you find the right treatment and lifestyle changes to manage it. Common symptoms include: shortness of breath, feeling tightness or heaviness in the chest with exertion or at rest, persistent cough or repeated episodes of bronchitis especially in people who don't smoke, wheezing and waking up in the middle of the night feeling short of breath.

Bronchiectasis: Bronchiectasis is a condition that affects the airways to the lungs often caused by an infection or other inflammatory condition. You can also be born with a condition that makes it more likely to develop. With bronchiectasis the walls of the airways can become scarred and/or inflamed, leading to serious lung infections and other major health problems.

Bronchitis: Bronchitis is inflammation of the breathing tubes or bronchi. This inflammation is characterized by chronic cough and mucus. Chronic bronchitis often leads to lung infections. The main causes of chronic bronchitis are tobacco use, air pollution and exposure to harsh chemicals and/or workplace conditions.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): What is COPD? COPD is a progressive, but treatable disease that causes problems breathing. The two most common forms of COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. To diagnose COPD your healthcare provider will use your medical history, a physical exam and certain tests like a pulmonary function test. There are options for managing your COPD including medications, oxygen therapy, surgery, lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, pulmonary rehab and more. It is also good to learn all you can about COPD and what you can do.

Emphysema: Pulmonary emphysema is part of a group of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is a chronic and progressive lung condition in which the air sacs (alveoli) are damaged or destroyed making breathing more difficult, especially with activity. It is most often caused by smoking, but other factors can lead to emphysema including air pollution, chemical fumes, dust or an inherited form of the disease called alpha 1-antitrypsin (AAT) also known as early onset pulmonary emphysema. There is no cure for emphysema, but it can be managed.

Interstitial Lung Disease: Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a term for a group of inflammatory lung disorders that cause scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs. Over time, the scarring causes stiffness in the lungs making it progressively difficult to breathe. Symptoms and progression vary by person. The most common causes are linked to some medications, environment factors and injury due to radiation.

Pneumoconiosis: Pneumoconiosis is often a work-related lung disease caused by breathing in certain particles like coal dust, cotton fibers, silica, asbestos and others. Because the lungs can't get rid of all these particles, inflammation and scar tissue can develop.

Pulmonary Fibrosis: Pulmonary fibrosis is scarring in the lungs. Over time, the scar tissue causes lung tissue to get thick and stiff, making it more difficult to take in oxygen. There are different types of pulmonary fibrosis. All are classified as interstitial lung diseases—a group of conditions caused by inflammation and scarring around the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. When the cause is unknown, it is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Pulmonary Embolism: A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot that develops in a blood vessel in the body (often in the leg). It then travels to a lung artery where it blocks blood flow.

Pulmonary Hypertension: Pulmonary hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. It causes the heart to work harder to pump blood and over time can cause heart failure. It is generally a secondary condition caused by another illness such as COPD, congestive heart failure or a congenital heart defect.

Pulmonary Nodules: Lung nodules, also known as pulmonary nodules, are spots or lesions in the lungs. Some nodules can be cancerous, but more than half of all single pulmonary nodules are noncancerous.

Pulmonary Sarcoidosis: This disease is marked by inflammation of the body tissues leading to small lumps called granulomas. The disease can affect any organ in the body, but often starts in the lungs and lymph nodes. It may be linked to the body's immune response to dust, mold, bacteria or other infection.

Treatments for lung disorders

Pulmonary is a department of Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center.

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