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Diagnosis and treatments for respiratory and lung disorders

Treatments for lung and breathing disorders will depend on the severity and sometimes root cause of the disease. Our team of specialists will work closely with you to develop an individualized treatment plan.

Asthma: The most common treatment for asthma is rescue and controller inhalers, but other treatments and medications can be used. Doctors also recommend patients identify and reduce asthma triggers. Common triggers include allergies, viruses, exercise, cold weather and fumes. Patients are also often taught skills to monitor and manage their asthma.

Chronic Cough: Some of the tests that may be used to diagnose the cause of a chronic cough may include a chest X-ray and other radiology tests, breathing tests, pH monitoring, swallow tests and upper GI endoscopy if reflux is associated with the cough. The treatment of chronic cough is usually directed at its cause. Our specialists can help determine your best options for treatment.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): The most common cause of COPD is smoking, although breathing in pollutants, dust or chemicals can also be the cause. For smokers, smoking cessation can help prevent the disease or keep it from getting worse. COPD can also be treated with inhalers, medications, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehab. In severe cases, surgery may be an option.

Lung Cancer: Lung cancer is diagnosed with a tissue sample or biopsy to determine the kind of cancer. The diagnosis is most commonly made by bronchoscopy or needle biopsy. Treatment of lung cancer depends on the type of cancer, the stage, the location and whether the cancer has spread. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Lung Nodules: Lung nodules are often found when tests are being done for another reason. Diagnostic tests include:

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy
  • PET scan/CT scan
  • Needle biopsy through the chest wall
  • Surgical lung biopsy

Pulmonary Hypertension: A series of tests may be needed to diagnosis pulmonary hypertension such as:

  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Chest X-rays, lung perfusion scans and other film studies
  • Six-minute walk test
  • Blood tests
  • ECG (EKG)
  • Echocardiogram

There is no cure but there are treatment options to try to reduce the symptoms, slow the progression and improve quality of life. If pulmonary hypertension is the side effect of another illness, treatment focuses on the primary cause. If pulmonary hypertension is the primary cause, medications can be used.

Shortness of Breath: Diagnostic tests may include pulmonary function tests, chest X-ray, EKG, echocardiogram, bronchoscopy, blood tests or chest CT scan. Treatment for shortness of breath depends on the underlying cause and severity.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Pulmonary rehab is for people with chronic breathing conditions that limit quality of life. Gundersen exercise physiologists and respiratory therapists help you set goals, establish a safe exercise routine and learn how to exercise at home. To learn if you are a good candidate for pulmonary rehab, talk with your primary care provider. You'll need a referral to participate. While most health insurance covers pulmonary rehab, you should also check with your health insurance carrier before you begin.

Tobacco Cessation: Smoking is a leading cause of preventable respiratory and lung disease. Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do to live a longer, healthier life. You don't have to quit smoking alone. Our smoking and tobacco cessation program can provide support. You can also call the quit line at (800) QUIT-NOW for free support.

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