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Connecting the Heart and Lungs for Healthier Living

March 9, 2021 | Blog, Doctors & Healthcare Providers

At the core of living well is having healthy organs. Both the heart and lungs work together, ensuring your body has the oxygen-rich blood it needs to function on a daily basis. To better understand diseases that affect your lungs and heart, let’s start with some basic definitions.

Pulmonary Disease

The word Pulmonary is defined as “pertaining to the lungs”. Someone with pulmonary disease has the inability to breathe well as the disease affects their lungs. Pulmonary diseases are treated by a pulmonologist who specializes in the treatment of lung and breathing issues ranging from asthma to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to lung cancer.

Cardio-Pulmonary

Cardio-pulmonary is a term for many diseases that have to do with the heart and lungs. These organs are closely connected so when something happens to one there’s a chance a problem can appear in the other. Common diseases are, chronic bronchitis, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema. Symptoms might include, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, wheezing, bluish skin on the hands or feet, chest pain, and more.

Different types of respiratory illnesses and diseases

Asthma

Asthma is a common respiratory condition that causes people difficulty in breathing due to inflammation in their airways. Symptoms of asthma are dry cough, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. For some people asthma can be very minor but for some it can be very serious and life-threatening. Asthma symptoms can flare up in situations of exercise (sport induced asthma), cold air, airborne allergies such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pets. Also air pollution such as smoke, and certain medications can also cause asthma symptoms. Asthma can usually start in younger years and worsen in adulthood.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is both chronic obstructive bronchitis and emphysema. Both the diseases cause the loss of breath or inability to exhale normally. Symptoms include, shortness of breath, coughing up mucus (especially in the morning). Symptoms of COPD can sometimes be mistaken for the body’s gradual aging process and body deterioration. The disease can usually begin in someone’s 30’s, 40’s and can peak in someone’s 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease can also develop over several years without being detected or without any signs of shortness of breath. Treatments for COPD include smoking cessation, bronchodilator therapy (medication that opens the airways) and pulmonary rehabilitation, which is a supervised exercise program for people with COPD. Unlike asthma which can be somewhat relieved, this disease is not reversible. According to the American Lung Association, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

Acute and Chronic Bronchitis

Bronchitis is when irritation and inflammation of the airways. Both acute and chronic bronchitis have similar symptoms such as shortness of breath, dry cough, chest congestion, fatigue, body aches or chills, a productive cough, but they should not be seen as the same illness, they’re different and last a different period of time. Chronic illness is also a form of COPD that’s emphasized by a chronic cough, it is also treated the same way. Acute bronchitis is a short-term illness that is usually derived from a viral infection and doesn’t require antibiotics. When diagnosed the expected recovery time is a few days to weeks. Chronic Bronchitis is a lot more serious and a life long illness.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the more common cancers. Lung cancer can develop in any part of your lungs making it difficult to detect. However, the cancer can develop in the main part of the lungs near the air sacs. It often doesn’t cause symptoms until the tumor enlarges within the lungs or spreads to other parts of the body. Symptoms include chronic coughing, changes in voice, harsh breathing sounds, and coughing up blood. Treatments for lung cancer are surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Though the outcome after treatment is better when discovered in an earlier stage, according to American Cancer Society, lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the U.S.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a common lung disease caused by an infection in the air sacs in the lungs. It can be caused by bacterial, viral or fungal infections. Symptoms include cough, fever, shaking, chills, and shortness of breath. Pneumonia can be cured within a few weeks, or for some can be serious and life-threatening. Treatments include over the counter prescriptions and breathing treatments.

Spring Hills is connecting the heart and lungs for healthier living by launching more comprehensive clinical programs.

To help meet the needs of those with COPD, the 3rd leading cause of death in the USA and one of the major causes of admissions and readmissions to the hospitals, Spring Hills launched its first Cardio-Pulmonary Program on March 2, 2021. The goal of the program is to reduce admissions and readmissions to the hospitals and to improve care of COPD patients during their stay at Spring Hills facilities and after discharge to the patient’s home. This will be done through  a thorough evaluation of patients admitted to our facilities, teamwork during their stay and excellent communications with the patient’s primary care physician and their community Pulmonologist in addition to follow-up by Spring Hills Population Health for 90 days to ensure a patient’s help with their medical and  social needs.

The Spring Hills Pulmonary team will include:

  • Pulmonologist
  • Advanced Nurse practitioner
  • A trained Nursing staff in COPD 
  • Respiratory therapist
  • Social worker/ Case management
  • Nutritionist 
  • Speech pathologist consult if needed
  • Rehabilitation department

This is just one part of the Spring Hills commitment to caring for chronic healthcare conditions. The Spring Hills clinical team is focused on providing the proper level of support at the right time in the right place which will support their health and capabilities. As health status changes, it is critical that we support these medical needs with a comprehensive, specialized care approach with clinicians that provide support to the patient. Our goal is to ensure fast recoveries and safe discharges to home where our patients can live happy.

We aspire to connect to what matters by matching our care plans to meet lifestyle and environment. Our healthcare continuum of care caters to individual needs with a proactive, holistic approach, ensuring that wherever your path may lead, personalized support will be ready when you need it, every step along the way. Life is what you make it, and we are here to help make it wonderful.

We believe that Caring with a Commitment to Quality™ should be at the core of every health care decision. Committed to maintaining health, comfort and independence, we focus on meeting every individual’s current and future needs, while never losing sight of the details that matter most: your well-being. As your health needs change, we will be with you every step of the way.

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