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III. Clinical Manifestations of Respiratory Diseases

Here are some of the symptoms that patients with disease of the respiratory tract can present with:

– Nasal symptoms

  • Obstruction
  • Leakage – rhinitis, epistaxis (epistaxis may be one of the signs of Nasopharyngeal carcinoma – there may also be associated tinnitus or ‘blocked ear’)
  • Snoring (eg. obstructive sleep apnoea)

– Cough

  • Dry or Productive (nature of sputum is helpful eg. purulent – think infection; bloody – think neoplasm; frothy – think heart failure etc.)

– Dyspnoea (shortness of breath)

  • Many different conditions can cause this, eg. infections (pneumonia – inflammatory exudates filling alveolar spaces rather than air); respiratory distress syndrome COPD; asthma; interstitial lung disease; pneumothorax; respiratory failure; heart failure etc.

– Chest wall symptoms

  • Pain – eg. pneumothorax; trauma; costochondritis; advanced tumours infiltrating parietal pleura (pain receptors present)

– Systemic symptoms

  • General malaise, loss of appetite and loss of weight (tuberculosis; malignancy)
  • Cyanosis (symptom or clinical sign) – Type 2 respiratory failure

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