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Overview of Respiratory Medicine
Respiratory Medicine is a broad specialty covering many areas. It is closely related to many General Medical conditions and other specialties.
The causes of lung and breathing disorders include:
Such patients usually suffer from breathlessness, cough, haemoptysis (coughing blood), chest pain, and in the case of sleep apnoea, excessive daytime sleepiness, apnoeic spells (stopped breathing spells) and snoring.
However, even non respiratory causes (e.g anaemia, hypothyroidism, neuromuscular weakness) can account for breathing symptoms, hence the close relationship with other Medical specialties. Impairment of breathing is also the commonest reason for admission to High Dependency and Intensive Care units.
In 2004 and 2006, The European Respiratory Society and British Thoracic Society, respectively produced reports suggesting that more people in the UK died from lung diseases, such as asthma and pneumonia, than in most other European Union countries.