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Pulmonary and Intensive Care Specialists of New Jersey
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If you or your loved ones have breathing issues, please STOP VAPING and make an appointment for evaluation.


Avoidance of Allergens and Pollutants

Avoidance measures that improve the control of asthma and reduce medication needs:

• Tobacco smoke: Stay away from tobacco smoke. Patients and family members should not smoke.

  Drugs, foods, and additives: Avoid them if they are known to cause symptoms.

• Occupational sensitizers: Reduce or, preferably, avoid exposure to these agents.

Reasonable avoidance measures that can be recommended but have not been shown to have clinical benefits:

• House dust mites: Wash bed linens and blankets weekly in hot water and dry in a hot dryer or in the the sun. Encase pillows and mattresses in airtight covers.

• Replace carpets with hard flooring, especially in bedrooms. (If possible, use a vacuum cleaner with filters. Use acaricides or tannic acid to kill mites, but make sure the patient is not at home when the treatment occurs.)

• Animals with fur: Use air filters. (Remove animals from the home or at least from the sleeping area. Wash the pet.)

 Cockroaches: Clean the home thoroughly and often. Use pesticide spray, but make sure the patient is not at home when spraying occurs.

• Outdoor pollens and mold: Close windows and doors and remain indoors when pollen and mold counts are highest.

• Indoor mold: Reduce dampness in the home; clean any damp areas frequently.


This glossary, written in layman's terms, is intended to help patients understand their conditions, related diseases and other medical terms. Please feel free to ask your physician to answer any questions you may have concerning your diagnosis or these terms at your scheduled appointment with that doctor.

Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Deficiency: An inherited condition that may cause Emphysema even in non-smokers. It is easily detected with a blood test and, if found, can be treated.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease): A chronic progressive neurologic disease caused by degeneration of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that are responsible for muscle activity, leading to weakness of those muscles and loss of function. Besides losing the ability to perform everyday functions, it can interfere with breathing and swallowing.


Asbestos: An "inert mineral" that can cause serious respiratory abnormalities, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, pulmonary fibrosis and respiratory failure.


Asbestosis: A condition of the lungs caused by inhalation of asbestos particles.


Asthma: A chronic disease of the bronchial tubes characterized by recurrent episodes of inflammation and constriction of those bronchial tubes causing dyspnea, wheezing cough and mucus production. Asthma may either be allergic or non-allergic, and asthma symptoms may be "triggered" by exposure to allergens, irritants, cold air, respiratory infections, acid reflux and cold air.

Black Lung (Coal Miner's Pneumoconiosis): An occupational lung disease resulting from work in and around coal mines.


Bronchiectasis: A chronic condition (included under COPD) of the bronchial tubes in which they are widened and chronically inflamed, usually the result of a previous severe infection such as whooping cough, tuberculosis or pneumonia, or sometimes related to recurrent infections from an immune deficiency or Cystic Fibrosis. Patients with bronchiectasis get recurrent infections and have cough, phlegm, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Chronic Bronchitis: A condition (included under COPD) where patients have persistent cough with phlegm, and may have wheezing and shortness of breath. It is usually the result of smoking.

Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID): A disorder characterized by low levels of serum immunoglobulins (antibodies) and an increased susceptibility to infections.


COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease): A group of diseases of the lungs affecting the bronchial tubes and/or lung tissue, most of which are a result of smoking. They include emphysema, chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis. While asthma is not usually included in this group in the United States, it can be associated with the above conditions.


CT SCAN (computed tomography): A type of X-ray used to show a cross section of the body’s tissues and organs.


Cystic Fibrosis: A hereditary (genetic) disease of the lungs and gastrointestinal tract associated with frequent infections and shortness of breath.


Dyspnea: The sensation of not being able to take in enough air into the lungs (shortness of breath).


Emphysema: A chronic respiratory disease (included under COPD) where there is over-inflation and destruction of the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, causing a decrease in lung function, wheezing, and dyspnea. It is often associated with Chronic Bronchitis and usually caused by smoking (but can occasionally be caused by a hereditary condition, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency).


Lung Cancer:  A malignancy arising within the lung, most commonly resulting from inhalation of carcinogens such as tobacco and asbestos and, less commonly, radon. It is usually classified as either small cell or non small cell (includes adeno, squamous, large cell and undifferentiated), which may affect treatment. Additionally cancers can be found in the lungs that arise elsewhere and spread to the lungs.


Mesothelioma: A cancer of the lining around the lung almost always caused by inhalation of Asbestos.


MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): A method of obtaining detailed pictures of internal body structures without the use of radiation or radioactive substances of any kind. This is accomplished by placing the patient in a magnetic field where radio waves are turned on and off.

Myasthenia Gravis: A neurologic disease causing weakness of various muscles that can impair breathing.


Occupational Lung Diseases: Diseases contracted, usually at work, through inhalation of various dusts and gases. They may affect the lung tissue, causing scarring (fibrosis), or the bronchial tubes (airways), causing wheezing and shortness of breath. Included are Pneumoconioses (contracted from mineral dusts) and occupational asthma. Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), a condition similar to asthma caused by a specific inhalation, may be occupational or non-occupational.


PET SCAN (Positron Emission Tomography): The image produced by the PET scan contains information about metabolic processes taking place in the body that may be helpful in diagnosing cancer or finding the spread of a cancer.


Pleural Effusion: Fluid that collects in the space between the lungs and chest wall. It may be caused by many different conditions. Some fluid may have to be removed with a needle (thoracentesis) in order to determine the cause and the necessary treatment.

Pneumonia: A disease of the lung tissue that is usually infectious in origin (bacterial or viral). Some non-infectious inflammatory diseases of the lung are also designated as pneumonias.


Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs): Tests performed to determine the type and severity of breathing impairment. They are important in evaluating for the presence of lung disease, response to treatment and disability extent.


Pneumoconiosis: A group of lung diseases caused by inhalation of fine particles of mineral dusts that leads to scarring of the lungs with impairment of breathing. These diseases usually occur secondary to occupational exposures and include: Asbestosis, Coal Miner's Pneumoconiosis, Beryliosis and Silicosis.


Pulmonary fibrosis: Diseases of the lungs characterized by diffuse and often progressive scarring of the lung tissues, impairing the lungs' ability to transfer oxygen into the blood. Causes include exposure to mineral dusts (see Pneumoconiosis), some arthritic conditions (including scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis), toxins, some medications, assorted diseases and unknown factors.


Respiratory Failure: Severe impairment of the lungs (can be acute or chronic), greatly reducing the lungs' ability to transfer adequate amounts of oxygen into the blood. This is often life-threatening and the causes are varied.


Sarcoidosis: An inflammatory disease affecting the lungs and other organs, whose cause is not known.


Silicosis: A fibrosing disease of the lung caused by inhalation (usually occupational) of fine particles of silicate dust (usually derived from sand).


Sleep Apnea: A common condition in which impairment of breathing (pauses in breathing or shallow breathing) disturbs sleep. Patients usually have periods of loud snoring during sleep and sleepiness during the day.


Tuberculosis (TB): An infectious disease of the lung caused by a bacteria, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. It is treatable with antibiotics.


Pulmonary and Intensive Care Specialists of New Jersey
593 Cranbury Road
East Brunswick, NJ  08816
Phone: (732) 613-8880
Fax: (732) 613-0077

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