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Pulmonary Disease

Pneumonia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, and Thromboembolic Disease

Vera A. De Palo Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island and Brown Medical School, 111 Brewster St, Pawtucket, RI 02860.

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Although many medical problems are generally managed in concert with a general medical physician, it is important for the podiatric physician to be familiar with some of the major diseases of the lung. Pneumonia, an infectious process within the lung, is the sixth-leading overall cause of death. Antibiotic treatment, oxygen administration, and supportive care are the mainstays of its therapy. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease presents as a spectrum from chronic bronchitis, with a greater inflammatory component, to emphysema, with a more significant destructive component. Asthma, often a more episodic chronic obstructive disease, is characterized by inflammation of the airways leading to their narrowing. The work of breathing is often increased in these diseases, and treatment is with combination therapies with a focus on smoking cessation. Thromboembolic disease, the occlusion of blood vessels with consequent interruption of blood flow, may occur in a patient with risk factors, especially after surgery. Treatment is with anticoagulation agents or in some cases with thrombolysis. Prophylaxis is key. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(2): 157-167, 2004)