When you first think of respiratory illnesses, the first things that come to mind are probably coughing and wheezing. However, common respiratory illnesses are so much more than coughing. These chronic conditions make it difficult to breathe. Respiratory illnesses are a common problem in the United States, mainly due to genetics or smoking, and knowing exactly what the conditions are can help you and others mange them properly – of course, with the consultation of your healthcare physician. With a combination of our portable oxygen concentrators and the medical care of your doctor, having a respiratory illness is manageable.

Most Common Respiratory Conditions

Given that respiratory illnesses are more ubiquitous than one may think, learning about them can help you identify the symptoms and what exactly is going on in the lungs. Keep in mind that if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms related to respiratory illnesses, consult a doctor for a professional diagnosis.


The most common respiratory condition, asthma, involves the inflammation and narrowing of airways.1 Symptoms associated with asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. People of all ages are affected by asthma, however, in most cases, the condition first develops during childhood.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Classified as an “umbrella term,” Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a group of various respiratory illnesses diagnosed into one. Symptoms include coughing up phlegm, shortness of breath, wheezing, blueness of the lips or fingernails, and recurring respiratory infections.2

COPD can start to develop in people as young as 30, however, it’s common for the illness to affect people in their 50s and older. One of the main causes of COPD is cigarette smoking, making it rare for someone to have this illness if they have never been exposed to any type of smoking.

Cystic Fibrosis

Essentially a genetic respiratory disease, cystic fibrosis involves a defective gene that produces thick and pasty mucus that clogs the airways. This common respiratory illness is one of the most dangerous given that it causes frequent lung infections along with obstructing the pancreas, which is responsible for producing enzymes that break down nutrients in the body.

How to Manage Respiratory Illnesses

There’s no sure way to manage common respiratory illnesses without the direct medical care of a doctor. However, there are preventative steps you can take to keep your respiratory condition from worsening.

Maintain Good Hygiene

Most common respiratory illnesses leave you susceptible to lung infections. Take the extra steps needed to prevent lung infections, which includes good hygiene. Not taking care of your hygiene can worsen your respiratory illness and lead to a trip to the hospital. So, take the extra steps to take care of your respiratory health, including, but not limited to, washing your hands frequently and keeping up with vaccines.

Oxygen Concentrators

If your doctor puts you on oxygen therapy for your respiratory condition, there are numeroOxygen Always concentrators to choose from that can suit your needs. Home oxygen concentrators like the Respironics Millennium M10 and the AirSep VisionAire 5 LPM are perfect for patients who need constant, 24-hour oxygen therapy. Want to head out to run errands or go for a walk? A lightweight, portable oxygen concentrators like the Respironics SimplyGo Mini make for the perfect companion.

Want to learn more about respiratory illnesses or our oxygen concentrator inventory? Contact us to find out more on breathing easier.


  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute – Asthma
  2. Mayo Clinic – COPD, Overview

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