Breathing Lessons: A Doctor's Guide to Lung Health

Breathing Lessons: A Doctor's Guide to Lung Health

by MeiLan K. Han M. D.
Breathing Lessons: A Doctor's Guide to Lung Health

Breathing Lessons: A Doctor's Guide to Lung Health

by MeiLan K. Han M. D.


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An authoritative, accessible guide to how our lungs work and how to protect them.

Every day, our lungs circulate 11,000 liters of air, provide us with life-sustaining oxygen, and allow us to speak, sing, and smell. It’s no secret that our lungs are one of our most vital organs, and yet most of us pay them little attention. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has reminded us of the importance of our lungs, and sparked interest in their function and the risks they face.

In Breathing Lessons, leading pulmonologist and national spokesperson for the American Lung Association Dr. MeiLan K. Han takes readers on a fascinating tour of this neglected yet crucial organ. Han explains the wonder of breathing and reveals how the lungs serve as the body’s first line of defense. She provides a timely overview of the latest scientific thinking about the leading respiratory risks—including indoor and outdoor pollution, smoking and vaping, wildfire smoke, and viruses like SARS-CoV-2—and offers practical advice on how to protect the lungs at each stage of our lives, beginning in the womb. She outlines the major categories of chronic lung disease and demystifies the process lung doctors go through in making a diagnosis and recommending treatments. With authority as both practitioner and medical researcher, Han argues powerfully for social policies that make preserving lung health a national priority.

Breathing Lessons is a rallying cry for lung health and an urgent call to start giving our lungs the attention they deserve.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393866629
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 11/02/2021
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,090,880
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

MeiLan K. Han, MD, is a professor of medicine and Chief of the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care at the University of Michigan and a national spokesperson for the American Lung Association. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 How the Lungs Work 1

Lung Structure 3

The Mechanics of Respiration 18

2 The Battle Within: Your Lungs versus the World 25

The Lung Microbiome 29

Infections 30

Viral Infections 31

SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 38

Bacterial Infections 44

Mycobacterial Infections 49

Fungal Infections 53

3 Protecting Your Lungs for Life 55

Protecting Lungs in the Womb 58

Protecting Lungs in Childhood 66

Protecting Lungs in Adulthood 76

4 How Pulmonologists Think: The Science and Art of Diagnosing Lung Diseases 85

The Medical Interview 90

The Physical Exam 95

Pulmonary Function Testing 97

Imaging 101

Bronchoscopy 105

5 A Short Guide to Chronic Lung Diseases 109

Asthma 109

Clinical Presentation and Diagnosis 111

Treatment 112

COPD 114

Clinical Presentation and Diagnosis 115

Treatment 116

Cystic Fibrosis 118

Clinical Presentation and Diagnosis 119

Treatment 120

Interstitial Lung Diseases 121

Clinical Presentation and Diagnosis 123

Treatment 124

Lung Cancer 125

Clinical Presentation and Diagnosis 127

Treatment 128

Pulmonary Circulatory Disorders 130

Clinical Presentation and Diagnosis 131

Treatment 132

Respiratory Failure 133

Stem Cell Therapy 135

6 The Fifth Vital Sign 137

A Brief History Lesson 138

Finding Solutions 146

The Future of Lung Health 150

Acknowledgments 153

Notes 155

Illustration Credits 163

Index 165

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