Symptoms Afforded by Variations of the
Breathing may be quickened, difficult or laborious, slow, thoracic, or abdominal; and be attended by such signs as sneezing, coughing, sighing, or yawning. The breath may be hot, as in some internal inflammations; or cold, as in cases of great prostration; bad smelling, as in abscess or gangrene of the lung, occasionally during convalescence from bronchitis; from catarrh; from certain diseased bones of the head; from bad teeth; or from certain disordered conditions of the stomach, throat, tongue, gums, or cheeks.
Quickened Breathing indicates recent exercise or excitement;
fevers, pain, or anything which accelerates the circulation of the blood;
or prevents the free access of air into the lungs.
Difficult Breathing (dyspnoea), may depend upon pain, as in pleurisy, disease of the muscles between the ribs; wounds or injury to the chest, external as well as internal.
Anything which diminishes the free use of the nostrils, larynx, or windpipe may make the breathing exceedingly difficult and be accompanied by such sounds as those designated by the terms blowing, roaring, or whistling. In heaves in horses the breathing is often made distressing and noisy by exercise. All diseases of the lungs by which any considerable portion of these organs are made impervious to air, or through which a dropsy into the cavity of the chest (hydrothorax) takes place, give rise to this symptom.
Difficult breathing is not always to be regarded as indicating disease of the respiratory organs only, for in many acute diseases, entirely unassociated with those organs, the breathing not only becomes quickened, but labored and difficult to an extreme degree. It should always, however, be regarded as a symptom of importance, not only as pointing clearly to certain diseases, but as indicating grave alterations in the condition of the blood, or in the functions of the nervous system. Diseases may be seriously aggravated, and a tendency to a fatal termination given them by difficult breathing, owing to the decreased oxygenation of the blood.
Snoring or Stertorous breathing arises from a relaxed condition of tissues at the posterior part of the mouth, and, when associated with disease, is a symptom of some gravity, showing the presence of a disorder because of which the brain is not performing its proper function; not necessarily disease of the brain. So long as the respiratory movements remain fairly strong and frequent it does not indicate immediate danger, but when the movements are slow, that of inspiration delayed, the general sensitiveness will be diminished even to complete insensibility (coma), and death will be near.
Slow Breathing, if marked, indicates some disordered condition of the brain.
Thoracic Breathing denotes that the muscles of the abdomen (belly) are prevented from participating, to their usual and natural extent, in the performance of the respiratory movements. The condition indicates some trouble within the abdominal cavity, or painful injury to its walls. Its presence suggests dropsy into the cavity, which may mean organic disease of the liver or kidneys, or other less frequent but important organic disorders; anemia, acute inflammation of the lining membrane (peritonitis), wind colic, large abdominal tumors, or pain from injuries or wounds of the abdominal walls, as from a hard blow given with a club, or laceration of the skin or parts immediately beneath, as from a barbed wire or other cutting or tearing instrument.
Abdominal Breathing is present when the movements are per
formed as fully as possible, by the muscles of the belly, the ribs being held as still as they can be. Its presence indicates some painful dis. order or an obstruction within the chest, as pleurisy, or dropsy; or painful condition of the walls, as from injuries to them, or inflammation of the muscles between the ribs.
Irregular Breathing indicates a condition in which the usual harmony between the inspiratory and expiratory movements ceases to exist. It is seen in heaves in horses, certain cases of chronic bronchitis, asthma, and, less frequently, other disorders.
Cough. Of this several varieties and sub varieties are described. Of these there are two greater divisions: the moist and the dry.
The Moist Cough, sufficiently described by its name, is present in the later stages of catarrhal fever and bronchitis, as well as in any cases wherein the natural fluid secretion of any part of the air passages is increased.
The Dry Cough is generally present in the ea7ly stages of catarrh, bronchitis, or pleurisy, as well as irritation arising from any marked disturbances of the membrane lining the air passages; in dentition, when there is a loud, dry cough, frequently repeated, at intervals (spasmodic).
Cough does not always indicate diseases of the air passages, for it is often present in certain forms of indigestion, or in animals, dogs and horses principally, that have worms, as well as from choke and less common causes. These are all called sympathetic coughs.
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