What Are The Warning Signs Of Lung Disease?

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You might have lung disease if your coughing lasts 8 wks or longer or you experience shortness of breath. Other symptoms to look out for are mucus or phlegm production that has lasted a month, noisy breathing or wheezing, coughing up blood, unexplained chest pain that lasts for a month or more, especially if it gets worse when you breathe in or cough,

Lung diseases are some of the most common medical conditions in the world. Your lungs are delicate organs, and breathing of contaminated air can directly affect your health.

Though the human body has it’s own way of letting us know that something is wrong with it, lung disease may not produce any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. However, knowing the early warning signs of lung disease can help you receive treatment before the disease becomes serious or even life-threatening.

What Is Lung Disease?

Lung disease1 is any problem in the lungs that prevents the lungs from working properly. Breathing problems caused by lung disease may prevent the body from getting enough oxygen. Examples of lung diseases are:2

Signs And Symptoms Of Lung Disease

Early signs of lung disease are easy to overlook. Often, an early sign of lung disease is not having your usual level of energy. Depending upon the severity of the condition, people diagnosed with lung disease will experience different signs and symptoms.3 Common signs are:

1. Chronic Cough

Chronic cough is defined as cough lasting eight weeks or longer in adults, and four weeks in children.This is considered as one of the earliest symptoms of lung disease.

2. Shortness Of Breath

Another common warning sign for lung disease is shortness of breath. Shortness of breath has many causes, affecting either the breathing passages and lungs or the heart/blood vessels. If you are constantly finding it hard to breathe in or out, this could be a good indication that something is wrong with your lungs.

3. Increased Mucus Production

Mucus, also called sputum or phlegm, is produced by the lungs airways (bronchi). It is a defense response to infections or irritants. If your mucus production has lasted a month, this could indicate a lung disease.

4. Wheezing

Wheezing is a whistling sound that occurs during breathing, usually during expiration (breathing air out of the lungs) through narrowed airways. Noisy breathing or wheezing is a sign that something unusual is blocking your lungs airways or making them too narrow to breathe. Any conditions or diseases that can constrict the airways can lead to wheezing.

5. Coughing Up Blood

Coughing up blood is another warning sign of lung disease. The blood may be coming from your lungs or upper respiratory tract.

6. Chronic Chest Pain

Unexplained chest pain that lasts for a month or more, especially if it gets worse when you breathe in or cough, can also be a warning sign.

Make sure to call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

References   [ + ]

1. Lung disease
2. Approach to the patient with respiratory disease.[ref]In: Goldman L et.al. Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier;2011: chap83.
3. A Patient’s Guide to Lung Surgery.