Lung Disease Warning Signs: What To Watch Out For

Lung disease can affect the ability to breathe, potentially causing short-term or long-term damage to our overall health. Estimates by the American Lung Association suggested more than 35 million Americans have a preventable chronic lung disease.

The category of lung disease includes a number of conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the United States, asthma is the most common one affecting approximately 25 million people.

Mild symptoms should be checked out as early detection can improve treatment outcomes and potentially be life-saving. Here are some lung disease warning signs to watch out for.

Cough problems

Usually, a regular cough as a result of a cold will gradually disappear over a fortnight at most. But if your cough has been very persistent and has not shown any signs of slowing down, it may be worth seeing a doctor about it.

In more serious cases, you might be coughing up blood. This indicated damage to the respiratory tract, which could be caused by altitude, medication, or the cough itself, or lung cancer.

Remember to take note if the cough problems started after being exposed to a potential trigger in your daily routine. For example, if you have been spending more time around smokers lately. Informing the doctor about any change in lifestyle will be useful in diagnosing the source of the problem.

Breathing difficulties

If not related to obesity or heart problems, shortness of breath which occurs suddenly and without a reason could indicate asthma or COPD. According to the Mayo Clinic, it could also be an early warning sign of a collapsed lung, an obstruction in the airway, pneumonia, blood clot in an artery in the lung, etc. 

If the sound of your breathing sounds unusual, resembling a wheezing noise (a high-pitched whistling sound), there is a chance of an inflammation, a tumor, or even a foreign object blocking your airways.

Pain in various body parts

Constantly feeling tired? Watch out if fatigue does not respond to interventions and is accompanied by pain. For instance, pulmonary fibrosis can affect tissues of the body which leads to aching muscles and joints.

Lung cancer has been linked to back pain which worsens when you take a deep breath and occurs even when you are at rest. This pain can often spread and affect the chest and shoulder areas.

"You should also note whether it’s confined to a specific area or occurring throughout your chest," the Healthline website stated. "When lung cancer causes chest pain, the discomfort may result from enlarged lymph nodes or metastasis to the chest wall, the lining around the lungs, called pleura, or the ribs."