Are your lungs in trouble? While we consciously take care of most of the organs, we seldom do anything to care for our lungs, the organ that is responsible for supplying oxygen to the blood cells. Lungs are the organ that constantly interacts with the environment and therefore even minor infections that affect lungs can cause serious illness.
Any infection or injury to the lungs not only affects our breathing but can also increase the risk of various respiratory tract diseases like asthma, tuberculosis and even cancer. But we seldom consider the minor symptoms like prolonged cough and breathlessness which are the commonly found symptoms of lung diseases. If we treat the symptoms right at the beginning, many of these serious diseases can be prevented.
Here are the 6 signs that tell you that your lungs are in danger:
1. Prolonged breathlessness:
Whether climbing stairs or performing day-to-day chores, if you feel breathless after physical exertion, it could be a cause of concern. Also, if you find it difficult to run or suffer from breathlessness most of the time, even when lying on a bed, then it is a sign of lung problem. Prolonged breathlessness can be a sign of many respiratory ailments; it can be due to bronchitis, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or cardiac ailments.
2. Excessive mucus production:
We usually ignore a productive cough or a cough with sputum. However, if you suffer from productive cough for more than three months, then consult your doctor as it could be a sign of chronic bronchitis. If this is coupled with wheezing or shortness of breath, then it could be a sign of COPD.
3. Blood in the sputum:
Another key symptom that indicates lung disease is the presence of blood in the sputum. While changes in the color of the sputum or mucus can reveal a lot about the health, right from bacterial infection to pneumonia, presence of blood can be a sign of tuberculosis. If you suffer from prolonged cough, low-grade fever and have found streaks of blood in the sputum, get tested for tuberculosis.
4. Chest pain:
You are wrong if you thought that chest pain always signifies heart attack as there’s more to chest pain than a heart attack. If you experience a sharp shooting pain in the chest when you breathe, cough or sneeze, it can be due to a lung infection caused by bacteria or virus. In rare cases, it can signify a blood clot in the arteries of the lungs, blocking blood flow to the lungs, knows as pulmonary embolism.
A whistling or rattling sound in the lungs or wheezing is undoubtedly a symptom of decreased lung function. It indicates that the lungs are finding it difficult to breathe due to narrowing of the airways or arterial block due to foreign particles. In most cases, wheezing is associated with inflammation due to asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, allergic reaction or physical obstruction caused due to a tumor or a foreign particle.
6. Chronic cough:
Last but the most important sign that the lungs are in danger is a chronic cough. While a cough is a common occurrence due to a viral infection or common cold, it should start to improve after two –three weeks. However, if it fails to do so and lasts for more than eight weeks, then it is a sign of concern. This is the time you should go to a respiratory specialist and get tested to diagnose the underlying cause of the condition. Some of the common causes of a chronic cough include bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia and tuberculosis.