Your Health: Signs your lungs aren’t healthy

The signs to look out for that may show your lungs are not healthy.
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 9:36 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The signs to look out for that may show your lungs are not healthy. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and lung cancer are all serious lung diseases that can be fatal and drastically impact a person’s quality of life.

However, early intervention can make a big difference when it comes to treatment and outcomes.

A cough for a few weeks after having the flu, or bronchitis is possibly nothing to sneeze at, but a chronic cough that persists for much longer can signal something more serious like mesothelioma cancer, which is caused by asbestos exposure. Smoking has long been associated with lung cancer.

“The biggest risk factor, it turns out, for getting lung cancer is having lungs,” said Dr. Siddhartha Devarakonda, an oncologist at Washington University School of Medicine.

“There’s a good number that can have cancers that have never smoked,” added Dr. Raja Flores, a thoracic surgeon at Icahn School of Medicine- Mount Sinai Hospital. However, shoulder pain can be linked to lung cancer when a pulmonary embolism happens.

Some other signs to look for possible lung trouble:

  • blue fingernails can be a sign of cyanosis, a condition in which there is not enough oxygen circulating throughout the blood
  • swelling in your legs can be a sign of a blood clot that can travel to your lungs
  • issues with memory and concentration, morning headaches
  • and constantly feeling tired can all be symptoms of sleep apnea, a disease in which sleep is interrupted when a person’s breathing stops.

Another sign is a changing voice. Paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction can make your voice softer when your lungs are not able to strongly exhale due to a lack of strength.

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