The lungs are part of a complex apparatus, expanding and relaxing thousands of times each day to bring in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
There are many types of lung disease including pneumonia, asthma and tuberculosis and lung cancer.
But what are the early warning signs of lung cancer? Here are seven things that could indicate you are suffering from the life-threatening disease:
1. Chronic cough
A cough that doesn’t go away after two or three weeks or a long-standing cough that gets worse.
This is an important early symptom that tells you something is wrong with your respiratory system.
2. Persistent chest infections
Chest infections are common, especially after a cold or flu during autumn and winter. But if you just can’t get rid of it, it could be a sign of something more serious.
Noisy breathing or wheezing is a sign that something unusual is blocking your lungs’ airways or making them too narrow.
Wheezing from one side of your chest is a common sign that you have a tumour.
4. Coughing up blood
If you are coughing up blood, it may be coming from your lungs or upper respiratory tract. Wherever it’s coming from, it signals a health problem.
5. Pain when breathing
Pain while breathing could be an early warning sign of cancer. Laboured or difficult breathing – the feeling that it is hard to breathe in out – is also a red flag.
6. Tiredness of lack of energy
Everyone gets tired and run down from time to time, but if you constantly feel exhausted you should contact your doctor.
Tiredness of lack of energy could be a sign of lung disease, but it’s also a symptom of type-2 diabetes.
7. Loss of appetite/unexplained weight loss
If you’re normally a big eater, but you’ve suddenly gone off your food this could be a sign of something more serious.
Losing weight suddenly for no reason could also be a symptom.
How to prevent lung disease?
There are certain factors which increase your risk of lung disease and there ore there are certain ways you can protect yourself against it. Here are four easy ways to reduce your risk:
1. Quit smoking
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, accordion to Cancer Research UK. Lung cancer death risk is around 15 times higher in current smokers compared with never-smokers, a cohort study of British males showed.
2. Eat more fruit and veg
Choose a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Food sources of vitamins and nutrients are best. Avoid taking large doses of vitamins in pill form, as they may be harmful.
Insufficient fruit and vegetables intake is linked to an estimated 9% of lung cancer cases in the UK.
3. Exercise regularly
If you currently don’t do any exercise, start slowly and build up to three sessions a week.
4. Avoid carcinogens at work
It you work with toxic chemicals, make sure to take all precautions to protect yourself.
If given a face mask make sure you always wear it and ask your doctor what you can do to protect yourself further.
If you are concerned about any of the symptoms above please see your doctor immediately.