New Delhi: Like other parts of the body, the lungs are an extremely important organ that needs a lot of care.
Lung diseases, excluding lung cancer, cause about 235,000 deaths each year.
The lungs age faster than other parts of the body because we breathe in toxic air, pollution and dust, smoke and other things that deteriorate the organ. Over time, the lungs lose strength, which can make breathing difficult.
But by adopting certain healthy habits, you can better maintain the health of your lungs and keep them functioning optimally, even in old age.
Your body relies on your respiratory system to provide the oxygen it needs for your organs to function. And if you struggle to breathe, your body may not get enough oxygen, and without enough oxygen, other critical organs may shut down.
Warning signs of respiratory distress
It is very important to learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of breathing problems which can help you to protect your life. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Shortness of breathe
Many people suffer from chronic shortness of breath, which means that they are short of breath and their lungs cannot get enough oxygen to breathe.
While it’s normal to be short of breath occasionally when you’re pushing yourself harder than usual, sudden and regular shortness of breath can be a sign of impending danger.
According to health experts, the lungs are involved in transporting oxygen to tissues and removing carbon dioxide, and problems with either of these processes affect your breathing. Causes of shortness of breath can be due to:
- carbon monoxide poisoning
- Excess fluid in the lungs
- lung collapse
- pulmonary embolism
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Lung cancer
Change in skin color or cyanosis
Health experts say that people who have less oxygen in their blood have a bluish color to their skin. The condition is known as cyanosis and it develops along with shortness of breath and other symptoms. Cyanosis is caused by lung problems and is a slowly evolving disease that requires immediate attention.
Causes of cyanosis in the lungs include:
- high altitudes
- respiratory tract infection
- Blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
- Pulmonary hypertension
Hemoptysis is the coughing up of blood from the respiratory tract. Massive hemoptysis can cause more than 600 ml of blood to be produced in 24 hours and lead to lung collapse.
Doctors say that in hemoptysis, blood leaves this bronchial circulation when there is trauma that causes damage to the pulmonary arteries because of a tumor caused by lung cancer. Hemoptysis is also caused by:
- severe pneumonia
- severe respiratory infection
If you are constantly wheezing or breathing loudly, it could be an indication that your airways are blocked and there is a problem with how your lungs are working.
Doctors say it’s important to report the first sign of wheezing. It is the result of inflammation and narrowing of the airways anywhere from the throat to the lungs.
The most common causes of wheezing are:
If you suffer from persistent chest pain, you should contact your doctor immediately as it could be due to:
- A blood clot in the lung is known as a pulmonary embolism, where the artery can block blood flow to the lung tissue.
- Inflammation of the membrane covering the lungs, known as pleurisy, in which chest pain gets worse when you inhale or cough.
- A collapsed lung when air leaks into the space between the lung and the ribs.
- High blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries is known as pulmonary hypertension. This condition affects the arteries that carry blood to the lungs and can cause chest pain.
Disclaimer: The tips and hints mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or nutritionist before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.