How to Tell If I Have Lung Problems

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The term "lung problems" covers a variety of different ailments, ranging from asthma to lung cancer to influenza. Most lung problems fall into the category of lung disease, a condition that is responsible for one-seventh of the annual deaths in the United States. Determining if you have a lung problem can be difficult, because the signs are not always obvious. But there are a few classic symptoms that you should know to look out for.

Think about your ability to bring oxygen into your lungs. Do you frequently have trouble breathing or feel like you can’t get enough air? This is often a sign that you have lung problems.

Do you have a chronic cough? It’s normal to have a cough while suffering from a cold or the flu, but a cough that continues to linger after you’ve recovered is often a sign that something is still wrong with your lungs.

Have you coughed up blood? Coughing up blood is nearly always a sign that something’s not right in your body, although it might be due to a condition other than lung disease.

Do you have pain in your chest? Chest pain can be caused by other factors, but it also can accompany lung disease.

Evaluate whether your ability to exercise or sustain some other type of aerobic activity has diminished recently. While you may have attributed this change merely to aging, recent drops in stamina also could be signs that your lungs are not working as they should.

Visit your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these warning signs for lung disease. Your doctor probably will do some tests to evaluate your lung function and look for lung problems.

Even if you’re not experiencing any of these symptoms, take a moment to think about your general feeling of well-being. Do you feel healthy and vibrant, or tired and rundown? If you feel a constant lack of energy, especially if you’ve already taken other healthy measures such as getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet, you should see your doctor. In some cases, people in the early stages of lung disease exhibit no symptoms other than mild fatigue.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're at all concerned about whether you might have lung problems, make an appointment to see your doctor. Only your doctor can conclusively tell if you have lung problems. If you are suffering from lung disease, an early diagnosis could be important for treating your condition.

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