Tag: lung

January 21, 2015

SmokeWhat is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is the disease when cells in one or both of the lungs undergo abnormal changes and grow out of control. These abnormal cells cannot perform their regular function and reduce the lung’s ability to deliver oxygen to the blood. Tumors may also form as a result of the abnormal growth. In addition, similar to other cancers, lung cancer can spread to other parts of the body as the disease processes. According to 2008 statistics by the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most prevalent cancer type in men and women (after prostate cancer and breast cancer, respectively), and it is the number one killer among all the cancer types.

 

What causes lung cancer?

Cigarette smoking is found to be responsible for the majority of lung cancer cases. Similar to other cancer types, lung cancer takes time to develop. Therefore, although lung cancer is often diagnosed among older people, the cause of the disease usually originates from a much younger age. For this reason, young people who smoke may not immediately see the damages done to their lungs, but they may have to suffer severe consequences later in life.

 

Other risk factors for lung cancer include:

  • Secondhand smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Other lung diseases, such as tuberculosis
  • Genetic inheritance/ family history of lung cancer
  • Exposure to asbestos (a material used in the construction of older buildings)
  • Inhalation of radon gas (a gas released by soil that contains uranium)
  • Exposure to other harmful chemicals

 

Symptoms:

Symptoms may vary from person to person, but the common symptoms include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Recurrent lung problems, such as inflammation and infection.
  • Increased amount of sputum (mucus)
  • Blood in coughing

Treatment:

Lung cancer is usually treated by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these. The specific treatment plan depends on the type of lung cancer, stage of the disease, as well as the patient’s health condition.

 

Prevention:

  • Don’t smoke!! Current and former smokers have a much higher chance of developing lung cancer.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke
  • Avoid exposure to radon and asbestos. Have your home tested if needed.
  • Avoid exposure to other harmful chemicals
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise regularly

 

Resources:

October 22, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic airway disease. It occurs when the airways in your lungs become inflamed and constricted, causing breathing problems. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • A wheezing sound when breathing
  • Feeling of tightness or pain on the chest
  • Excessive mucus production
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing

What Are “Asthma Attacks”?

Asthma attacks are episodes of increased asthma symptoms characterized by tightening of airways and difficulty breathing. An attack can start suddenly, and the level of severity varies each time and from person to person. Mild attacks are more common and usually go away in minutes after taking quick-relief medications. In more severe cases, the person may become breathless, and the situation can be life threatening. People with asthma should discuss with doctors how asthma attacks should be handled and are recommended to carry quick-relief medications (usually inhalers) at all times.

 

Who Gets Asthma?

About one third of asthma sufferers are under the age of 18. The cause of asthma is not fully understood, but a number of risk factors are found to increase an individual’s chance of developing this disease:

  • A family history of asthma
  • Frequent respiratory infections as a child
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Living in an environment with severe air pollution
  • Frequent exposure to harmful chemicals

 

What Are Asthma Triggers?

People with asthma have inflamed airways that are sensitive to many things that do not bother other people. Staying away from these triggers helps to prevent asthma attacks:

  • Allergens: dust, dust mites, pollens, molds, and household pets
  • Irritants in the air: smoke from cigarettes, wood fires, or charcoal grills; strong odors from household sprays, paint, gasoline, or perfumes.
  • Food items that you are allergic to.
  • Respiratory infections such as cold, flue, sore throats, and sinus infections
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Strong emotions such as anger, fear, or excitement

 

Tips for Living with Asthma:

  • Keep your home environment clean.
  • Identify and avoid contact with your asthma triggers.
  • Take your medications as prescribed. If you use an inhaler, make sure you know how to use it correctly.
  • Recognize the symptoms of asthma attacks. The procedure to handle asthma attacks may vary depending on your medical condition. Ask your doctor for instructions.
  • Always keep quick-relief medications with you.
  • Monitor your asthma by using a “peak flow meter” to check your lung function.
  • Let your doctor know if you think your asthma is worsening.
  • Don’t let asthma keep you away from the sports or activities you love. A number of Olympic and professional athletes have asthma. Talk to your doctor about exercise guidelines.

 

For More Information on Asthma: