Lung Health & Disease

Lung Health & Disease Articles

Are you at risk for COPD?

COPD includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, severe asthma, or a combination of these conditions. They cause inflammation, destruction or abnormal repair of airways and lung tissue, which reduces airflow. Even though most cases of COPD are linked to smoking, about a fifth of all cases are linked to other causes, such as poorly controlled asthma, abnormal lung development, and air pollution. Treatment may involve inhaled medications to reduce inflammation and to open the airways, antibiotics, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation (exercise, education, and support), and surgical or nonsurgical procedures to improve lung function. More »

As an ex-smoker, am I still at high risk for lung cancer?

Quitting smoking is the best health move any person can make. Improved lung function and lower heart attack risk can happen almost immediately after someone quits smoking, but it takes more than 10 years of not smoking to see a dramatic decrease in cancer risk. (Locked) More »

What to do for bronchitis

Although bronchitis may last up to three weeks, it usually doesn’t warrant antibiotics or medical treatment. Rest, fluids, acetaminophen for pain, nonprescription cough remedies, and steam therapy can ease symptoms. (Locked) More »

Battling breathlessness

Shortness of breath is one of the most common problems people bring to their doctors. The most obvious causes such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coronary artery disease are relatively easy to uncover with a battery of standard tests. For some people, however, the source of the problem remains frustratingly elusive. Advanced cardiopulmonary testing that measures heart and lung function during exercise can often provide answers. (Locked) More »

Emphysema

Emphysema is a respiratory disease that makes it hard to breathe. Normally, when you take a breath, air travels from your nose and mouth through your windpipe and into the bronchi. These are small air passages that branch off into each lung. The bronchi branch further into thousands of smaller, thinner tubes that end in grape-like clusters of small, round air sacs called alveoli.  Tiny blood vessels absorb oxygen from the air through the walls of the alveoli and deliver it to cells throughout the body. Carbon dioxide moves in the opposite direction. It passes out of the bloodstream, back into the alveoli, and is then eliminated from the body when you breathe out. More »

Medicare covers lung cancer screening

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) covers lung cancer screening for people who meet certain criteria and seek the service at a qualified center. To be covered, a man would need to see his primary care doctor to be counseled on the pros and cons of screening and get referred to a qualified center for the testing. Screening is still available outside of Medicare but may not offer the same quality of follow-up for suspicious findings. Most findings don’t turn out to be cancer, but follow-up testing comes with potential complications, such as infection after needle biopsy of the lung. (Locked) More »

Short of breath? Here's what you can do

Corticosteroids and short- and long-acting bronchodilators have roles in treating asthma and COPD. Getting the right diagnosis, finding the right mix of inhaled medications, and using inhalers properly is critical to controlling your condition. More »