Lung Health & Disease

Lung Health & Disease Articles

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 »

Deep vein thrombosis

Blood clots are lifesavers when they seal a cut. They can be dangerous, even deadly, when they form inside an artery or vein. Deep vein thrombosis (sometimes called DVT) is the formation of a blood clot in a large leg vein. It can also occur in an arm vein. Deep vein thrombosis can lead to a stroke or pulmonary embolism. In the United States alone, deep vein thrombosis accounts for as many as 100,000 deaths a year. One-third of the survivors are left with long-term health problems. Blood that circulates to the legs and feet must flow against gravity on its journey back to the heart. The trip is aided by the contraction of leg muscles during walking or fidgeting. The contractions squeeze veins, pushing blood through them. Small flaps, or valves, inside the veins keep blood flowing in the direction of the heart. Anything that slows blood flow through the arms and legs can set the stage for a blood clot to form. This can range from having an arm or leg immobilized in a cast to prolonged sitting or being confined to bed. Things that make blood more likely to clot, such as genetic disorders and cancer, are other big triggers for deep-vein thrombosis. More »

Influenza

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus. The flu virus enters your body when you breathe in air containing infected droplets, usually generated by someone else's coughing or sneezing. Outbreaks occur nearly every winter, and vary in severity depending on that year's strain of the influenza virus. If you are like most people, you have had the flu at some point in your life. You may have felt awful for a week or so, but you got over it. Some people, though, develop serious complications such as pneumonia. Some even die from the flu. Those most at risk for complications include infants, people over age 60, and those with heart disease, lung disease, or chronic diseases that weaken the immune system, such as diabetes. The influenza virus can cause severe pneumonia. It can also weaken the lungs, allowing harmful bacteria to take over and cause bacterial pneumonia. This can happen even to healthy young adults. More »