Lung Health & Disease

Lung Health & Disease Articles

20-second CT scan cuts lung cancer deaths, but is it right for you?

Having a CT scan to detect early stage lung cancer prevents death in current or former smokers at high risk of developing lung cancer. Early testing and treatment includes potential harms as well as benefits. Insurance will probably not pay the cost of the first CT scan to check for signs of cancer. If the scan shows a suspicious feature, repeat tests and procedures may be necessary to diagnose cancer. During the follow-up period, the possibility of having cancer can cause anxiety and fear in some people. CT scans add to your lifetime exposure of radiation and the associated long-term risk of cancer. Talk to your doctor before seeking the test. (Locked) More »

Unexplained shortness of breath

Shortness of breath is a common occurrence associated with many heart and lung problems. Diagnosis of the underlying cause is necessary to prescribe effective treatment. Yet standard tests fail to pinpoint the problem in many. Harvard experts say a sophisticated form of cardiopulmonary exercise testing is often effective. Once the cause is known, breathlessness can often be eliminated or reduced with medical or surgical treatment, or cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation. (Locked) More »

ACE inhibitors may lower pneumonia risk

A recent study found an additional benefit to angiotensin-converting–enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which help relax blood vessels and can help lower blood pressure. Researchers found that ACE inhibitors are also associated with a significant reduction in pneumonia risk. (Locked) More »

The dangers of pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary arterial hypertension occurs when arteries that supply the lungs become stiff and thick. The most common symptom is mild shortness of breath, although women tend to feel fatigued as well. Other symptoms can include dizziness, fainting, chest pain, and swollen legs and ankles. Because the symptoms are common, individuals are often diagnosed first with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is not until they fail to improve with treatment that pulmonary artery hypertension is considered. New medications plus fluid management, exercise, a low-salt diet, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and adequate sleep are extending life for people with this chronic condition. (Locked) More »

When a clot interferes with blood flow

Blood clots that form in the legs (deep-vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism) can be painful, and even deadly. Deep-vein thrombosis typically causes pain and swelling in the affected limb. The sensations are uncomfortable enough that most people are compelled to seek medical care. If the clot travels to the lungs, it can be fatal: 25% of people die before—or shortly after—they seek help. Prompt treatment and good follow-up can minimize the danger. The clot is treated with anticoagulants, first in the hospital, then at home. Once the clot is dissolved, attention turns to preventing another one from forming. (Locked) More »