Respiratory Health

6 Warning Signs of Lung Damage

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Diwali, the vibrant festival of lights, is just around the corner. While the festival illuminates the skies, it also adds to the pollution levels. Many people experience severe coughing and difficulty breathing during the festivity season as the smoke from the crackers affects lung function adversely. It is well known that the lungs are crucial for providing oxygen to the body. Therefore, to prevent any permanent damage, one must know about the early signs and symptoms of lung damage.

What is lung damage?

Any pathology, affecting the lung tissue, in the form of an infection, tumour, or tissue disorder can lead to lung damage. Damaged lungs cannot pass enough oxygen into the blood, resulting in an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.

What are the types of lung damage or diseases?

Lung disorders are based on the tissues affected. Some of the common lung diseases include:

  • Asthma- It is a disorder of the bronchial tubes, the tubes that carry oxygen in and out of the body.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder(COPD)- Includes two entities; Bronchitis and Emphysema. It is a disorder of the lung tissue causing huge amounts of mucus to accumulate in the airways.
  • Lung cancer- There is abnormal lung tissue growth leading to compression of surrounding normal lung tissue.

Early signs of lung damage

Some of the common symptoms of lung damage include:

  1. Cough- Nagging, chronic cough can be a sign of lung infection
  2. Shortness of breath- When the airways are blocked or narrowed, the air is forced to pass through a narrow passage leading to shortness of breath during daily activities
  3. Inability or difficulty in exercising for longer periods- Since there is shortness of breath, one finds it increasingly difficult to exercise or do strenuous work.
  4. Chest pain- Sometimes, lung damage can present in the form of chest pain due to chronic cough and shortness of breath. It is a warning sign when present for more than a month.
  5. Blood in cough- Blood may come from an obstructed airway or due to friction between lung tissues.
  6. Chest tightness- One may feel their chest wall harden, making it unable for them to breathe properly.

Tests to diagnose lung damage at an early stage

Certain tests can be conducted to diagnose lung damage at an early stage of symptoms. Some of these tests include:

  • Spirometry: Measures the volume of air inhaled and exhaled
  • Lung volume test: Measure how much air your lungs can hold and their ability to move air in and out
  • Gas diffusion test: Measures the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood
  • Exercise stress test: Measures how your lungs respond to any physical activity
  • Chest X-ray: Helps determine any damage to the lungs

The early signs of lung damage can present in the form of cough, chest pain, blood in the cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and difficulty in daily activities and exercise. If someone experiences these symptoms, they must consult a physician or a chest specialist at the earliest for early diagnosis and management. If you need expert advice,

Consult An Apollo Lung Specialist


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.

Respiratory Health

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