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Lung Health Check

Warning Signs of Lung Disease

If you have any of these warning signs or symptoms, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible:

lungsChronic cough
A cough that you have had for a month is chronic. This is an important early symptom. It tells you something is wrong with your respiratory system.

Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath that doesn’t go away after exercising, or that you have after little or no exertion, is not normal. Labored or difficult breathing — the feeling that it is hard to breathe in or breathe out — is also a warning sign.

Chronic mucus production
Mucus, also called sputum or phlegm, is produced by the airways. It is a defense response to infections or irritants. If your mucus production has lasted a month, this could indicate lung disease.

Noisy breathing or wheezing is a sign that something unusual is blocking your lungs’ airways or making them too narrow.

Coughing up blood
If you are coughing up blood, the blood may be coming from your lungs or upper respiratory tract. Whatever the source of the blood, it is a sign of a health problem.

Chronic chest pain
Unexplained chest pain that lasts for a month or more — especially if it gets worse when you breathe in or cough — can also be a warning sign.


Should I Be Screened for Lung Cancer?

In May 2014, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham began offering lung cancer screenings using a low-dose CT scan. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force now recommends annual screening for patients at high risk of developing lung cancer.

According to the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), a recent study on lung cancer screening with CT scans, a patient should be screened if they:

  • Are a current or former smoker who quit within the past 15 years
  • Are between the ages of 55 and 74
  • Have a smoking history equivalent to one pack per day for 30 years (i.e. two packs a day for 15 years or 3/4 pack a day for 40 years)

Through BID-Needham's new program, patients will receive their test results during a consultation with a member of Beth Israel Deaconess' thoracic team. Talk to your doctor about screening if you or a loved one are at risk.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in partnership with the American Lung Association. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

July 2014

Contact Information

Chest Disease Center
Department of Surgery
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
West Campus, Farr Entrance - Deaconess Building, Suite 201
185 Pilgrim Road
Boston, MA 02215