Lung Health with Dr. Darin Skaudis

The lung is the primary organ in the respiratory system. The respiratory system’s job is to bring fresh air into our body and help us get rid of waste gases when we breathe out. It's important to keep our lungs healthy and quitting smoking is a big one. Exercise can also help. Exercise strengthens our lungs as well as it strengthens our muscles. Practicing good hygiene can help prevent respiratory infections. Getting a flu shot early is also a good practice. Regular checkups are important even if you're feeling fine.

Respiratory diseases are often ones that will not be obvious until it's advanced. Some lung disease symptoms could include a nagging, continuous cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and sometimes difficulty breathing. Talk to your provider about any early signs of lung cancer or lung disease and also about your family history of lung disease and your personal smoking history. Early detection could save your life.

Depending on your risk and risk factors you might qualify for a low-dose lung cancer screening CT. You would review your risk factors with your provider and if you qualify, you would proceed with imaging. They are simply looking for lung nodules, which can be from many things such as old infections or scars or possibly dust or pollution that we've inhaled. Following the nodules on a yearly basis can help us determine if they are getting larger or if they're stable. If everything's fine, they typically recommend repeat annual imaging.

Smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer, COPD and emphysema. Smoking cessation is difficult. Some people have a hard time. Some people need to replace habits with different habits. Some people are able to quit cold turkey. Some people need support from their medical provider or family or friends. Your health care provider could help provide some additional resources. There are a number of medication options that can be tried including nicotine replacement or a couple oral medications as well. Tt's never too late to quit smoking to get benefit from smoking cessation.