Executive Health Desk: Have cough, breathing problems, chest congestion? Beware! It could be lung cancer
The problem is, that most executives delay approaching the doctor till the discomfort is unbearable or an emergency happens. Dr Bharat Gopal, Senior Consultant Pulmonologist and Director National Chest Centre, New Delhi has some telling points to make that executives at all levels should pay heed to if they want to live a pain-free and long life.
It goes without saying that executives spend way too much time at their work table and that too in the sitting posture. The only time they move is perhaps to go and attend meetings or move to the canteen for lunch or tea. This is truly a killing schedule. This sedentary lifestyle breeds a huge number of diseases and, what is worse, they go unnoticed. This can be in the form of niggling pain, cough, shortness of breath, chest congestion etc. The problem is, that most executives delay approaching the doctor till the discomfort is unbearable or an emergency happens. Dr Bharat Gopal, Senior Consultant Pulmonologist and Director National Chest Centre, New Delhi has some telling points to make that executives at all levels should pay heed to if they want to live a pain-free and long life.
Here is what Dr Gopal has to say:
Did you ever miss an important meeting or a function due to constant coughing and chest pain? Are you spending sleepless nights because you cannot stop coughing? If yes, it’s time to consult your doctor as these can be the symptoms of lung cancer. If undiagnosed and left untreated at an initial stage, minor breathing difficulties can quickly transform into a patient developing cancer of the lungs. Factors such as smoking, secondhand smoke (SHS), and pollution together can worsen your pulmonary health. So, let’s understand the condition clinically and take necessary steps to prevent the risks associated with the cancer.
What is Lung Cancer?
Being a vital part of our body, lungs help in the circulation of oxygen to the bloodstream and to the rest of the body. They also regulate the acidity in the body. Any abnormality in the
circulation of oxygen triggered by lifestyle habits and environmental conditions can lead to breathing difficulties. Often beginning as a benign tumor, the cancerous cells divide
uncontrollably resulting in the growth of multiple tumours. There are two main types of lung cancers: small cell lung cancer (SMLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Dr ABC
underlines some of the common lung cancer symptoms that are usually ignored by patients as minor breathing issues. These include: Chest pain, hoarseness, difficulty in breathing, persistent
cough, blood-stained sputum, etc. As the cancer is highly mobile, the symptoms must not be taken lightly because the cancer can spread to other parts of the body through blood and
lymphatic vessels, a process called metastasis. Due to general lack of awareness about the medical condition, nearly 40 % of the patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer already have
metastasis to other parts of the body e.g. lymph nodes, liver, bones, brain, adrenal gland etc
Hence, it is essential to address the initial symptoms at the right time and prevent associated risks. As soon as the symptoms begin to appear, a patient must consult a pulmonologist and undergo screening procedures. Remember that lung cancer can be prevented in most cases.
Listed below are some of the preventive measure’s believes can go a long way in ensuring better quality of health.
Kick the Butt: As per the World Health Organisation’s findings, quitting smoking benefits not only your lungs, but improves overall health. Research has shown that if you stop smoking before the age of 50 years, you can reduce your risk of getting lung cancer by half in the coming 10-15 years.
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SHS is as harmful as Smoking: If your peers smoke, you can counsel them to stop and make them understand about the harmful effects of second-hand smoke (SHS). Furthermore, if you work in a mining or glass industry, you can reduce the occupational exposure by wearing protective gear. With the rapid decline in air quality index, you must not go out with wearing clinically-tested masks against PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollutants.
Watch Your Diet: Add fruits and vegetables to your diet. It helps in building immunity against minor chest infections. Incorporate foods with essential vitamins and minerals to your daily routine and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Additionally, you can consume ginger and berries as they are natural antioxidants.