Most people go for lung check-up as a form of annual snapshot for admission to work or study. However, if you are concerned about chest pains, coughs and hard breathing, you should think about checking your lungs and bronchi for diseases.
When should I think about chest checks?
The average person should go for fluorography and check the condition of the lungs at least once a year. For some people for instance those who work in educational institutions, with children, are required to do so twice a year. This is important for early detection of TB patients as it is a disease that spreads rapidly in crowded places.
Apart from prevention, it is also necessary to check the lungs when you experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Shortness of breath at rest.
- Long coughing that can either be dry or with blood and phlegm in sputum.
- Wheezing and whistling sound when breathing.
- A feeling the heaviness in the chest.
- Fever, general deterioration of well-being and decreased appetite.
A lung check-up is usually prescribed after visiting a physician. A specialist is the only one who will be able to assess the symptoms and determine the type of diagnosis that is suitable for your case. However, there are cases where the doctors can be visited if you experience the following:
- You have a recurrence of a disease that you already know about.
- Symptoms are not pronounced brightly, there is no acute pain syndrome.
In any case, if you show the doctor the pictures already taken, it will hasten up the diagnosis.
Options for diagnosing chest organs
The types of diagnostics available without direction are limited to non-invasive methods. You will not undergo endoscopy without a conclusion from your doctor. However, there are many types of diagnoses including:
- Ultrasound which will not show you lung disease. It is usually used to detect fluid in the pleural cavity, so if you do not know your diagnosis, there is no point in going for an ultrasound.
- Fluorography: This is the fastest way to study the lungs. During the procedure, the chest is illuminated with a low dose of X-ray radiation. The image is printed on the film or displayed on the monitor. It is the safest method as FLG for prevention is made to children from 14 years. However, the resulting image can detect pathology, but can not be considered in detail. Most likely, after fluorography, the doctor will refer you to a more detailed study such as CT of the lungs.
- X-rays are already higher doses of radiation. X-rays will give a high quality shot on which you can well consider all the details. The result will be printed on the film. But doctors do not recommend undergoing such examination, as you can get a large dose of radiation.
Tomography as a way to check lungs
Tomography is a more accurate and safe way to check the lungs. It gives a high precision result about the condition of the lung tissue and the mediastinum organs.
The study of the NDCT lung low-dose computed tomography is gaining more and more credibility. This study is ten times better than tomoraphy and X-rays in terms of informativeness and the radiation dose is also lower.
Multispiral CT tomography of the lungs also works with X-rays hence it cannot be done on pregnant and lactating women. ICAC is prescribed in preparation of the patient for surgery or to asses the results of surgery. It can be done either without contrast or with contrasting amplification.
This type of examination can track abnormalities, identify chest injuries, tumours in early stages and inflammatory diseases. With this method, you can note pathological changes in the lungs, bronchus and trachea in a 3D image. A detailed picture will help the doctor make a very accurate diagnosis.
A CT scan is prescribed to detect:
- Lung abscess
- Lung cancer
- Inflammatory diseases of the lungs, bronchus and pleura
- Foreign bodies
- Lymphoproliferative diseases
- Pathologies of the mediastinal organs
CT is also done to monitor the postoperative and preoperative condition of the affected organ.
Invasive ways to check lungs
There are a number of studies like endoscopic methods that are used to examine the organs in detail and take tissue samples for analysis and in some cases treatment will be carried out immediately. Such examinations include:
- Bronchoscopy: This is where the endoscope is injected through the nasopharynx and you can you will be able to see the trachea and bronchi.
- Thoracoscopy is the introduction of the sensor directly into the lungs through punctures in the chest. This study is performed only under general anesthesia.
- Toracotomy is a chest incision so that the doctor can examine all organs on his own.
- Pleural cavity punctures and pleura biopsy will help to find the cause of inflammation, make tests on antibodies to malignant tumours and identify the infection.
Your doctor will recommend these examination if necessary. However, such examinations are done only in severe cases mostly in lung problems that you will require fluorography, a picture or tomography.