Your coughing keeps you up at night
It’s easy to brush off a chronic cough if it only crops up at night, but for people with asthma, nocturnal coughing fits should be checked out. Your bed is a breeding ground for dust mites, so spending hours on end with your face on your pillow can trigger an asthma attack, pulmonologist Timothy McGee, DO, tells Self magazine. Plus, your body starts producing more of the stress hormone cortisol at night, which leads to inflammation in the airways that exacerbates symptoms, he adds. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about a new asthma treatment – without the right care, asthma can permanently damage the airways.
You’re exhausted all the time
When you’re tired, a good night’s sleep can rejuvenate you; when you’re fatigued, all the sleep in the world won’t bring your energy back. It can be a symptom of a slew of diseases, including cancer. For lung cancer patients in particular, the fatigue can stem from the fact that decreased lung function takes a toll on your body, according to the Lung Cancer Alliance. If you’re feeling exhausted in addition to other possible symptoms of lung disease, talk to your doctor.
You have no symptoms at all
Lung cancer is something you never want to think about, but the scary news is that early-stage lung cancer rarely comes with symptoms, says Dr McKee. “We usually find stage 1 lung cancer by accident,” she says. That may be because a patient needed a chest or spine X-ray for something entirely different, and the cancer was spotted at that time. By the time other symptoms crop up – back pain, headaches, fatigue – that’s often a sign it’s spread to other parts of the body. That’s why, if you’re at high risk for lung cancer (you’re over 55 and have a 30-year history of smoking), you should be screened with a low-dose CT scan.