8 Subtle Warning Signs That Could Mean Your Lungs Are Failing

Date June 27, 2018

When your lungs aren’t doing their job effectively, your whole body suffers. Failing lungs cause breathing problems – that’s obvious – but there can be other symptoms, too.

The most common cause of lung failure is COPD, which stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. More than 11 million Americans are affected by it. Other common causes of respiratory failure include pneumonia, asthma, and chest injuries.

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Below, we list symptoms that are usually seen in people with lung failure. If you’ve had them for some time, and they have been developing gradually, see your doctor in the near future. But if your symptoms are sudden and severe, go to the ER – you shouldn’t delay getting help.

READ ALSO: What Causes Chest Pain? 20 Possible Causes Of This Dangerous Symptom And When It Is An Emergency

8 signs your lungs may be failing

1. You are often short of breath.

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Shortness of breath is normal during and after vigorous activity, but if you get this symptom when you aren’t doing anything strenuous, it may be a sign that there’s a problem in your lungs and they can’t keep up.

2. You’re tired all the time.

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When your lungs aren’t working well, they can’t take in enough oxygen your blood needs to deliver throughout the body. When your organs and tissues aren’t getting enough oxygen, you start to feel tired and weak, even if you’re getting enough sleep.

3. Your thinking seems clouded.

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Low levels of oxygen and high levels of carbon dioxide caused by lung failure can mess with the normal functioning of your brain. If the normal balance of gases in your blood is disrupted, you may get confused and drowsy.

4. You’re coughing all the time.

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Chronic cough that you can’t explain by an underlying condition you already know you have should set off alarm bells, especially if you’re coughing up mucus and/or blood. If your cough doesn't clear up within a couple of weeks, see your doctor.

READ ALSO: 6 Possible Causes Of Excess Mucus In The Lungs: From Common Cold To Cystic Fibrosis

5. You wheeze when breathing.

Wheezing is always a sign that something went awry in your respiratory system. You may notice wheezing sounds during the day, or your partner may tell you that you wheeze when sleeping. Anyway, this is another symptom that may signal lung failure and warrants a visit to the doctor.

6. Your lips, fingers, and toes are bluish or greyish.

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If your lips, fingers, and/or toes lose their normal color and become bluish or greyish, it can be a sign that they are seriously deprived of oxygen. This symptom usually appears in advanced stages of lung disease.

7. You have chest pains.

We tend to associate chest pain with heart problems, but this symptom may also appear when something is wrong in the lungs.

8. You’ve lost some weight without trying to.

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Weight loss is more common in advanced stages of lung disease. This can happen for two reasons: muscle wasting due to chronic inflammation or lack of appetite (it may be hard to breathe after eating a full meal, so you start to eat less).

If you have such symptoms, don’t hesitate and see your doctor soon.

Source: Prevention, HealthLine,

READ ALSO: 9 Possible Causes Of Feeling Tired All The Time

This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.