Health

Have you or a loved one had a cough for some time? 7 signs it could be something more serious

We’re all used to hearing people cough from time to time, but have you, or someone you know, had a cough that’s lasted for three weeks or more?

Or are you noticing yourself or others getting out of breath doing everyday tasks, like vacuuming or climbing a short flight of stairs?

Both a persistent cough or getting out of breath could be signs of lung cancer or other lung disease. Breathlessness can also be a sign of heart disease. Either symptom needs to be checked out by the GP.

How long have you had your cough?

You can make a huge difference by encouraging friends or family who have these symptoms to see their GP, it could be the nudge they need which could save their life.

Getting help early, rather than putting it off to see if the symptom gets worse, is vital. A visit to the GP to get checked out won’t be a waste of time – the doctor wants to see people who experience these symptoms.

So, if someone close to you has been coughing for a while, ask them how long it’s been going on.

Or if people around you are avoiding doing tasks they used to be able to do, or you notice them stopping to catch their breath, when doing things like vacuuming or mowing the lawn, don’t let them ignore it. For either of these symptoms, encourage them to book an appointment with their GP.

Symptoms to look out for:

Some of the symptoms of lung disease, including lung cancer, or heart disease that you should look out for in yourself or others, include:

  1. A cough that has got worse or changes, or getting out of breath could be signs of lung cancer or other lung disease. Breathlessness can also be a sign of heart disease. Either symptom needs to be checked out by the GP
  2. Frequent chest infections
  3. Coughing up blood
  4. Chest or shoulder pain
  5. Wheezing
  6. Feeling more tired than usual for some time
  7. Losing weight for no obvious reason