X-rays show lung infections

The lungs feel no pain - those who wait for symptoms in severe lung diseases are giving away

Chances of recovery. The gastric ulcer, the heart attack, the intervertebral disc damage - in most organs newly developing diseases express themselves as pain. The pain is the first signal that leads to further diagnosis. The path of diagnosis leads from symptom to examination. It is different with the lungs. She has no pain organ. Illnesses give at best low and less informative warning signs: coughing, weight loss or creeping lack of air give no clear indications; mostly they are not signs of serious illness.

But when one of them grows up, it usually only causes pain and other severe symptoms when it has become too big for a curative treatment. Pulmonary TBC can also be smoldering for months and years, causing damage to the lung tissue and at the same time a risk of infection for those in contact with the patient, without any significant and warning tangible signs of illness being recognizable. Only a creeping increase in fatigue, perhaps a certain reduction in body weight, etc. occur - commonplace symptoms! Because coughs - especially in smokers ("normal smoker's cough ...") - are often played down and creeping lack of air and exhaustion are often not alarming, regular x-rays of the lungs makes sense. As a rule of thumb, adults over the age of 40 should have their lungs X-rayed once a year. The consideration for each admission must of course always be made with the doctor. Anyone who has higher risks such as smoking and contact with asbestos should be monitored particularly closely!

Which diseases can be identified by x-rays of the lungs? First of all: how many cigarettes you smoked in previous years cannot be seen from the lung intake. However, consequences such as pulmonary emphysema (bloating) and increased inflammation and premature aging of the lungs are recognizable. The experienced pulmonologist (pulmonologist), who evaluates dozens of lung images every day, sees them as the fingerprint of the respiratory system, so to speak. Earlier damage and pleurisy (they were often tuberculous in times of need and war years - the disease can become active again at a later age) leave their mark. Asbestos diseases are first detected by means of a lung scan. Heart disease can be identified - especially cardiac insufficiency and high blood pressure provide early information on lung scans. Pneumonia, which cannot be detected with the stethoscope due to its location far from the chest wall, can be confirmed by X-rays and heals - treated in good time with antibiotics - without permanent damage to the lungs. Many other less common lung diseases can only be clearly identified on x-rays.

... and the risks from X-rays?

Rays can cause damage! Nobody would deny that! Just think of the consequences of Chernobyl for the workers who secured the dangerous reactor under strong radiation. Radiation used for treatment, such as the radiation of cancer, can lead to inflammation and scarring of the tissue (such effects may be accepted if there is a prospect of a cure for the cancer)! The reaction and possible damage to the tissue depends on the dose of radiation. The radiation dose is low for lung exposures because the lungs contain a lot of air and therefore only very short "exposure times" are required for the exposures. Little soft tissue is hit and so little "scattered radiation" is diverted to organs that would be particularly endangered (genital organs, eye lens). The type of radiation used for lung exposures is anyway only slightly deflectable by scattering (so-called "hard beam name").

Every X-ray doctor, whether a pulmonologist (pulmonologist) or a general radiologist, is obliged by law to constantly check and have his X-ray equipment checked. He is obliged to constantly adapt them to the state of the art. The quality check and check of compliance with radiation protection is carried out by the authorities - in the event of defects - as with the car - the withdrawal of the Operating permit from the TÜV. The TÜV also checks whether technical innovations have been retrofitted in accordance with legal requirements.

By improving the image intensification, it was possible to reduce the radiation dose required for lung exposures to a quarter of the previously required amount of radiation without any loss of image quality. This good development will continue. The best Radiation protection is avoiding unnecessary recordings! It is therefore always a good idea to keep older images of the lungs and present them to the pulmonologist. Perhaps a lung image was taken recently in connection with an operational control, an operative intervention or the like. If the recordings can be procured, new recordings may be dispensed with.

Computed tomogram (CT), which is much more radiation-intensive, can often be avoided!

Conclusion: Without a lung scan, many lung diseases cannot be detected in good time. Nowadays it can - discovered early - be cured in many cases. It is the most common cancer worldwide and claims almost 100,000 victims in Germany every year. Pulmonary TBC is a danger to the affected patient and those around him; In times of AIDS and immigration of people from poorly supplied areas (Eastern Europe etc.), it continues to pose a threat to all of us. Discovered at an early stage, it can be treated with medication. That is why it makes sense to take check-ups even if there are no noticeable symptoms of the disease!