Lung Check Up

Lung Check Up

Lung disease is prevalent in Singapore

Do you know that in Singapore, one in five children and one in twenty adults have asthma? [1]

How about the fact that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is one of the leading causes of death in the country? [2]

Lung diseases are common in Singapore.

Unfortunately, they are not diagnosed until the late stages of the disease where breathing is already difficult and overall well-being is significantly reduced.

Why lung check ups are important

A lung disease impairs not only your breathing but your pocket as well. A Singaporean adult with lung disease has an estimated treatment cost of up to $27,500 per year. [3] A lung check up with your trusted respiratory specialist can help you discover if you have lung conditions and unrecognized health risks, even if you don’t have signs and symptoms. This provides early detection of lung disease, resulting in better control of your health, better disease outcomes, and eventually fewer treatment costs.

Most common lung diseases in Singapore

You are expected to develop a certain type of lung disease at some point in your life. But people with weak immune systems are more at risk to develop severe lung conditions.

Here are the three most common lung diseases in Singapore:

1. Asthma

Asthma is an inflammation in the lung airways, leading to difficulty in breathing, coughing, and wheezing, a high-pitched whistling sound while breathing.

Singapore has a three times asthma mortality rate compared to other developed countries [4] like the USA and New Zealand which can be attributed to underdiagnosis due to not getting lung check ups.

2. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

COPD is a group of progressive lung diseases including emphysema and bronchitis. Emphysema hinders outward airflow by slowly destroying the air sacs of your lungs, while bronchitis builds up phlegm due to inflammation and narrowing of the lung airways.

Surprisingly, up to 90% of COPD are not diagnosed [5] due to lack of awareness and not getting lung check ups. These prevent patients from having early access to treatment and may further complicate the lung condition.

3. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. This triggers fever, chills, difficulty in breathing, and cough with phlegm or pus.

In Singapore, pneumonia was responsible for almost a quarter of deaths in 2019.[6] Early detection and proper diagnosis ensure expert medical attention to reduce the severity of the infection

Most common lung function tests

Because there is a wide range of lung diseases with potential complications, a lung check up is your best health investment to maintain healthy lungs.

Here are the most common lung function tests that your lung specialist may conduct:

Use: Measures how quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs.

How: You will breathe through a mouthpiece attached to a machine.

Use: Measures the amount of air you can hold in your lungs when you breathe.

How: Similar to spirometry but done in a clear room that looks like a telephone booth.

Use: Measures how well oxygen moves from your lungs into the blood.

How: Similar to spirometry without breathing intensely.

Use: Measures oxygen levels in your blood

How: A painless procedure using a small clamp-like device that is clipped to your finger.

Use: Measure how much nitric oxide is in the air that you exhale.

How: You will breathe out into a tube connected to a portable device.

Because there is a wide range of lung diseases with potential complications, a lung check up is your best health investment to maintain healthy lungs.

Here are the most common lung function tests that your lung specialist may conduct:

References

[1] http://www.aaa.org.sg/asthma/

[2] https://www.moh.gov.sg/docs/librariesprovider4/guidelines/copd.pdf

[3] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212109915001028

[4] https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/12m-study-to-improve-patient-care-for-asthma-and-copd#:~:text=Singapore%20has%20one%20of%20the,to%20a%20variety%20of%20factors.

[5] https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/49/6/1602191

[6] https://www.moh.gov.sg/resources-statistics/singapore-health-facts/principal-causes-of-death

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