6 Medical Tests for Smokers Should Undergo During Their Next Checkup

6 Medical Tests for Smokers Should Undergo During Their Next Checkup

There is hardly any need to elaborate on the harmful effects of smoking tobacco in various forms. Both smokers and non-smokers are aware of how tobacco smoking can be injurious to health in numerous ways. Smokers become vulnerable to contracting several critical ailments, including cancer and diabetes, studies have indicated. While quitting smoking is the best option– what about the impact it has already left on your body?

To find out the impact smoking has made on your health, you may undergo a few medical tests for smokers. These tests can be beneficial both for existing and ex-smokers and help them learn about the health of their lungs and respiratory systems.

6 Medical Tests For Smokers Need To Know

Spirometry

Smokers should opt for Spirometry, which is an affordable and simple breathing test. It is ideal for diagnosing COPD. The test is used to measure the functioning of the lungs. It can be done on an annual basis. If lung capacity is found to be 50 percent or less, it is not ideal.

Chest X-ray

Chest X-ray is a test, doctors feel smokers should undergo at least once each year. It helps doctors get a close look at the lungs and heart of the person. They can find out conditions like blood vessel problems and blocked arteries-which pave the way to health complications later. However, this test is not as effective as CT scans for detecting signs of lung cancer in early stage.

CT Scans

This is a computer processed X-ray. This offers better diagnostic images and helps doctors find lung disorders easily. Both smokers and those who have quit smoking can benefit from this test. Early detection of lung cancer can enhance the survival rate post detection, as studies have indicated.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

Those who have been smoking for a long time this is one test you should not skip. The electrocardiogram basically measures regularity and speed of your heartbeats. It can reveal heart functioning issues caused by smoking.

Vitamin D Blood Test

Smokers who have crossed 50 years, should opt for the vitamin D level test. A majority of smokers face an inadequate level of vitamin D in the blood. Deficit in Vitamin D can lead to lung condition deterioration. To counter this, they may be advised to intake vitamin D rich foods and in some cases, taking special supplements may also be necessary.

Diabetes Screenings

Smokers, long time ones, become susceptible to various serious ailments, including type 2 diabetes, as studies have shown. Smokers may be asked to undergo Fasting Blood Glucose Level and Oral Glucose Tolerance Tests. Compared to non-smokers, people smoking a few cigarettes every day have more than 40% risk of getting diabetes. A University of Lausanne study showed that people face enhanced risk of diabetes when they smoke frequently for a long time.

These tests help detect crucial ailments related to lungs and heart at an early stage. Tools like ‘Cigarette Smoking Risk Calculator‘ will help you to self asses the risk of life span by predicting the effect on the lungs and other organs. You may use such tools to get motivated in the process of de-addiction.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad