Breathing is one of those homeostatic phenomena which occurs naturally. It is underlined by the involuntary movement of the lung muscles, which carries out the vital procedure of the oxygenation of the blood.
With advancements in the field of medical sciences, breathing is now being used as an indicator to diagnose different diseases and health complications. Now, anomalies in breath can reveal significant medical information about the examined individual.
In this article, we will outline all the diagnostic measures that can be performed through samples of one’s breath. Some of them are still in their preliminary research phase but might become part of conventional diagnostic practices in near future. Let’s take a look.
Bad Breath Can Indicate Stomach Cancer
Right now, screening of stomach cancer involves a difficult invasive procedure. Therefore, it is uncommon for people to get themselves screened for it. However, this may get changed in a few years because research has shown us that the nanoarray analysis of breath can reveal information which can help in differentiating between various early stages of stomach cancer.
The test was conducted where participants had to fast for 12 hours prior to the test. The same test is now being performed on a large cohort of individuals to authenticate the initial results. If the test remains successful, then it will be a momentous development in the field of medical diagnosis.
Breath Test for the Diagnosis of Lung Cancer
For the diagnosis of lung cancer, diagnostic facilities carry out ultrasounds of lung and biopsies of the affected tissue. However, a study conducted a few years ago suggests that lung cancer diagnosis can also be made cheaper and non-invasive with the help of an electronic nose test.
A coded electronic device was used in the study to identify the presence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in the exhaled air. This profiling of VOC was then used to diagnose lung cancer of a group with a mix of people having lung cancer and other lung-related issues.
The study showed that this electronic nose was successful in diagnosing lung cancer in around 90 percent of the cases. Scientists are working on improving the accuracy of this device so that it can be adopted as a standard apparatus for the diagnosis of this disease.
Heart Failures and Breath Tests
It is quite strange to determine the condition of your heart through breath. But as we know, science is all about committing such wonders. A research was conducted in this regard where 41 patients with cardiovascular complications went through a breath test. The breath samples of these patients were then studied for chemical and molecular signs of heart failure through spectrometry.
Breath tests to indicate the conditions of heart failure are not conclusive yet, but they have paved a way for non-conventional diagnostic measures for cardiovascular diseases.
For the Identification of Diabetic Issues
One of the side effects of diabetes is compromised oral health. Dry mouth, bad breath, and gingivitis are common oral health issues that occur with diabetic patients. But now, scientists have found that the oral odor of diabetes patients probably contain significant information regarding the severity of their diabetic condition.
Scientists have found out that fruity breath in the people suffering from diabetes indicates a critical condition called ketacidosis. This condition is usually reached when a diabetic person’s body starts to churn out energy through fat metabolism due to low levels of insulin. This energy generation mechanism can lead to a coma because of its detrimental byproducts including acetone which gives a tinge of fruity smell to the breath of the affected individuals.
Breath Smells of Ammonia Indicates Renal Issues
Breath, with traces of ammonia, smells like you have eaten fish meat lately. However, if you are noticing that your mouth smells like seafood when you haven’t consumed any then this might be an indication that your kidneys are not doing their job properly. Toxins which kidney fails to remove from the body can affect the adjacent vital organs including the respiratory system. This renal failure can lead to the condition where the affected person’s breath gets ridden with ammonia.
Bad Breath Can Indicate Digestive Issues
Many people are concerned with their bad breath because of its social implications. Acid reflux and overburdening the digestive system are the common underlying reasons for bad breath. However, it has been concluded by researchers that bad breath can also be indicative of some serious digestive problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This digestive disorder underlines the stomach’s inability to digest food in time which results in the decay of organic matter in the gut resulting in bad breath.
Allergies in Respiratory Tract and Bad Breath
There are various respiratory tract infections which can lead to the problem of bad breath. Therefore, stinky breathe can also be used as a diagnostic pointer for flu, sinusitis, and bronchitis. Science tells us that allergies and infections in the respiratory tract can lead to the development of cells and tissues which produces bacteria that cause bad breath.
Foul Breath and Oral Health
Last but not least, oral health and foul breath have a strong connection with each other. Tooth decay can lead to the development of bad breath. In tooth decay, the outer hard layer of teeth called enamel erodes, exposing the soft inner layer. This exposed inner layer of the teeth entraps food particles that can’t be removed through regular tooth brushing. In the acidic environment of the oral cavity, the trapped food particles pave the way for the production of bacteria that causes bad breath.
Aside from different health conditions, bad breath is usually caused by poorly a maintained dental health and lifestyle. Failing to floss regularly and not brushing your teeth before going to bed can lead to this unwanted condition.
Moreover, smoking is another one of the major reasons for bad breath. Xerostomia or dry mouth also encourages the growth of bacteria in the oral cavity that can cause bad breath.