The idea of using breath tests as medical diagnosis isn’t new; Hippocrates is the first known philosopher to realize breath aroma can relate with diseases in 400 B.C.
In a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, doctors outline the technology advancements of detecting chemical compound in our breath.
“Anything you can have a blood test for, there is potentially a breath test for, as long as there is a volatile component,” says Raed A. Dweik of the pulmonary vascular program at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute.
A fruity breath odor known as ketoacidosis is a natural way to indicate serious diabetic problems in someone.
This breath odor is the result of a build-up of ketones in the body, which is the product of using fat as a source of energy instead of sugar.
Diabetics suffer from little to no insulin to be able to break down sugars in the body, which leads the body to turn to fat. Detecting this off-putting breath odor could help detect serious issues related to diabetes in a person.
2. Lung Cancer
It’s been proven that some animals are able to sniff out specific diseases, such as diabetes. Scientists are now trying to develop an electronic nose for this very purpose.
The idea behind the technology would be to separate different profiles of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as stated in a 2013 press release.
Researches are not yet able to accurately identify which VOCs link to which diseases, but there are significant studies that suggest this electronic nose can detect lung cancer and rule out any other lung condition.
Lead author of the press release states, “We have shown that it is possible to use breath tests to correctly identify lung cancer with a high sensitivity rate. The results of our study take us one step further to understand this important new technology.”
3. Kidney Failure
Our kidneys remove waste from our blood, so if they fail our body can no longer rid the toxins on their own. This will result in a build-up of waste which is then released through our respiratory system.
It’s been widely researched and known that those who suffer from chronic kidney failure also suffer from urine-like, fishy, ammonia odor breath.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles was set on finding if someone’s breath could be in indicator of developing obesity.
They studied 792 participants and concluded that a high concentration of certain gases in our breath, such as methane, prove higher BMI and fat percentages in those than participants with a normal mix of gases.
5. Heart Failure
A 2012 study points to a non-invasive alternative to heart failure diagnosis tests.
They began by using heart patients as controls for a test to detect kidney failure in patient’s breath. What they found was that the control subjects had very unique breath prints that may be used to detect heart failure.
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