We studied the effects of age, body mass index (BMI) and some common laboratory test results on several pulmonary CT/HRCT signs. Five hundred twenty-eight construction workers (age 38-80, mean 63 years) were imaged with spiral and high resolution CT. Images were scored by three radiologists for solitary pulmonary nodules, signs indicative of fibrosis and emphysema, ground glass opacities, bronchial wall thickness and bronchiectasis. Multivariate statistical analyses were adjusted for smoking and asbestos exposure. Increasing age, blood haemoglobin value and erythrocyte sedimentation rate correlated positively with several HRCT signs. Increasing BMI was associated with a decrease in several signs, especially parenchymal bands, honeycombing, all kinds of emphysema and bronchiectasis. The latter finding might be due to the suboptimal image quality in obese individuals, which may cause suspicious findings to be overlooked. Background data, including patient's age and body constitution, should be considered when CT/HRCT images are interpreted.