The lungs are more resilient than most people give them credit for, but even the sturdy things can break down when they are constantly subjected to harmful elements. Smoking and exposure to pollutants can slowly chip off the health of your lungs and lead to serious illnesses, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This respiratory problem is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
If you want your lungs to stay healthy, take care of them through these simple ways.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your lungs and the lungs of other people. It damages your airways and the small air sacs in your lungs, leading to lung diseases, like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer.
Worst of all, you are not only hurting yourself; you are also harming other people when you smoke. In fact, an estimated 2,500,000 nonsmokers have died due to contracted health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke can travel through airways and ducts and permeate your home, so no place is safe until all smokers in the house stop smoking. Moreover, it has been found that nicotine and other chemicals from cigarette smoke can remain on walls and surfaces, causing further harm to people’s health.
Exercise makes the body stronger. Regular exercise boosts your heart health, burns calories, and strengthens your muscles and bones. What many do not realize is that regular physical activity is also excellent for keeping your lungs healthy, whether you are in good condition or you have COPD.
When you exercise, your heart and lungs are working in tandem to bring oxygen and pump oxygen-carrying red blood cells into the body, giving you the energy to move. As your body uses oxygen, it creates carbon dioxide, which is also expelled by your heart and lungs.
Giving your heart and your lungs a workout helps them grow stronger, improving your circulation and lung functions and strengthening the organs themselves.
Guard Against Infections
As winter approaches, so does the flu season. Every year, about 200,000 Americans get hospitalized because of the flu, and around 36,000 patients die from the disease. However, you can protect yourself against the flu by taking a yearly vaccine. The flu shot allows your body to develop antibodies that guard against the most prevalent influenza viruses in the season.
“Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an influenza (flu) vaccine every season with rare exceptions,” says the CDC. The CDC advises people to get vaccinated by the end of October. The organization also recommends maintaining healthy habits, like washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth when you cough, to help prevent the spread of germs and respiratory illnesses.
Do Not Skip Annual Checkups
Routine checkups are essential to monitoring your health, including the condition of your lungs. Visiting your doctor regularly also helps you understand your health better and learn about how you can stay in tip-top shape.
At your doctor’s behest, you can undergo medical tests to screen for common conditions that plague people at certain ages. Doctors have access to medical sensors and devices to get a deeper insight into the patient’s health. Getting screened and tested every year can help diagnose problems and get them treated early on.
Boost Your Lung Health
Your lungs are among the most important parts of your body. They bring in oxygen, which your body needs, and expel waste products, like carbon dioxide, from your body. With a healthy pair of lungs, you can do many things — hike mountains, run marathons, and swim for hours.
Without one, the quality of your life can be severely limited, and you will not be able to enjoy many things people with healthy lungs can do. Take care of your lungs now before they break down on you.