4 Things That Can Be Damaging to Your Lungs and How to Protect Yourself

Posted May 22, 2023 by in Health + Fitness

In today’s highly polluted world, various environmental factors and our lifestyle are responsible for compromised lung health, leading to multiple diseases and reduced quality of life.

From environmental pollutants to hazardous lifestyle choices, several factors are responsible for damaging our lungs and affecting their functionality. However, by understanding the potential threats to our lungs’ health and adopting protective measures, we can lessen the risk of respiratory complications.

This article will discuss some things that can damage your lungs and offer tips on protecting yourself. 

  1. Asbestosis 

One hazardous substance that poses a significant risk to lung health is asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral previously used in various products, including building materials, insulation, and brake pads. However, it has since been recognized as a carcinogen capable of causing respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

Many countries, including the United States, have banned the use of asbestos due to its harmful effects. Nevertheless, it is still utilized in certain countries, despite the associated health risks.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, you may be at risk of developing lung cancer. Symptoms of lung cancer can include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Blood in the sputum

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away.

If you believe that you have been exposed to asbestos and have developed lung cancer, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the company that exposed you to asbestos. A lawyer can help you understand your options regarding lung cancer and legal advice will be provided to you. 

  1. Smoking

Smoking is a health hazard that impacts our bodies and, most notably, our lungs. It acts as a silent assassin that infiltrates the lungs with toxic substances, such as nicotine and carbon monoxide, triggering many damaging effects. Not only that, but the substances also inflame and destroy lung tissues, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly.  Chain smoking also results in prolonged exposure to tobacco smoke. The frequent exposure escalates the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, causing persistent coughing and breathing issues. 

Remember that smoking harms the person who smokes and poses a significant threat to those exposed to it. Secondhand smoke is just as harmful as smoking and can cause several health problems, including lung cancer.

  1. Air Pollution

Exposure to high levels of air pollutants can wreak havoc on our lungs, accelerate aging, and trigger different respiratory conditions. When you are young, the lungs can resist pollutants but become more vulnerable to infections and several diseases as you age.

When we talk about poor air quality damaging our lungs, we can’t skip discussing poor indoor air quality.  In fact, as per the US Consumer Product Safety Commission report, indoor pollution causes more damage to our lungs than outdoor pollution owing to the maximum hours we spend indoors. 

There are many sources of indoor pollution, including:

Combustion sources: These include gas stoves, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves. When these sources are used, they release pollutants into the air, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter.

Building materials and furnishings: Some building materials and furnishings, such as carpets, paints, and furniture, can release pollutants into the air, such as formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particle matter.

Mold and mildew: Mold and mildew can grow in damp and humid environments, such as bathrooms and basements. When they grow, they release spores into the air, which can cause respiratory problems, such as allergies and asthma.

  1. No Physical Exertion

A sedentary lifestyle may not directly damage your lungs but contributes to compromised lung health. Inactiveness can reduce your lungs’ capacity, making it challenging to supply oxygen to the body it requires during physical exertion. Moreover, the muscles involved in breathing require regular exercise to stay functional, and lack of physical exertion can weaken the muscles, resulting in compromised breathing. 

How to Protect Yourself 

Protect yourself from Industrial Hazards

If you work in an environment replete with dust, gases, and other harmful substances, ensure you are equipped to save yourself from these harmful substances. We suggest using Personal Protective Equipment to reduce the harm of breathing in hazardous chemicals. 

Lastly, make sure other control measures are available to ensure a healthy workplace environment. Every employee is entitled to work in a safe and healthy environment. Therefore, employers should provide them with an environment that does not risk their well-being. 

Stop Smoking!

The best thing you can do for your health is to quit smoking. When you quit, your body begins to repair the damage caused by smoking. Within a few weeks, your lung function improves, and the cilia (tiny hair-like structures that help to clear mucus from your lungs) recover. This makes it easier to clear mucus and reduces your risk of infection. Additionally, quitting smoking improves your overall cardiovascular health and stamina.

Lessen your Exposure to Indoor and Outdoor Pollutants

Avoid exercising in outdoor areas with high pollution levels, as it may cause headaches and throat irritation. However, if you love working out in fresh air, you should plant more trees in your garden to ensure the air is fresh and good for your lungs’ health. 

Likewise, quit using products like paints, candles, and incense to avoid accumulating harmful pollutants and improve indoor air quality. However, if using them becomes unavoidable, we recommend increasing ventilation while using such products or engaging in activities that may produce pollutants. Using an air purifier is also a great idea to reduce the risk of consuming harmful substances. Alternatively, you can open windows and doors and turn on the exhaust fan to eliminate pollutants from your living space. 

Having healthy lungs ensure overall well-being. You can protect your lungs from respiratory issues by making some lifestyle changes. By adopting preventive measures like improving air quality, reducing exposure to toxic substances, and quitting smoking, you can improve your lungs’ health and live life to the fullest. 

Read more: