Our lungs keep us alive – literally! From oxygenating our blood to filtering unwanted particles, they are essential for vitality and good health. Functioning without them for even a second seems indispensable, which is why we must take good care of them to ensure a long, healthy life for ourselves.
Our bodies protect our lungs from harm but doing a bit more by taking care of your lungs goes a long way in ensuring better health. Moreover, it drastically improves the quality of life. Here are some ways you can improve the health of your lungs and decrease the chances of lung-related diseases:
Often blue-collar workplaces like construction sites have harmful toxins present in materials and the atmosphere. These substances can badly damage your lungs over your career. For example, demolition workers and miners work in extreme, intimidating conditions. Exposed to numerous harmful toxins and materials, these workers put their life on the line every time they get down to work. Diseases that they may develop over time include tuberculosis and cancer. Similarly, construction and home renovation workers exposed to asbestos are at a high risk of developing mesothelioma. But what is mesothelioma? It’s a highly fatal variant of cancer. It takes years to manifest as a medical problem, and patients typically have a life expectancy of 24 months post-diagnosis.
So, if you’re working in such conditions, wearing protective gear and following OSHA regulations and guidelines in areas high in pollution can reduce lung deterioration. Ensure that your employers provide you with the necessary PPE. If you develop a chronic condition because of their negligence, you can take up the matter in court. Doing so will at least help you get compensation for your treatment.
Not to sound like a broken record, but smoking causes lung cancer. The numbers speak for themselves; smoking accounts for 7 million deaths worldwide annually. It is the primary cause of bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and preventable death. Nicotine in tobacco and carbon monoxide from the smoke damages the lungs by rupturing tissues, narrowing air flow passages, and causes inflammation. In both the short and long run, smoking is achingly harmful and cuts short your life by a handful of years.
However, despite millions giving into smoking annually, hundreds and thousands of people have also quit smoking or decrease the rate at which they smoke. People of all age groups have noticed drastic changes in their health, which have kept them motivated and led them to stop smoking altogether. If you want to quit, start by chewing gum and opting for nicotine patches to manage withdrawal symptoms. You can also join support groups or seek therapy if things get too rough.
Avoid Alternatives and Be an Example
Vape has become a popular alternative for smoking in recent times. Still, studies have shown that tobacco altogether is a harmful substance, irrespective of how low the tobacco content may be. It is addictive yet causes damage to your health. With the introduction of fruity and tropical flavors, vape has become a fad among smokers. A better alternative to gradually stop smoking in the long run, even vape can be harmful.
Passive smoking is equally harmful to the people you spend time with because you’re a smoker. It’s best to avoid smoking when you’re around nonsmokers and even better to stop doing so. Setting an example by quitting will motivate other smokers that know you to give it up as well.
A conventional concept is that being active and engaging in regular exercise is only for fit, healthy, and unimpaired people. In reality, this is a flawed concept because exercise doesn’t discriminate – people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and heights ought to stay active. That’s because it keeps all the muscles in pristine condition. Putting your lungs to work through physical activity helps improve your health which, as a result, improves your overall health.
Sure, your lungs operate ceaselessly. However, pushing them to their limits through physical exertion helps keep them in good shape. Go for exercises that test your ability to breathe and increase your heart rate. Doing so will improve your lung capacity, which can come in handy when you least expect it to in the future. Brisk walking, skipping, and swimming are some of the most beneficial exercises to get you panting within minutes – in a good way, of course.
For the not-so-active people, there’s a method as well. Suppose your physical condition limits you from being too active. In that case, you can improve the strength and capacity of your lungs through breathing exercises. Improved lung functionality and cleansing of lungs are some benefits of doing breathing exercises. Mild forms of yoga are also a good way of working on your lungs and improving your mental health.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
Since you can’t control outdoor air quality, try focusing on the air quality inside your home or workspace. Regardless of how much time you spend outside your home, you eventually must come back to eat, sleep, and unwind. Taking good care of your home makes your chances of contracting illnesses and diseases that affect your lungs and respiration.
Vacuum frequently, avoid letting the dust settle down, replace air filters in your home and car. Ensure your vehicle and home are smoke-free, allowing for cleaner vents, filters, and spaces. Surround yourself with objects that improve the air quality and suck up dust. For example, Himalaya Salt lamps are aesthetically pleasing additions to indoor spaces that help with respiration and decrease the chances of asthma. Also, indoor plants help increase oxygen levels and drastically improve the quality of the air you breathe through your nose.
Take Precautions During an Illness
While you’re dealing with an airborne illness such as the flu or any other respiratory disease, you will want it to die down as soon as possible. To avoid it from prolonging or worsening, you must take even better care of your hygiene.
Let’s start with the basics. Wash your hands with soap and water as frequently as you can; since your hands touch almost everything and everyone, including your face and nose. Avoid large crowds because you could transmit your illness to them, or they could transmit theirs to yours if you’re not sick. Act responsibly and stay home until you recover.
Personal hygiene is an absolute must but what’s even more necessary is oral hygiene. Take good care of your mouth by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and an annual visit to the dentist. Lastly, getting vaccinated is a must. Avoid all the conspiracies related to it because whoever has doubted vaccines has regretted going. Get vaccinated; it will do you wonders.
Health is wealth, and there’s no better way to increase this form of wealth than by taking good care of your lungs and improving their health and strength. Working on your lungs will do you right in the future, especially when you’re old. The crucial tips mentioned above should help you keep your lungs in immaculate condition and prevent them from deteriorating rapidly.
*Photos by Maksim Goncharenok