Our lungs are a vital organ within our bodies. Respiratory diseases are the third biggest killer worldwide (with cancer and heart disease being the second and first). Most lung problems are directly affected by lifestyle choices.
Below are just a few ways in which you can start looking after your lungs:
It should come as no surprise that quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your lungs. About 10% to 15% of long-term smokers develop lung cancer or COPD. If you quit smoking before it gets to this stage, your lungs can heal. In fact, after just one year of smoking, most ex-smokers experience notable breathing improvements.
Second-hand smoke can be just as dangerous. If you live with smokers, you should kindly ask them to smoke outside. You should also limit time spent in smoking areas and homes of heavy smokers.
Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
Many lung problems can be caused by poor indoor air quality. A few of the following pollutants have been linked to development of asthma and more serious lung problems:
- Excess dust
Keeping your home well ventilated can help to keep the air clean. You could also consider using an air purifier or growing house plants.
Pollutants such as asbestos may be within the structure of your home and could be worth removing. Radon is a natural gas that can come up through the earth into your home – this can usually be prevented by making sure that your foundation are well sealed. Mold is primarily caused by excess moisture – make sure that there are no leaks in your home and that bathrooms and kitchens have extractor fans.
Be Physically Active
Physical activity is very good for the lungs. Exercise causes us to breathe harder, which helps us to replace the dirty air in our lungs with clean fresh air. This could help you to get rid of bacteria and various pollutants that could cause infections of lung irritation.
Being physically active can also improve lung capacity. If you get out of breath easily, taking up regular exercise could gradually improve this by strengthening and expanding your lungs (much like strengthening a muscle). On top of this, exercise is very good for your immune system, helping you to fight off potential lung infections.
Know When to See a Doctor
If you regularly experience difficulty breathing or pain in your chest, it could be worth seeing a doctor. Problems such as lung infections can be easily treated if caught early – but could get worse if not treated.
A doctor that specializes in internal medicine such as Dr Hooshang Poor will be able to check your breathing and help form a diagnosis. If the problem is serious, you may have to be recommended to a pulmonologist.
Looking after your lungs is easy. Don’t smoke, keep your home ventilated and exercise and you could ward most forms of lung disease. It’s worth noting that some lung conditions can be congenital, which is why you should always watch out for worrying symptoms like breathlessness and chest pain and see a doctor if necessary.