Most of the time, we don’t really have to pay much attention to our lungs, They just work. They keep us breathing, they keep us alive. The lungs are a vital part of our body and yet many people don’t take the right steps to maintain the long-term health of their lungs. Though your body has natural defences against germs and dirt, it still needs to be cared for in order to keep it working optimally and to reduce the risk of lung disease. In this article, we will discuss how to keep your lungs healthy.
The most obvious intervention we can make to our lifestyle is to avoid smoking or, if you already smoke, to stop smoking. Smoking is one of the biggest reasons that people develop lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Smoking constricts the air passages, making it harder to breathe. It can lead to chronic inflammation, which refers to the swelling of the lungs, which in itself can result in chronic bronchitis, a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. With long-term use, smoking leads to the destruction of lung tissue and eventually, it can lead to cancer. Stopping smoking is very difficult, and organizations such as the American Lung Association offer help to people looking to quit.
ANother intervention that you can embrace in your life, is to reduce your exposure to secondhand smoke, chemicals and radon. So, for instance, if you can, avoid going outside when the air is particularly bad. If you believe that there are chemicals or pollutants in your environment that are making you sick, speak to your healthcare provider for assistance.
Air quality is something that is largely beyond our immediate control. It’s something you pretty much have to take as is. What you can do is to reduce your exposure to places with air pollution. Unfortunately, many people have to suffer the ill-effects of climate change, pollution and natural disasters. If that is your fate, try and balance that out by visiting places with good, clean air.
Preventing infections is an important part of maintaining the integrity of your lungs. Some things you can do to protect yourself against infection are:
- Wash your hands thoroughly, with soap and water. If you cannot do so, use the now common hand sanitisers.
- Stay away from crowds during flu season.
- Maintain high oral hygiene standards. Germs in your mouth can lead to infections.
- Get vaccinated against influenza and Covid-19.
It’s also important to get a check-up on a regular basis. Lung disease is a silent killer, and often develops without being detected, until its very advanced or perhaps too late. Your doctor will monitor your breathing and address any concerns you have, to ensure that your lungs are in their best possible shape. FInally, you should exercise. Get some firewood, go camping. Run in the great outdoors and breathe the fresh air. Keeping active develops your lung muscles and keeps them healthy. Look for ways to keep active, even if you have to make modifications because you are old, chronically ill or disabled.