A person’s lungs play a crucial role in their health. They collect air and facilitate oxygen exchange between your blood and the air. The process helps to keep your body’s organs well-oxygenated.
Compromised lung health reduces oxygen supply to other organs and the rest of the body. In the long run, this can cause serious health problems.
Lungs are naturally protected as part of your body’s defense system. The small hair in your nose and mucus on the lining of your breathing tube attract germs and pollutant particles to keep them from reaching the lungs. However, the rising levels of air pollution and declining health mean that these natural barriers are insufficient.
Here are some measures to ensure your lungs stay healthy.
- Don’t miss your regular check-ups
Some people think you should only go to the doctor when you are sick. However, regular check-ups are important for staying healthy, especially as you get older. Lung diseases tend to go unnoticed until they get very serious and put your life in danger. To avoid this scenario, see your family doctor regularly so they can keep an eye on your lung health by listening to the sound of your breathing. If they suspect something is wrong, they will order further tests to determine the problem so you can be treated promptly.
- Avoid exposure to indoor pollutants
Several chemicals can make their way into your home or workplace and damage your lungs.
Radon is a gas made when natural uranium in the soil or water breaks down. It is a clear, odorless gas that can lead to serious lung disease.
Burning gas, wood, oil, or coal releases a gas called nitrous oxide which can make you cough extensively and develop asthma.
Similarly, asbestos exposure can lead to pleural mesothelioma, the most common form of this rare cancer and affects the lining of the lungs (pleura).
Hence, ensuring that your home’s air is always clean and free of harmful chemicals is important. You can use a test kit to check the levels of Radon in your house. Clean your carpets regularly as they can trap mold, dirt, dust mites, and cockroach droppings which then get into the air and damage your lungs.
If you have a humidifier in your home, make sure you change the filters and do maintenance regularly to keep it from developing an airborne fungus. Ensure your appliances are installed correctly, and that waste gases are expelled.
- Check your area’s AQI
Air pollution is a huge problem these days because of exhaust from motor vehicles and factory emissions. Polluted air harms everyone, but children and older people are highly susceptible. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a way to judge the air quality in an area based on the amount of particulate matter, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide present.
You should regularly check the AQI of your city to see if it is at an acceptable level. If you find that the AQI of your area has risen above 150, you should try to minimize the time you spend outdoors. If you have to venture out, try wearing a mask to keep the worst pollutants out of your lungs.
- Don’t smoke
Smoking can lead to many lung diseases because of the harmful chemicals in cigarettes.
Tobacco smoke causes your airway to become narrower, making it difficult for you to breathe. It can cause inflammation and irritate the lungs, leaving you with a persistent cough. Over time, the smoke causes irreparable damage to your lungs.
Additionally, the people around you, like your family and friends, will be affected because passive smoking can be as dangerous as active smoking. According to a study conducted by CDC in 2019, 15.3% of middle and high school students were exposed to secondhand smoke at home. Secondhand smoke exposed 73% of children who lived with a smoker in their home during 2013-2014, as opposed to only 22.3% of those who did not.
Hence, it is in your and your family’s best interest for you to quit smoking.
- Take measures to avoid infections
The common cold and other respiratory infections can sometimes develop into more serious infections and cause lasting damage to your lungs. That is why you should always try to avoid catching a cold by washing your hands regularly, and using an alcohol-based sanitizer when washing isn’t an option.
Avoid going to crowded places in flu season and always wear a mask on public transport. Get your influenza vaccination every year to inoculate yourself against the disease. If you get sick somehow, take sick leave and stay home to avoid infecting other people.
- Eat foods that are good for lung health
An inflamed airway makes it difficult for you to breathe, resulting in congestion. Eating anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, lentils, leafy greens, blueberries, cherries, olives, beans, and walnuts prevents inflammation. Moreover, green tea contains many antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in your lungs.
On the other hand, try to avoid eating processed meats and food with too much salt. Drinking too many sugary and alcoholic beverages is also bad for your lungs.
- Exercise regularly
Staying active is a generally good idea. Not only is it beneficial for your physical and mental health, but it also decreases your chances of contracting diseases.
During exercise, your body needs more oxygen. Hence, exercising 30 minutes 5 days a week will keep your lungs in the best shape.
If you have lung problems, regular exercise can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen.
Your lungs are an important part of your body as they oxygenate your blood and eliminate carbon dioxide produced by your cells. To ensure your lungs stay healthy, avoid dangerous habits like smoking. Keep your house clean, so you do not always breathe dust and germs. Check your city’s AQI and take proper precautions if the number indicates poor air quality. Exercise regularly and visit your doctor regularly for check-ups.