October is Lung Awareness Month
The month of October is set aside for lung awareness. Lung health is something that affects all of us, even people who don’t smoke. Certain things in the environment can harm our lungs, such as pollutants, toxins and allergens. Also, as we head into the winter months, people are more likely to experience difficulty breathing. October is a great time to remind ourselves of how important our lungs are and what we can do to take care of them.Below are some of the best ways to keep your lungs healthy, especially if you already have lung disease.
- Stop smoking, if you do.
Cigarette smoking is a major cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It narrows the passages, creates chronic inflammation, destroys lung tissue and leads to cancer. It is never too late to stop smoking. Also, given the recent deaths from vaping, it’s important to point out the dangers of e-cigarettes. Vaping is still bad for your health. It’s addictive and has similar effects as nicotine, raising blood pressure and introducing toxins into the blood.
- Test your home for radon.
Indoor air can be up to 10 times worse than outdoor air due to contaminants like secondhand smoke and radon. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can cause or worsen lung disease. Get your home tested. If you have high levels of radon in the home, you can install a radon mitigation system to lower your levels.
- Drink plenty of water.
Getting enough water keeps your lungs healthy. The mucosal lining in the lungs stays thin, allowing your breathing organs to function better. If you’re dehydrated, the mucus can thicken and get sticky, slowing down function. Plus, staying hydrated keeps your immune system strong so that it can fight off colds and respiratory infections.
- Get 20-30 minutes of exercise every day.
Physical activity is great for the lungs. It improves lung capacity and blood flow, allowing the lungs to deliver more oxygen to the blood. Plus, when you’re active, you also make your heart healthier. Aim for 20-30 minutes of moderate activity each day, such as walking or swimming.
- Add some greenery to your home.
Adding plants to the home increases oxygen and air quality thanks to their ability to filter out the air. Plus, they look pretty! Plants are especially important during the winter when people spend more time indoors.
- Eat a balanced diet.
A lung-healthy diet is no different from a heart-healthy diet. Fill your plate with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Low levels of certain nutrients have been linked to poor lung health. To keep your respiratory system healthy, make sure your diet consists of vitamins A, C and E, zinc, potassium, selenium and magnesium. For those who already have lung disease, it’s important to take special care of the lungs. There are ways to treat respiratory conditions like emphysema, COPD, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma. To learn more about living with lung disease, check out the pulmonary videos on Doctor’s Choice.