When it comes to maintaining our well-being, not many of us think of the health of our lungs. However, it’s best not to take your lungs for granted. After all, they are one of the most important organs within your body. They help us breathe in air and oxygen, which helps to sustain regular body function and keep us fit and healthy.
Our lungs are also quite delicate and vulnerable. Especially today, several environmental hazards can easily cause damage and lung diseases. Several harmful recreational activities also increase the risk of lung diseases. In such a situation, it’s crucial to know preventative measures to reduce the risk of developing lung diseases. Here are some practical ways you can use to do so.
Avoid exposure to pollutants
Air pollution has increased significantly because of human activities in the past few years. This has led to a decline in lung health. The air we breathe now contains several pollutants such as carbon monoxide and engine exhaust. So, if you want to reduce the risk of lung disease, avoid going outdoors without a mask if the air quality is bad.
However, air pollution is also present outdoors and inside your home or workplace. For example, radon gas can accumulate over time inside our homes, increasing cancer risk. On the other hand, household products such as air fresheners, cleaners, and candles can release carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene into the air. So, ensure your indoor spaces are well-ventilated.
Minimize asbestos exposure
One of the most dangerous substances you may be exposed to in your home and workplace is asbestos. It is found in construction materials such as shingles, floor tiles, and insulation. Once you inhale asbestos fibers, they can cause scarring within the lungs, leading to pleural mesothelioma and other cancers. If you’re living in a building constructed before 1980, you may want to consider the risks of asbestos exposure. Also, if you are at risk at your workplace, take proper safety precautions to prevent inhaling and ingesting microfibrils of this toxic mineral.
Smoking is indeed a fun or relaxing activity for some. However, it’s essential to understand that nothing is more important than your health. While you smoke tobacco, your body inhales numerous harmful substances that include carcinogens such as tar and carbon monoxide. But smoking does not only increase the risk of lung cancer. Toxins inhaled through smoking can increase mucus, making it more difficult to remove infectious bacteria. Smoking can also irritate lung tissues and gradually constrict airways, making breathing difficult. It’s not surprising how smoking is associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, and COPD, alongside cancer.
The relaxation received through smoking ends soon. However, its effects continue to deteriorate the condition of your lungs for years to come. In contrast, quitting smoking causes the level of carbon monoxide in your body to become normal within only 12 hours, and your lungs begin to recover. It can be pretty challenging for chain-smokers to quit. Still, with some determination, medication, and counseling, it’s not impossible to do so.
Lung infections can be hazardous for older people and smokers, as they have weak lungs that cannot combat pathogens. However, by following unhealthy practices and avoiding preventative measures, even the healthiest people can develop lung diseases such as pneumonia.
But simply keeping your hands clean with soap and water can save you from a variety of different lung infections. After all, our hands constantly interact with our mouth when we’re not aware, often leading to the spread of dangerous pathogens collected from the surroundings. It’s crucial to wash your hands if you’re around other people with infections such as cold or flu. Following good oral hygiene can also reduce the risk of diseases by getting rid of the germs in your mouth.
More importantly, boosting your immune system is one of the best strategies to counter lung infections, especially if you’re an older adult. Getting a pneumococcal vaccine and a flu shot each year is a great decision to prepare your body for pneumonia and flu. Moreover, keeping yourself hydrated and adding fruits to your diet can boost your immune system.
Physical activity improves your health in many ways, including keeping your lungs in shape. While exercising, your lungs need to work faster to supply more oxygen to muscles. Not only does this improve cardiovascular health, but it also increases your lung capacity.
If you want to get the max benefit out of exercise, it’s best to perform aerobic exercises. These exercises increase your need for oxygen, forcing your lungs to work harder. For example, you can go cycling, jogging, swimming, or walking. Your lungs will have improved capacity and blood flow due to the formation of more capillaries. It will allow them to deliver more oxygen to your blood with each breath. Consequently, you will be less susceptible to lung diseases and will be able to overcome them easily.
Aging combined with environmental and social hazards put our lungs at constant risk of disease. However, it’s crucial not to lose such vital organs to lousy lifestyle choices because they promote overall well-being. So, take note of the tips mentioned above to reduce the risk of developing lung diseases.