We don’t often consider how our lungs keep us strong and healthy. Like the rest of our bodies, our lungs need care and attention daily to work at their best. We don’t realize how effectively our lungs work for us until we have trouble breathing. Your lungs allow your body to get oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide.
This gas exchange is a key part of breathing, one of your most important things. When people discuss lung diseases, lung cancer is frequently the first thing that comes to mind. However, these lung health options can help avoid or better handle many other illnesses and conditions of the lungs.
Various Lungs Diseases
Pneumonia is a dangerous lung illness caused by bacteria or viruses that cause an increase in mucus or fluid in the lungs. This can make breathing hard because your airways narrow, and less air can get in and out of your lungs. The most common type is bacterial pneumonia, which can be more dangerous than the other kinds.
Some things, like age, surroundings, lifestyle, and health problems, can make someone more likely to get pneumonia. People 65 or older or younger than 2 years old tend to be the most at risk because their immune systems aren’t as strong as they once were.
Keeping Pneumonia From Happening
A good first step is to wash your hands and stay away from people who have lung illnesses. But if your doctor says so, you may also receive the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine to protect your lungs. The pneumococcal polysaccharide (pneumonia) CDC recommends the vaccine for:
- People almost 65 years old
- People Those between 2 and 64 years old who have certain health problems
- People ages 19 to 64 who smoke cigarettes
Asthma is a long-term disease that can cause the passageways in the lungs to swell and shrink. During an asthma attack, people often wheeze, feel tight in the chest, have trouble breathing, and cough. Some people may only have mild symptoms, whereas others may have more serious symptoms often set off by more things.
Asthma tends to occur in families, and while you may not be able to stop it, you can control its effects by being proactive by following an asthma treatment plan. This usually means working with your doctor or an expert to manage your asthma by watching it often, avoiding triggers, and taking medicine.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a group of lung diseases that worsen over time and damage the airways, making breathing hard. It is most often caused by smoking or long-term exposure to lung toxins like dust, chemicals, or air pollution. COPD causes people to cough up mucus, wheeze, have shortness of breath, and feel tight in the chest.
The best way to manage your lungs and avoid COPD is to not smoke. If you smoke, you should talk to your doctor about the best and most helpful way to quit. Other lung allergens, like air pollution, dust, chemical fumes, and secondhand smoke, can also cause COPD. Making sure the air quality in your home, school, and workplace is good can be a big step toward protecting your lung health now and in the future.
Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
A PE is a blood clot that starts in the leg and stops an artery in the lung. This can be made by long periods of inactivity or surgery. This slows or stops blood flow in the small blood veins of the lungs, which can be fatal if it isn’t fixed immediately. Stopping PE starts with stopping new blood clots from forming. Some people might think this means:
- Understanding when you’re at risk, like after surgery, when you’re pregnant, or when you’re taking certain drugs.
- Taking blood thinners as prescribed and having them checked on often by a doctor.
- A good way of life includes regular exercise, eating well, and not smoking.
- Move your legs when sitting for a long time, like on a long flight or drive.
- After surgery or an injury that needs bed rest, get up as soon as possible.
10 Tips For Keeping Your Lungs Strong And Healthy
If you put your mind and heart into taking as good care of your lungs as possible, you can breathe a little better today, understanding that you’re defending your health for the future.
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Here Are 10 Things You Can Do Every Day To Keep Your Lungs Healthy And Avoid Lung Disease:
- Don’t smoke, and don’t be around people who do.
- Be aware of your environment’s air quality. If you are worried, check for chemicals or poisons and talk to your doctor.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water (or an alcohol-based hand cleaner if you don’t have soap and water) to avoid getting colds and other lung illnesses.
- If you know someone has the flu or another sickness that affects the lungs, you should stay away from big groups of people.
- Stay home if you are sick, so you don’t give other people colds or lung illnesses.
- Get a flu shot every year and tell others to do the same.
- Get regular exercising to improve your lung fitness and health as a whole.
- Deep breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, is something you should do.
- Keep up with your tooth health and oral care to keep dangerous germs from moving from the mouth to your upper lungs.
- Get normal checkups with your primary care doctor and talk to him or her about any worries regarding your lung health, such as signs of lung cancer or evidence of lung disease in your family.
If you want to know more about protecting your lung health, emergency care doctors are here to help you with expert care for your whole body.