It’s already October, and you know what that means — it’s time for all the Halloween festivities to begin. But if Halloween isn’t really your thing, you’ll be happy to know that there’s another major event to look forward to — National Healthy Lung Month. Healthy Lung Month is a time that’s set aside for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and raise awareness for one of the body’s most important organs. Because lung diseases become more common with age, we felt there would be no better time to offer up a few tips for maintaining healthy lungs.
Take Time to Exercise
Physical activity and lung health go hand-in-hand. Each time you exercise, you’re strengthening muscles throughout your body in addition to your lungs and heart. According to the European Respiratory Journal, when you strengthen your muscles, they become more efficient by requiring less oxygen and producing less carbon dioxide waste. So, what this means is that if you’re experiencing breathlessness or fatigue, a bit of exercise may get you back on track!
It should be noted, however, that there is such a thing as “too much exercise.” No matter what type of exercise you prefer to do, it’s best to always start slow. After all, marathon runners aren’t born overnight. Moving too quickly into an exercise routine can lead to injury and may discourage you from pursuing it after you recover. Also, you don’t need to do high-intensity exercise either. Doing small strength training exercises or even breathing exercises throughout the day will help.
Be Open About Respiratory Symptoms
Similar to mental health conditions, many lung disease cases go undiagnosed. There are a number of reasons for this including the fact that most of them progress slowly over the course of several years. However, sometimes it has to do with shame or guilt. Many people feel like they will be a burden on friends or family if they talk about their symptoms so they keep them inside instead.
If you experience respiratory symptoms like breathlessness, coughing, or wheezing, it’s imperative that you address them with your doctor immediately rather than waiting for them to get better. These are common signs of chronic lung conditions like COPD and lung cancer and although they’re most likely temporary, you can never be too careful.
Avoid Air Pollution
Air pollution is the number one cause of chronic respiratory disease. This includes things like cigarette smoke, car exhaust, pollen, and occupational chemicals. When pollutants like these enter the body, they cause inflammation and irreversible damage to the tissues lining the lungs. As a result, you’ll want to spend more time in less crowded and polluted areas and try to avoid inhaling anything that could irritate your lungs or respiratory tract.
Keep Up With Your Medication
If you have already been diagnosed with a chronic lung disease, the best thing you can do is to stay up-to-date with your medication and treatment plan. Many lung conditions require you to use an inhaler, nebulizer, or oxygen therapy machine like a portable oxygen concentrator. So, using these treatments as they were prescribed is the best way to prevent your disease from progressing.
Overall, it’s not too difficult to maintain healthy lungs. However, the more aware you are of what damages the lungs, the easier it will be to prevent it from happening to you. If you’ve done everything you can but still experience symptoms like breathlessness or coughing, you should visit a doctor immediately.