We often overlook the fact that our lungs need care. They keep pumping oxygen to our hearts to maintain our health, and we rarely pay attention to their well-being. Our body’s built-in defense system keeps our lungs free from dirt and bacteria. However, there are many healthy habits you can adopt to prevent or lower the risk of lung disease.
Lung cancer is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of respiratory problems, but some other lung conditions may be avoided or better controlled with effective remedies. In 2020, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released data showing lung cancer cases had increased by 2.2 million. Also, the aging population is at greater risk because of their lowered immunity and the higher potential for exposure in places like nursing homes.
You can improve your lung health and protect these essential organs’ functioning by following a healthy lifestyle. Take a moment to consider these five healthy habits to prevent lung diseases.
1. Prevent Pneumonia
When we talk about pneumonia, we’re talking about a dangerous lung infection caused by bacteria or viruses that produces a buildup of fluid or mucus in the airways, restricting airflow and making breathing difficult. Pneumonia is triggered by many variables, including lifestyle, age, medical problems, and environment. Due to underdeveloped and aging immune systems, infants and people aged 65 and up are highly vulnerable.
People 65 and older who reside in nursing homes are more prone to getting infected because such public spaces provide a breeding environment for bacteria that leads to infections there. In nursing homes, illnesses can spread in a variety of ways. Improper arrangements and negligence can result in nursing home wrongful death cases. Appropriate measures need to be taken in nursing homes to avoid aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia affects many aged nursing home patients who vomit or aspirate their food into their lungs. Nursing homes need to frequently check and pay careful attention to patients who have difficulty eating and swallowing.
2. Reduce Pollutants in The Home
Indoor air pollution can harm the lungs and increase asthma and allergy symptoms. A person can take the following steps to reduce toxic emissions:
- When the air outdoors is heavily polluted, avoid going out unnecessarily and keep windows and doors closed.
- Check for radon inside the house.
- Change your air filter every 60 to 90 days with one certified by the EPA.
- In a poorly ventilated area, avoid applying strong-smelling chemicals.
- If you suspect a moldy odor or mold, inspect your house.
- Always put a mask on when painting or dealing with harsh chemicals, a
- Avoid smoking in the house.
3. Avoid Exposure to Outdoor Pollution
Poor air quality outside the home causes breathing problems and raises the risk of lung disease and cancer. Pollution in the air can harm your lungs and make you age quickly. Your lungs can effectively tolerate these toxins when you are young and healthy. However, they lose part of that tolerance as you get older, making you more susceptible to infections and illness.
Allow your lungs to breathe, limit your exposure to outdoor pollution, and take the following measures to help minimize the unhealthy effects:
- Prevent secondary smoke and avoid going outside during periods of high pollution.
- To avoid inhaling pollution, exercise away from congested areas.
- Construction, mining, and waste management are all jobs that might expose you to airborne toxins.
- If you’re vulnerable to pollutants at work, take all necessary precautions.
- Check the air quality index before stepping outside, and stay inside if the air quality is low.
- Exercise away from rough and busy roads when there is noticeable pollution.
4. Prevent Infections
Respiratory disease or infection caused by a cold can be dangerous at times.
You can protect yourself by doing the following:
- The best way to avoid lung infections is to keep your hands clean.
- Avoid touching your face too much, and wash your hands with soap and warm water.
- Use cleansers containing alcohol if you cannot wash your hands, as they are an excellent alternative.
- During the seasons when colds and flu usually affect people, avoid gatherings.
- Oral hygiene helps protect you from diseases caused by microorganisms in your mouth, so brush your teeth regularly.
- Drink plenty of water and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables high in nutrients, as this can improve your immune system.
5. Stay Active, Do Breathing Exercises
Choose activities and exercises that raise your heart rate and cause you to breathe more deeply. If you don’t like going to the gym, a nice walk, jogging, or a regular tennis game will suffice. If you already have respiratory difficulties, talk to your doctor about your workout plan. Your lungs, too, require stimulation.
Breathing exercises can also strengthen the lungs. There are a few breathing exercises that you can try to make your lungs healthy and active. Try the following simple-to-do breathing exercises to keep your lung health and fitness on point.
- Do the following basic exercises to maintain your health and fitness.
- Inhale deeply through your nose. Then exhale slowly for longer than you inhaled with pursed lips.
- Try belly inhaling, which involves drawing air deep into the lungs using the diaphragm. Take a long breath by expanding your belly, then exhale slowly by squeezing it.
- Perform the abovementioned practices daily for like 5–10 minutes.
6. Quit Smoking
You already know that smoking is harmful to health, increasing the chances of lung cancer. Apart from lung cancer, it may also lead to other lung diseases like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and asthma.
Our lungs’ ability to operate affects how we perform daily, and it also interacts with our cardiovascular functioning and has a significant influence on our heart health. There are multiple ways to reduce the possibility of lung infections and diseases. Avoiding allergies, smoking cigarettes, and other air pollutants through a healthy lifestyle will help you keep your lungs healthy.
Consult your doctor about ways to prevent the risks of lung diseases and how to enhance your respiratory health so you can breathe better.