It can be easy to take breathing for granted. On average, a person takes 16 breaths per minute. This adds up to 960 breaths per hour, 23,040 breaths per day and nearly 8.5 million breaths each year. And for most people, you take these breaths without even thinking about them. But while you passively breathe in and out, your lungs are hard at work.
Your lungs and respiratory system are vital to your health. In addition to transferring oxygen from the environment to your bloodstream, your lungs help regulate the acidity of your body. Even though your body has built-in defense mechanisms to help protect your lungs from dirt and germs, like the tiny hairs inside your nose, here are five things you can do to help keep your lungs healthy:
- Don’t Smoke: Cigar and cigarette smoking are the leading causes of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It narrows the airways making breathing more difficult and causes chronic inflammation which can lead to other conditions like chronic bronchitis. While it’s best to not start smoking in the first place, those who already smoke you should quit immediately. Researchers are also looking into the effects smoking marijuana may have on the lungs.
- Avoid Exposure to Pollutants: Even you are personally not a smoker, you should also take great care to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Other pollutants to avoid that can damage your lungs include radon, outdoor air pollution like smog, chemicals in the home or workplace, fumes from diesel gas, mold, and asbestos.
- Practice healthy habits: Everyday healthy habits such as regular hand washing and good oral hygiene can help prevent the common cold or other respiratory infections that can sometimes develop into something more serious. Annually,fsssw you should also get the flu vaccine. While currently only recommended for those considered high risk, ask your physician if the pneumonia vaccine is right for you.
- Annual health exams: Even if you are not sick, it is important to never skip your routine health exam. Establishing a relationship with your primary healthcare provider will help give your physician the foundation necessary to better identify when something may be out of ordinary. Many lung conditions and diseases often go undetected until they become serious. Prevention and early detection are important to the success of your treatment.
- Get moving: Regular exercise not only helps improves your lung capacity, but it can also help you maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can put you at greater risk of developing many lung-related illnesses. If you have already been diagnosed with a lung disease like COPD, breathing exercises may help improve your lung function.
The key with all of these tips is to take a proactive approach when it comes to keeping your lungs healthy rather than being forced to react when a problem arises. If you have concerns about your lung health or respiratory function, contact Respire to schedule an appointment today.