Lungs are vital organs that keep us alive. Breathing is spontaneous and seamless for many of us, but we realize how breathing difficulty is uncomfortable only after something goes wrong in the respiratory tract and lungs.
Malfunctions in the lungs and respiratory tract do not affect our breathing alone. Lung health issues can jeopardize overall health. So look after lung health. Understand the causes and risk factors of lung diseases. Here’s how you can keep your lungs healthy:
- Be cautious of occupational exposure
Dust, smoke, chemicals, heavy metals, radiation, pathogens, and toxins are well-known occupational risk factors. These pollutants enter the lungs when we breathe in a contaminated environment. The problem arises when these pollutants get stuck in narrow airways and sacs, causing breathing problems, irritation, cough, and infections.
Leukemia, lung cancer, and mesothelioma are the most occurring pulmonary health issues connected to occupational exposure. Hence, be cautious of the hazards in your workplace. Follow preventive protocols, use protective gear, or wear a face mask to minimize exposure. See a doctor immediately when you notice signs and symptoms of lung health issues.
Occupational exposure is a serious offense. Your employer is liable for legal consequences if you develop chronic lung diseases from workplace exposure. They must also cover your treatment expenditure. Generally, lung cancer compensation can be as high as a hundred thousand dollars. But before that, explore what claims substitute and justify lung cancer compensation and how to file negligence lawsuits against employers.
- Practice personal hygiene
Personal hygiene is the most effective preventive measure and the first defense against the lungs, respiratory tract, and other well-being challenges. Hand hygiene, regular showers, and clean clothes are healthy practices for healthy bodily functions and vital organs, including the lungs.
Hygiene practices help prevent the growth of pathogens and germs and their attacks. Washing your hands and body after coming in contact with contagious agents can minimize the risk of developing infectious lung diseases to a great extent. Doctors recommend washing hands with soap and water during flu season. In short, discipline in personal hygiene can protect your lung from several preventive diseases.
- Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet is crucial for every internal organ to function optimally. Non-nutritious diet can cause nutritional deficiency, impair organs, and disturb internal functions. Thus eat a balanced and healthy diet.
Mix healthy food choices to get the required nutrients. Include fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, legumes, grains, eggs, seafood, and low-fat dairy products. Vitamins, proteins, minerals, fatty acids, and fiber from these sources are all essential for better functionality of the lungs and other vital organs. Use healthy plant-based oils to cook food. Avoid deep-fried and highly processed foods.
- Maintain a healthy weight
A healthy weight helps our body and mind work better. Being overweight or obese is not a concern for heart health alone, but it also affects every internal organ. Lungs exert more pressure to satisfy the oxygen demands of an obese body. Overweight and obese people experience excess weight against their chest wall, which can hamper their breathing and cause asthma-like symptoms.
Overexertion in the long run tires and exhausts lung muscles and impairs lung functions. The brain also has poor control over breathing, leading to oxygen desaturation and higher carbon dioxide concentration. As a result, we feel more out of breath, anxious, and lethargic. Poor oxygen supply can lead to more severe complications for vital organs. Hence, maintain a healthy body weight. See guidelines for a healthy body mass index and incorporate healthy habits to achieve an ideal weight.
- Prevent first or second-hand exposure to smoking
Smoking is a leading cause of respiratory health issues. Cigarettes, weed, or vape contain thousands of chemicals, and we breathe in these chemicals as we smoke. Your lungs can expel smoke while breathing out, but these chemicals are stuck in the airways and tiny air sacs, causing irritation, airway blockage, and impairment of lung functions.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 80% of all deaths from chronic pulmonary disease are related to smoking. Smoking is a leading risk factor for 90% of all pulmonary cancers and 40% of other malignancies. Smoking also elevates the risk of all other healthcare issues and premature death, regardless of first or second-hand exposure. So quit smoking and prevent second-hand exposure.
- Attend to respiratory health symptoms
Since lungs breathe life into our bodies, we cannot afford negligible malfunctions and impairments. They need care and maintenance the same way as other vital organs. And your ignorance and delays can lead to chronic illnesses and cause irreparable damage to the organ. Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, coughing, wheezing, mucus production, or chest pain may seem manageable with self-medications.
But these can be early-stage indications of asthma, obstructive pulmonary, pneumonia, tuberculosis, bronchitis, and other lung diseases. So do not ignore respiratory health signs and symptoms. Keep up with a pulmonologist if these problems persist. Early intervention can save you from chronic respiratory and pulmonary health issues.
- Know your family history
Your risk of developing lung diseases or other respiratory health issues is higher if you have a family history of such problems. You are two times more likely to develop lung cancer than those without a family history. Lifestyles, habits, and occupational affiliations of family members can also increase your risk of second-hand exposure to carcinogens, smoke, toxins, and chemicals and develop lung diseases later on. You can develop lung cancer or malignancies elsewhere if you are a survivor.
Thus know your family history to keep up with your health profile. You can augment your defense with preventive measures if you know the risk factors. Even if the fate is unavoidable, early prognosis is more manageable.
Lungs may be life-support organs, but they do not need specialized maintenance. Unless you have an underlying health condition, you do not need extravagant or specific efforts to keep your lungs healthy. Follow a healthy lifestyle, quit unhealthy habits, practice preventive measures, and stay updated on your health status. And that is it. Your lungs work optimally when you are physically and mentally healthy.