When thinking about the best ways to stay in shape and remain healthy, it’s essential to give our lungs the attention they deserve. Just like your joints, bones, skin, and other organ systems, your lungs reflect the consequences of what they have gone through and how they've been treated over time.
Chronic lower respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and other lung conditions that block airflow and make breathing difficult, rank fourth among the leading causes of death in the United States. In addition to these statistics, lung cancer remains the third most common cancer in the United States. As a matter of fact, it's responsible for more cancer-related deaths than any other form of the disease.
While these numbers are alarmingly high, here are some simple steps everyone can take to protect their lungs and support continued health and well-being:
- Don’t smoke, and if you do, quit! According to statistics, cigarette smoking is responsible for 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and women. Furthermore, in addition to its association with lung cancer, smoking is linked to several other lung diseases, including COPD, asthma, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
- Avoid and reduce your exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants. Be aware of air quality where you live or work and avoid going outside as possible during peak pollution times. If your job or hobbies involve airborne toxins or particles that can damage your lungs, wear the appropriate face mask or face mask respirator to protect yourself. Also, do your best to protect yourself from secondhand smoke and other indoor pollutants. Make sure your home is well ventilated and free of dust, mold, and dander. Use natural and safe cleaning products and avoid products with harmful synthetic chemicals.
- Exercise regularly. In the same way exercise keeps the rest of your body in shape; it also supports the health and efficiency of your lungs. A regular exercise program makes it less likely you’ll feel short of breath during physically demanding activities as well as help your lungs better resist aging and disease. It’s also important to practice deep breathing. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, deep breathing clears the lungs, supports improved oxygen exchange, and benefits overall lung function. Strong lungs support ongoing health and help slow down the progression of lung disease, enabling individuals to stay active longer.
- Do your best to prevent infections While protecting ourselves from exposure to COVID-19 requires more stringent safety measures including social distancing, avoiding larger indoor and outdoor gatherings, and wearing masks, some universal measures applicable to COVID-19 are also vital to prevent all other respiratory infections. Remember to wash your hands frequently, avoid touch your face unless your hands are clean, drink plenty of water, eat a nutritious diet, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and remain current with recommended vaccinations.
At the office of North Jersey Pulmonary Associates in Totowa, New Jersey, we provide the care required to prevent, manage, and treat pulmonary disease and disorders. Our goal is to help patients breathe easier and enjoy better health. You can rest assured your health is in the best of hands at our office. We’re dedicated to the care and comfort of our patients and remain on hand to address all your questions and concerns.
By North Jersey Pulmonary Associates
February 10, 2021