If you haven’t taken a deep breath lately, take the time to take one now. Just notice the air flowing through your airway, feel it rest in your lungs as it’s exchanged for carbon dioxide, and then exhale as it flows back out into the world.
That was one breath, one of the approximate 650 million the average person will take in their lifetime. Most of the time, we don’t think about it, but being able to breathe is a treasure that we literally forget about most of the time.
However, that ability is often not afforded fully at birth or is lost to accident, bad behavior, disease, old age, or some combination of factors. Living without full lung capacity is a challenge that too many of us face, but there are some concrete ways to reduce your risk of complications down the line.
Check out our tips for Healthy Lung Month, and spread these tips to friends and family to stay healthy and happy!
A Quick Primer On Your Lungs
Unless you’re a doctor, it’s possible that you don’t think all that much about your lungs or about breathing, which is fair. We’re all pre-programmed on how to do it, so it’s an easy program to run in the background.
But your lungs are actually incredibly fascinating organs. First, you breathe air into your lungs by filtering it through your windpipe, which keeps that air warm and moist. Then, the air is filtered down the bronchi and bronchioles of each lung before being harnessed by the alveoli at the ends of the bronchioles.
The job of these alveoli is to take in oxygen from the air and return some carbon dioxide to expel into the air. Once the oxygen is taken in, your heart and your circulatory system will do the rest, taking that sweet oxygen to the cells who need them.
Lung Problems & Issues Of Civilization
Lung problems, at least in our modern times, are largely driven by the environments and lifestyles we find ourselves in. Diseases like lung cancer, asthma, and emphysema seem to have cropped up after our lifestyles changed from hunter-gatherers.
Pollution, lack of exposure to the environment, sedentary lifestyles, bad products; they all contribute to our worsening health across the board, and especially in the United States. These simply did not seem to be major issues for our ancient ancestors, but now seem to be a massive problem for people across the globe.
Thankfully, we have ways to combat some of the bad effects of our environments. By employing a few simple steps here and there, you can increase your chances of yourself or your loved ones maintaining a healthy life long-term.
Avoid Any And All Tobacco (And Vaping)!
This one should be an absolute no-brainer, given the decades of PSAs about cigarettes and smoking. Yet, millions around the world still partake in the product.
Scientists believe that tobacco causes changes in the body when inhaled, with the lungs taking the most damage. As those cells change, they may lead to malfunctions between cells and certain processes. Some cell groups may experience growth beyond their natural limits, which occurs when there is a cancer.
Tobacco and tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars are known carcinogens. Quitting these products or simply never partaking in them in the first place are fantastic steps in the direction of optimal lung health.
Don’t think that vaping is safe, either. Vaping needs far more definitive research, but early studies suggest that vaping can cause damage to the lungs as well.
Get Outside, And Go Often
If you’re anything like the average American, you probably spend a great chunk of the day indoors. Whether for school, work, or both, we tend to spend quite a bit of time outside.
While our time outside would almost always be better for us in the long-run, the issue lies in our time spent indoors. That’s because much of the air being circulated inside isn’t filtered properly. Contaminants and bacteria/viruses could propagate in a space where the filtration is subpar. In the age of COVID-19, that could be incredibly unsafe.
One way to counter stale indoor air is to simply go outside. The air outside is likely much richer and healthier for your body, and the risks of bumping into contaminants are much lower.
There is also some evidence to suggest that spending time in nature as a child could reduce the likelihood of asthma. Children who live on farms or near forests exposed to allergens reduce the chances of developing allergies as well. By spending more quality time in nature, you could make your life better down the road.
One of the best things you can do for your lungs is to keep them moving and active. Like the saying goes, “More it or lose it!” You’ll want to keep yourself moving and use the full extent of your lung capacity when you can.
Like other aspects of your body, your lungs and diaphragm need stimulation to develop properly and stay strong. Underdeveloping those muscles could have a ripple effect on health down the line, even affecting the strength of the immune system and related systems.
Keep Your Doctor In The Loop
When it comes to lung health, time is always of the essence. If you take your problems to your doctor right away, instead of “powering through,” you increase the chance of catching a major problem early. By ignoring pain, you may let an issue grow until it does major damage.
Whenever you feel like something is off with your body, let your doctor know as soon as you can.
Trust Healthonomic For All-Around Care!
If you’ve gotten this far in the blog, you’ll notice our tips were easy and natural. At Healthonomic Primary Care, we try to blend natural behavior change with modern medicine and technology to provide great care.
If you struggle with COPD or other lung conditions, contact our clinic today so we can develop a treatment plan!