Keep Those Lungs Happy and Healthy!
Lungs are necessary to survive; as part of the respiratory system, they help us breathe. All cells in the body need oxygen to live. Air contains oxygen and other gases; when we breathe it in, the air goes to our lungs. The oxygen is transferred to the bloodstream in the lungs and then carried throughout the body. Each cell takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. The blood then carries the unwanted carbon dioxide back to the lungs; it’s then removed from the blood and exhaled. This process is called gas exchange.
You may not think about the importance of your lung health until you experience a breathing problem. Genetics, disease, and the environment can affect the health of your lungs and cause respiratory problems. When your lung health is affected, it impacts the quality of everyday life and can prematurely shorten your lifespan. Because the lungs are an important part of the body’s daily functioning, keeping them healthy is crucial for overall health.
Are there any signs to indicate lungs disease?
Watch for these early signs of lung disease and talk to your doctor if you notice any of them:
- A cough that lasts a month or longer
- Shortness of breath after little or no exertion
- Chronic mucus production
- Noisy breathing or wheezing
- Chronic chest pain
- Coughing up blood
How do we keep our lungs healthy?
- Quit smoking. Smoke irritates the lungs and makes it harder to breathe. Visit our Quit Smoking pages for more information and resources.
- Live smoke-free. Avoid second-hand smoke whenever possible. Make your home and car smoke-free spaces using RHA’s smoke-free resources. Ask people not to smoke around you.
- Eat right. People who have COPD spend more energy breathing, so proper nutrition is an important part of staying healthy and active.
- Avoid chemicals. It may help your breathing to not wear or use scented products, such as perfume or hairspray. When cleaning, avoid harsh chemicals and use scent-free, natural products, which are typically less toxic.
- Monitor air quality. Stay active but safe. Know the outdoor air quality where you live. Harmful chemicals can linger in the air on days that are hot, sunny and humid with little wind, causing poor air quality. On these Air Pollution Action Days, it’s particularly important to stay inside.
- Exercise to breathe harder. When you exercise, your heart beats faster and your lungs work harder. Your body needs more oxygen to fuel your muscles. Your lungs step up their activity to deliver that oxygen while expelling additional carbon dioxide
What types of foods that can help to promote lung health?
- Healthy Fats (nuts, eggs, avocado)
- Protein (lean meats, beans)
- Complex carbs (whole-grain breads, pasta)
- Fresh fruits & vegetables (berries, grapes, tomatoes, broccoli)
- Potassium (banana, beet)