The Importance of Lung Health
October is Healthy Lung Month, an observance period designated to help raise awareness for lung health and educate the public about the importance of taking care of their lungs to prevent the negative effects of bronchitis, mold, air pollution, smoking, and even general neglect.
Fellowship Square offers some healthy lung tips for seniors.
According to the American Lung Association, there are many ways to take care of the lungs, whether perfectly healthy or living with a lung condition. One of the first things one can do is to quit smoking.
“Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema,” According to an article on the American Lung Association’s website. “Cigarette smoke can narrow the air passages and make breathing more difficult.” In addition, smoking causes chronic inflammation (swelling in the lung), destroys lung tissue, and may trigger “changes that grow into cancer.”
In addition to quitting smoking, people should avoid exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants (such as secondhand smoke and chemicals in the home or office). It’s also a good idea to check for an avoid radon and avoid exercising outside on bad air days.
“The air quality outside can vary from day to day and sometimes is unhealthy just to breathe,” states the American Lung Association. “Knowing how outdoor air pollution affects your health and useful strategies to minimize prolonged exposure can help keep you and your family well.” Climate change and natural disasters can also affect the health of one’s lungs.
The American Lung Association suggests tips for keeping the lungs healthy including preventing infection by practicing the following strategies:
- Washing hands often
- Avoiding large crowds during cold/flu season
- Maintaining good oral hygiene — brush twice daily and see a dentist every six months
- Get regular check-ups
- Exercises regularly
When it comes to the latter, exercise can actually help strengthen the lungs. “When you are physically active, your heart and lungs work harder to supply the additional oxygen your muscles demand,” the article states. “Just like regular exercise makes your muscles stronger, it also makes your lungs and heart stronger.”
Exercise has so many health benefits beyond lung health that it should be a part of everyone’s regular routine, regardless of age. It’s always important to check with a doctor before starting a new exercise routine; however, national guidelines typically recommend 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week. Fellowship Square encourages seniors to protect their lungs with these simple tips in honor of Healthy Lung Month.