7 Ways to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

7 Ways to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

When was the last time you thought about your lungs’ health? If the answer is never, don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. Many people don’t keep lung health at the forefront of their minds. 

Unfortunately, chronic respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema, or asthma are common. According to the American Lung Association, over 10 percent of adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with lung disease. Still, maintaining your lungs healthy is essential to living a fulfilling life.

Since November is lung cancer awareness month, at PrimeMD, we want to help you be more proactive about respiratory health. Let’s get started. 

What do lungs do?

Your lungs are two sponge-like organs in your chest. They are part of other organs and tissues that make up your respiratory system. They help move fresh air into your body and get rid of waste gases.

Oxygen moves from your lungs into your bloodstream when you inhale, and rich-oxygenated blood circulates throughout your body. Cells pick up oxygen and exchange it with carbon dioxide. As the bloodstream makes its way back to the lungs (via blood vessels), it carries carbon dioxide and other waste gases, which you release when you exhale. 

But like the rest of you, your lungs age over time, losing their flexibility and strength, which can make it difficult to breathe—not to mention vulnerable to infections!

What is lung cancer? 

Cancer occurs when the lifecycle of cells goes wrong. New cells grow out of control, and old or abnormal cells don’t die when they should, leading to an overpopulation of cells that no longer function normally. 

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the lung tissue, and it’s the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the U.S. 

Types of lung cancer

There are two main types of lung cancer, each with different treatments. 

  1. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)—About 85 percent of lung cancers are NSCLC. The subtype of cancer depends on the type of lung cell where cancer started. 
  2. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)—About 15 percent of lung cancers are diagnosed as SCLC. This type of lung cancer is more aggressive and difficult to diagnose. About 70 percent of people with SCLC have cancer that has spread at the time of their diagnosis. 

Lung cancer can also result in lung carcinoid tumors, which account for about five percent of lung tumors. Other lung cancer tumors include lymphomas, carcinomas, and sarcomas, which have different treatments. But lung cancer isn’t the only disease that can affect lung health. 

Other lung diseases 

The good news is that making adjustments in your daily habits can help you improve and maintain lung health for years to come. 

Seven daily habits for healthy lungs

Your lungs do a lot for you. You can do your part to maintain lung health by building sustainable habits that support a lung-friendly lifestyle. After all, taking care of your lungs is easier than treating lung disease. 

Don’t know where to begin? Here are seven tips to get you started. 

  1. Move more, breathe better—Research shows that staying active helps strengthen lung tissue because they work harder as your heartbeat and breathing increase, making them more efficient at what they do. 
  2. Eat your way to healthy lungs—Add antioxidant-rich foods to your meals. Look for dark leafy greens and veggies, all sorts of berries, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and spices. 
  3. Goodbye smoking— Smoking increases your risk of lung cancer and other chronic respiratory diseases. 
  4. Stay on top of your health—Prevent infections by getting regular checkups that help you detect abnormalities early on, allowing you to act before they become a health-threatening issue. 
  5. Breathing exercises—Research shows that taking deep breathes clears the lungs, supports full oxygen exchange, and benefits overall lung health and function. 
  6. Clean home environment—Make sure to dust and vacuum your home at least once a week—pay close attention to rugs, carpets, and tapestries. 
  7. Minimize exposure to pollutants—Chemicals and other contaminants in the air can damage your lungs. 

Visit PrimeMD to get a checkup. Our dedicated team of healthcare professionals will be ready to assist you. You can find your nearest location here.

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