Did you know that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is the fourth most common cause of death among people in the US? COPD is a disease of the lungs characterized by long-term obstruction of airflow towards the lungs. Some examples are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Unfortunately, COPD is irreversible although its progression as well as the symptoms it comes with can be managed. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to keep your lungs in a great shape.
Experts say that your lungs are good enough to last for a lifetime, unless they are damaged by external factors. There are certain habits proven to be damaging to your lungs, and you may be guilty of doing some of them! If you want to save your lungs from any medical trouble, read on to know some of the things you should ditch pronto!
There is no denying that smoking is a terrible, terrible habit for your lungs. It is said that you are at higher risk of having COPD and lung cancer the more you smoke. If you’re a smoker, you are not the only one whose lungs are at risk, but also those of people around you because second-hand and even third-hand smoke are bad for the health.
Exposure to Polluted Air
Living in a highly developed place can put you at greater risk of having COPD because of air pollution. Since there is practically nothing you can do to put an end to such problem, you may put on a mask each time you set foot outside the home or workplace. Also, it’s a good idea to do your share in keeping air pollution from worsening.
Breathing Polluted Indoor Air
Don’t think that your lungs are automatically out of harm’s way when you are indoors. Are you aware that indoor air could in fact be dirtier than outdoor air? To ensure that you are breathing clean indoor air, you should: eliminate sources of pollution like fireplaces, construction materials and pet dander, improve ventilation and install air cleaners.
Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle
Since your lungs are not muscles, exercising won’t make them stronger or less susceptible to being damaged. However, being physically active allows you to utilize your lungs efficiently. Mild to moderate exercises is especially beneficial for those who are battling chronic diseases of the lungs like emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Not Having Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Studies have shown that antioxidants are good for the lungs, and that is why having antioxidant-rich meals can help in protecting your lungs from anything that can harm them. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants. You should also include cruciferous veggies like broccoli, bok choi and kale in your diet for maximum lung protection.
Purchasing Hazardous Products
Some household cleaning products can be bad for your lungs, in particular those that contain ingredients such as bleach, ammonia and volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Before buying anything, read the label carefully. Also, opt for water-based instead of oil-based paints when giving your home a DIY makeover.
Skipping Steps to Avoid Infections
Hand washing is one of the things you can do to ward off infections of the upper respiratory tract. It’s a great idea to avoid being in crowded places especially during the flu season. Speaking of flu, get the flu shot to save your self from this respiratory condition. You should also get the pneumococcal vaccine if you are 65 years old or above.
Not Seeing a Doctor
Last but not least, not consulting a doctor the moment you notice some signs and symptoms of lung problems is a terrible idea. Just like with most other diseases, early diagnosis and treatment can work to your advantage. See a doctor when you have a hard time breathing even with minimal exertion, or when you have long-term chest pain or cough. Definitely, you should seek immediate medical attention when you are coughing up blood.