The lungs are an essential respiratory organ, located near the backbone on either side of the heart. Their main function is to transport oxygen from the atmosphere into the bloodstream and to release carbon dioxide from the bloodstream into the atmosphere.
The lungs never rest. In just one day, a healthy person breathes nearly 25,000 times.
There are many things that you can do to keep your lungs functioning properly. Simple lifestyle changes, dietary changes and healthy habits can be highly beneficial for your lungs.
First and most important one is to make a commitment to stop smoking.
What Happens when you Quit Smoking?
- 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure decrease.
- 12 hours: Your carbon monoxide levels return to that of a non-smoker.
- 14 days: Your circulation and lung function improve.
- 1 year: Your riskof a heart attack is half that of someone who smokes.
- 5 years: Your stroke risk is half that of a smoker’s risk.
Avoid Secondhand Smoke:
There is no safe exposure to secondhand smoke. When you are around a person who is smoking, you inhale the same dangerous chemicals as the smoker. Breathing even a little secondhand smoke can be dangerous.
- Secondhand smoke has more than 4,000 chemicals.
- Many of these chemicals are toxic and cause cancer.
- You breathe in these chemicals when you are around someone who is smoking.
Limit Your Exposure to Pollutants:
In addition to cigarette smoke, there are various other pollutants present in the air that are harmful for your lungs as well as overall health. Even the synthetic fragrances used in various laundry products and air fresheners emit toxic chemicals.
- Avoid highly polluted and industrialized areas.
- Do your bit to minimize outdoor pollution and help create a cleaner environment. For example, whenever possible, walk or ride your bicycle instead of driving.
- When building or remodeling your house, opt for eco-friendly options like formaldehyde-free cabinetry, linoleum instead of vinyl flooring, low or no VOC paints, etc.
Improve Indoor Air:
Indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air. Carpet, paint, particle board, detergents, printer inks, and other household items all release chemicals. Houseplants filter the air and remove toxins.
Source control, filtration and the use of ventilation to dilute contaminants are the primary methods for improving indoor air quality in most buildings.. Residential units can further imporve indoor air quality by routine clening of carpets and area rugs.
Use at least 2 houseplants per 100 square feet of space. These plants should be in 10- to 12-inch pots.
Do Deep Breathing Exercises Daily:
Breathing feeds oxygen to every cell in the body. Without sufficient oxygen, people are more prone to lung problems and even heart disease. With regular deep breathing exercises, you can easily strengthen your lungs. It can also help clear out toxins that may have built up in the lungs. This in turn helps improve lung performance and clear airways.
Play a Wind Instrument:
You can play a wind instrument like a flute, oboe, tuba, saxophone, mouth organ or clarinet to improve your lung health. You need to use your lungs’ capacity to the fullest to play any of these instruments. This gives your lungs a regular workout and helps improve their air capacity.
The body has a natural defense system designed to protect the lungs. This works very well most of the time, keeping out dirt and fighting off germs. However, several harmful substances can damage the airways and threaten the lungs’ ability to work properly, which can lead to lung disease.
Some common lung diseases are asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, lung cancer and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). People with lung disease have difficulty breathing and some diseases can even lead to respiratory failure.