Your lungs are two very important organs in your body and probably the most essential part of your respiratory system. They are a pair of spongey, air-filled organs that are responsible for carrying oxygen into your blood stream.
Why are your lungs important?
Your body needs oxygen in order to survive. The oxygen that you inhale through your nose into the lungs, passes in to your bloodstream and is exchanged for carbon dioxide which is then exhaled back out through your nose.
Your lungs also:
Modify the air to the right temperature into your body
Filter out substances that may be harmful to your body
Assist your sense of smell in detecting irritants
Here are 5 key ways to improve your lung health...
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Over time, smoking narrows the air passage that oxygen travels through and eventually makes it harder to breathe. This is why heavy smokers tend to wheeze or cough. Your lung tissue also slowly starts to break down, which then increases your chance of developing cancer. If you are a smoker, the best decision for your lungs is to quit!
Exercising is a major key to keeping your lungs and heart healthy. They work together to get oxygen into and around your body, and exercise helps them do this more effectively. It is recommended you do 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day – whether that be walking, cycling, or running. A little exercise is better than no exercise!
Many things are classed as pollutants such as cigarette smoke (first and second hand), air pollution, and chemicals that you may have at home and at work. Inhaling these can increase your chance of lung disease and worsen it if it is already present.
Ways to reduce this are:
Not smoking in your car or home
Be aware of anything that can be polluting your place of work, and wear respiratory protective equipment (RPE) if it’s provided by your employer
Try not to exercise outside on days when pollution is high. You can check your local air pollution forecast on the UK Air website
Get Regular Checkups
The common mistake people make is only getting checked up when they think something is wrong. However, there is nothing wrong with checking up on your health even when there is no indication of a problem. Prevention Is better than cure!
Most people between the age of 40 – 74 will be invited for a free NHS health check every 5 years. If you work in environments that might affect your lung health, you may be invited to regular medical assessments provided by your employer. If you don’t fall into either category, many private healthcare providers can carry out health checks for a fee. Of course, if you think something is wrong, do visit your GP for free help and advice.
Colds, flus, and infections can sometimes become serious depending on what it is and if it is left untreated. However, as we’ve said above, prevention is better than cure and there are many ways you can prevent them.
During winter months (where possible), avoid crowds. Especially in indoor spaces.
If the flu jab is available to you yearly, it is strongly recommended you take it as flu can be deadly.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds. If this is not available to you then alcohol hand sanitisers are a good alternative. This gets rid of any harmful bacteria being carried around on your hands.
It is important to not just protect yourself from illnesses, but to protect others around you if you get sick. Keep your distance where possible and do not go out unnecessarily.
Our sources & information