World COPD Day – Tips to keep your Lungs Healthy

world copd day – tips to keep your lungs healthy

22/11/2021

The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) organizes World COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) Day. The theme for World COPD Day in 2021 is "Healthy Lungs – Never More Important" with the goal to emphasize the burden of COPD, in prevalence with the ongoing global COVID pandemic. Even in the face of COVID, COPD remains   a leading cause of death worldwide and there has never been a more critical time to focus on lung health.

Lungs and their functions

The lungs are a vital organ of our body and an integral part of the respiratory system. Your lungs and the respiratory system plays a very important role of providing oxygen supply to the body, by moving fresh air into your body while removing waste gases, all as we breathe.

In addition to gas exchange, your respiratory system performs other roles important to breathing. These include:

  • Bringing air to the proper body temperature and moisturizing it to the right humidity level.
  • Protecting your body from harmful substances. This is done by coughing, sneezing, filtering or swallowing them.
  • Supporting your sense of smell.

 

Lungs therefore is one of the most complex organs with many functions to perform. That's why you should take care of your lungs.

Here are some tips that will help you:

  • Stop Smoking

When you smoke a cigarette, you breathe in thousands of chemicals, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar. Toxins such as these are harmful to your lungs. Smoking is a risk factor for chronic lung disease, which can lead to severe shortness of breath. Furthermore, those who smoke are six times more likely to have emphysema than non-smokers, and four times more likely to develop chronic bronchitis.

Research shows that quitting smoking reduces your risk of developing COPD by 50-70%. No matter how long you’ve been a smoker, within just 12 hours of quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Within a few months, your lung function begins to improve.

  • Exercise

Getting regular exercise is probably the most important thing you can do for the health of your lungs. When you exercise, your heart beats faster and your lungs work harder. Your body needs more oxygen to fuel your muscles. Your lungs step up their activity to deliver that oxygen while expelling additional carbon dioxide. Creating strong, healthy lungs through exercise helps you to better resist aging and disease. Even if you do develop lung disease down the road, exercise helps to slow the progression and keeps you active longer.

  • Avoid Pollution

Pollutants in the air can wreak havoc on your lungs and hasten the ageing process. While your lungs can easily resist these toxins when they are young and healthy, they lose some of their resistance as they age, making them more susceptible to infections and disease.

We can't avoid pollutants completely, but limit your exposure as much as possible:

  • Avoid second-hand smoke and avoid going outside during peak air pollution times.
  • Avoid exercising near busy roads because you could inhale exhaust.
  • If you are exposed to pollutants at work, take all possible precautions. Certain occupations, such as construction, mining, and waste management, can increase the risk of being exposed to airborne pollutants.

 

  • Deep breathing exercises

Deep breathing, even for a few minutes, was found to be beneficial for lung function by the researchers. Breathing exercises can additionally help rid the lungs of accumulated stale air, increase oxygen levels and get the diaphragm to return to its job of helping you breathe.

Breathing exercises can make your lungs more efficient. To try it yourself, sit somewhere quietly, and slowly breathe in through your nose alone. Then breathe out at least twice as long through your mouth.

Try to incorporate the above tips into your daily routine. By devoting some of your energy to these tasks, you can help keep your lungs in peak condition for the rest of your life.