Lung cancer awareness month take places every November in the UK.
The aim of the campaign is to encourage people displaying the common symptoms of lung cancer, such as a persistent cough, breathlessness or unexplained weight-loss, to visit their GP.
Health.com has shared 13 solid pieces of advice on how you can keep your lungs healthy!
Manage chronic conditions
Lung infections often develop as a complication of another chronic illness, says Michael Niederman M.D., clinical director and associate chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.
“Controlling any chronic medical problem can potentially reduce your risk of developing a respiratory infection,” he said.
Smoking tobacco or inhaling secondhand smoke gunks up your lungs’ self-cleaning system. Toxins and cancer-causing particles lodge in your airways and in the tiny air sacs (called alveoli) that supply your blood with oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide.
“Smoking breaks down some of these lovely little barriers and restraints that we have in the lung to protect it,” Dr. Finn said.
Avoid germy situations
Covering coughs and sneezes is the polite thing to do, but it’s also good hygiene. A well-placed crook of the elbow can prevent the spread of viruses that cause, the common cold, and more serious respiratory illnesses. Pneumonia often develops as a complication of a respiratory infection, especially the flu.
Get your shots
“Something as simple as a flu shot can prevent the flu, which can help avoid developing influenza pneumonia”—a viral form of pneumonia, according to Dr. Niederman. And there’s a downstream benefit because that can protect you from developing very serious bacterial pneumonias, he said.
Fill your plate with produce
A diet rich in fruits and veggies is heart healthy and good for the gut, and may also help to prevent chronic lung disease.
Take your lungs for a walk
For overall health, most healthy adults should get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Any exercise that gets your heart rate up counts—be it swimming, cycling, gardening, or brisk walking.
Strike a yoga pose
Dr. Finn says some studies suggest simple yoga with stretching and breathing may actually increase your lung function and exercise capacity.
One study of patients with COPD, for example, showed improvement in lung function after two months of yoga training, versus no improvement in people undergoing usual COPD treatment. The study authors concluded that yoga, especially “pranayamic” breathing exercises, may be a good add-on to conventional therapy.
Doing deep-breathing exercises can improve your lungs’ efficiency, maintain healthy lungs, and help people with respiratory diseases learn to breathe better.
Try: Breathe in through your nose and then breathe out slowly through pursed lips as if blowing out a candle. Your exhale should be two to three times longer than the inhale.
Avoid noxious fumes and pollutants
Airborne pollutants affect people in different ways, but they are almost always bad for your lungs. Tiny foreign particles (think automobile exhaust and other pollutants) can get lodged in your respiratory system and trigger an inflammatory response, while inhaling toxins can destroy lung tissue.
Spice up your diet
While there’s no hard-and-fast evidence that spices are a “panacea” for respiratory problems, there’s no harm in spicing up your meals—and there may be a potential upside, Dr. Finn said.
Keep it clean
Dust mites, pet dander, and mold: If they’re lurking in your home, they can triggerand asthma or worsen existing respiratory symptoms.
“Carpets are a reservoir of many of these indoor allergens,” Dr. Finn cautioned.
Eating a handful of nuts a day, including tree nuts and peanuts, may cut your risk of dying from respiratory disease by half. That’s according to a large analysis of studies on nut consumption. (It also showed significant reductions in heart disease and overall cancer risk.)
Nuts are rich in vitamin E, which reduces cell oxidation and inflammation in the body. Of course, people with peanut and tree nut allergies should opt for anti-inflammatory alternatives, like olive oil and fatty fish.
Full article here.