While you don’t have complete control over whether or not you face lung problems later in life, there are some things you can do to keep your lungs as you age:
- First and foremost, don’t smoke! Cigarettes, cigars and marijuana are harmful to your lungs and there is no safe amount to smoke. Be wary of second- and third-hand smoke as well.
- Beware of air pollution. More than 154 million Americans are still living in places where air pollution is unhealthy. Air pollution is dangerous if you have healthy lungs, and even worse if you have COPD or asthma. During days with especially high levels of air pollutants, avoid the outdoors, especially if you have lung disease.
- Exercise! Keeping your cardiorespiratory fitness levels high will make it easier for your lungs to keep supplying your heart and muscles with oxygen.
- Improve your indoor air quality. You spend most of your time indoors, so the indoor air quality is just important. Read our old blog post on how to improve your indoor air quality.
- Eat foods heavy with antioxidants, such leafy green vegetables. These foods have a protective effect on your lungs.
- Stay up-to-date with your shots. If you have lung problems, it’s important to protect yourself from respiratory infections, so get your flu shot and if necessary, the pneumococcal vaccine. Also practice proper hygiene to avoid colds and infections – washing your hands frequently, avoid crowds during flu season, eat healthy and rest up.
- Use all-natural cleaning products. Avoid using harsh chemicals for cleaning or home improvement projects. If you have to use harsher chemicals like bleach, use them in well-ventilated areas and wear a mask.
- Listen to your body. If you have a cough for more than a month, have a hard time breathing, are wheezing, coughing up blood or phlegm, go get checked out by your doctor.
Your lungs are vital to your health, so take good care of them!