It’s common for individuals to overlook their lung health until a respiratory problem occurs. Rather than waiting for a lung issue to happen, it’s a good idea to make these lifestyle changes now to prevent those issues from ever happening. Below we’re sharing our top three tips for improving your lung health so you can make the most of your respiratory system.
Quit Smoking & Avoid Secondhand Smoke
It’s no secret that smoking is extremely damaging to your entire body, especially your lungs. The same goes for exposure to secondhand smoke – while the dosage of tobacco is not the same compared to someone actually smoking, it could lead to asthma attacks, respiratory infections and more. Check out this timeline from cancer.org to see just how beneficial quitting is:
- 20 minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure and heart rate begin to drop.
- 12 hours after quitting: Carbon monoxide levels return to normal.
- 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your lung function increases and circulation begins to improve.
- 1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath begin to decrease and the cilia in your lungs start regaining normal function.
- 1 year after quitting: Your risk for a heart attack drops dramatically and your risk of coronary heart disease is now half that of a smoker.
As time goes on, the benefits just continue to grow. After 15 years of quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker's! There’s no better time to quit than now.
Practice Deep Breathing
If you’re looking for a way to increase your lung capacity, deep breathing exercises are the way to go. Not only can they help clear mucus from the lungs, but they also build strength in your lungs. Below are the steps for pursed lip breathing which is a simple deep breathing exercise you can try:
- Relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
- Breathe in through your nose.
- Purse or pucker your lips.
- Slowly breathe out through your mouth for twice as long.
- Continue repeating this exercise and practice it multiple times each day.
Avoid Exposure to Pollutants
Something many individuals don’t usually consider is how dangerous air pollution is to your lungs. Here are some simple tips to protect your lungs:
- Before deciding to spend the day outdoors, check the air pollution forecast and see if the air quality is good.
- If you want to exercise outdoors, pick a day when pollution levels are low.
- Reduce your energy use at home to avoid creating more air pollution.
- Don’t let anyone smoke inside your home – if they smoke, have them do so outdoors.
Your lung health matters and has an impact on your overall health and wellness. At Advanced Respiratory Care Network, we prioritize your lungs and offer respiratory services to help you reach the diagnosis you’re looking for. Contact us to learn more!