Visiting Angels, Barrington Blog

Celebrate healthy lung month

Our lungs do vital and continuous work that we don’t think much about unless their efforts are impeded. The Lung Institute reports, that “lung disease affects a staggering number of Americans. About 10 million adults are diagnosed with chronic bronchitis each year, and about 4.7 million others have ever been diagnosed with emphysema.” Additionally, the institute shares that 25 million Americans live with asthma.

This October, we have occasion to reflect on our precious lungs and all the ways they enable us to enjoy healthy, happy lives. Consider these suggestions to honor Healthy Lung Month.

Clear your indoor air Celebrate healthy lung month

The Lung Institute says the air inside your home can have pollutants that can be harmful to the lungs. The institute explains, “some common lung irritants found indoors are lead, formaldehyde, radon, cleaning agent vapors, and fire-retardants. Natural pollutants also make their way into the home, including pet dander, dust mites, and mold.”

The institute offers simple suggestions to purify your home including installing a radon detector, using scent-free detergents and utilizing an air purifier. You can also cultivate an indoor garden because plants are known to help purify indoor spaces and keep the air oxygenated and clean.

Exercise

The American Lung Association explains, “when you are physically active, your heart and lungs work harder to supply the additional oxygen your muscles demand. Just like regular exercise makes your muscles stronger, it also makes your lungs and heart stronger. As your physical fitness improves, your body becomes more efficient at getting oxygen into the bloodstream and transporting it to the working muscles.” Talk to your doctor as you think through what kind of exercise routine is most suitable to your needs. It can feel challenging to think about how to stay fit during the pandemic and cold weather, but even in the chilly weather, a brisk walk can feel wonderful. There are also plenty of online and televised workout routines for you to try.

Confront a poor habit

Our bodies are organic systems, and the choices we make have systemic implications. When we decide to routinely smoke, our lungs are impacted, but smoking doesn’t just impact the lungs. It reverberates throughout the body impacting nearly every organ. Smoking can cause lung disease, heart disease and strokes, according to the CDC and it can “cause cancer almost anywhere in your body.”

Likewise, carrying extra weight can have a systemic impact, and can cause problems for the lungs. The American Lung Association points out: “People with a BMI of 30 or more have a much higher risk of having asthma than those with a lower BMI. Seven percent of adults with a BMI in the normal range have asthma but 11 percent of adults with a BMI classified as obese have asthma. And, for reasons we don't yet understand, this seems particularly a problem for women - nearly 15 percent of women who are obese suffer from asthma.”

Breathe

Deep breathing exercises can calm us when we’re agitated, and they give our lungs a deep workout. Consider trying this simple practice. Put your hand on your abdomen. Feel your breath come into the pit of your body. Fill yourself with breath and let it out through your mouth, aiming to exhale two or three times as long as the duration of your inhale. Relax your shoulders and your neck as you do so.

If you or a loved one needs assistance in healthy lung care, Visiting Angels can help. Our trained caregivers can provide help with transportation to appointments, light housekeeping in the home and so much more. If you want to learn more about how we can help, give us a call at 224-512-4180.

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