Visiting Angels, Crystal Lake Blog

Love your Lungs this October, Healthy Lung Month

October is Healthy Lung Month, our annual opportunity to think about these marvelous organs and the mighty work they do to sustain us. 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.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the only threats to our lungs anymore. COVID-19 can have lasting implications for the lungs. Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, a lung expert from John Hopkins Medical Center, explains that “COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, can cause lung complications such as pneumonia and, in the most severe cases, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. Sepsis, another possible complication of COVID-19, can also cause lasting harm to the lungs and other organs.”

As the pandemic continues along with the threat of flu season, it’s a good time to pause and think about our lungs and how we can keep them healthy.

Exercise

Our lungs love to 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.”

The pandemic and the cold weather make exercise options limited. This is a good time to consider how you plan to stay active during the winter. Consider workout equipment like a stationary bike, or maybe try a yoga or a tai chi video. You can also investigate nearby fitness studios and senior centers to see if there’s an indoor track for you to walk laps.

It can be hard to keep up our enthusiasm for exercise, but the benefits outweigh the struggles. Talk with your family and your Visiting Angels caregiver if you need help facilitating rides to a workout studio or if you need extra motivation to stay active. Whatever exercise routine you choose, make sure to consult your doctor to stay safe.

Quit habits that don’t serve you   

Now’s the time to confront habits that we know don’t serve us, such as smoking. Smoking is a hard habit to give up, but as the World Health Organization explains, “smoking any kind of tobacco reduces lung capacity and increases the risk of many respiratory infections and can increase the severity of respiratory diseases.”

We’ve long known that smoking can be a detrimental habit, but the stakes are higher now with COVID. According to the World Health Organization, “COVID-19 is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs. Smoking impairs lung function making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other respiratory diseases.  Available research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 outcomes and death.”

As new year’s draws closer, now is the ideal time to think through how to kick the habit and start 2021 off with a healthier lease on life.

Eat well

Our diet impacts so many aspects of our health and wellness, including how our lung function. The Lung Health Institute explains that, “studies show that antioxidants can help cleanse toxins from the body, and you can get more antioxidants by eating foods like leafy green vegetables and berries. Vitamins like vitamin C have also been shown to help the lung detox process by reducing inflammatory chemicals in the body.” To keep your lungs strong, consider eating plenty of citrus, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli.

Adhere to COVID protocol

Since COVID attacks the lungs and respiratory system, it’s important to protect ourselves against COVID to maintain proper lung health. Whenever you venture outside the home, be sure to properly social distance, wear masks and use sanitizer. These measures can feel demanding, but they can help in reducing your risk of contracting COVID and harming your lungs.

Take care of those precious lungs this month and every month. Your respiratory health is worth it!

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.