Breathing is More Than a Habit

Breathing is More Than a Habit

When it comes to your lungs, there is good news and there is bad news.  The good news is that most of us are blessed with about twice the lung capacity required for an active life.  The bad news is found on the other side of the same coin: Most people have twice the lung capacity required for day to day activities, and thus, many people don’t realize that they have a problem until their lung capacity is already half gone.

At least two factors make this problematic: first, whatever condition caused the loss of lung function initially may be progressive and cause further damage; and second, as a normal part of the aging process, our lung function starts to decline naturally starting around 40 years of age.  Either or both of these factors may result in worsening symptoms with the passage of time. As one’s lung function declines so does one’s exertional capacity.

These facts emphasize the importance of taking care of your lungs prior to the outset of symptoms. When originally penned in 1736 by Benjamin Franklin, his famous adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” referred to fire prevention; however, its truth is certainly applicable to most health-related issues.  Here is a list of things that can help individuals take care of their lungs:

Not smoking tobacco and avoiding passive second-hand tobacco smoke

Avoiding the inhaling of dusts and chemicals (if unavoidable, wear recommended masks or respirators)

Avoiding outside activities on days with “poor air quality” warnings

Getting proper vaccinations (influenza, whooping cough, and pneumovax)

Maintaining hydration

Keeping the nose clear – nose-breathing allows for considerably better filtering of the air that      reaches the lungs than does mouth-breathing

Exercising regularly

Discussing screening procedures with one’s doctor if there is concern

Avoiding vaping since long-term safety data is not yet available

Your lungs thank you in advance for your consideration!

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