When your lungs are working properly, you probably aren’t thinking about them. However, taking care of your lung health should be a priority for everyone, even if you aren’t a smoker. Take action to protect your lungs to reduce the risk of lung disease.
Two major steps you can take for healthier lungs are to quit smoking and keep up with a healthy diet and exercise routine. “Smoking can be a major risk factor for lung cancer,” said Dr. George Lin, Chief Medical Officer at Pascack Valley Medical Center.
Certain circumstances put specific individuals at risk for lung cancer. “People who are at least 55 years of age or older who have smoked a pack of cigarettes every day for 30+ years are high-risk patients,” said Dr. Lin. “Those are people who need consistent lung cancer screenings. This low-dose CT scan can reduce mortality for this group of patients.”
Beyond quitting smoking, a healthy diet will help keep our lungs working properly. Maintaining your weight will lessen chest pressure, allowing the proper amount of air to get into your lungs. Following a nutrition plan that is suited to your body’s needs is the best way to control weight in a safe manner.
If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), symptoms can be reduced with specific diet modifications. “COPD patients should try to reduce carb intake because it can increase carbon dioxide production,” said Dr. Lin.
Exercise is also an important part of maintaining and increasing lung health. Finding time for 30 minutes of daily activity can improve your lung capacity and function and it also a great way to improve your mood and de-stress. To gain strength and breathe more efficiently, try weaving in breathing exercises to your routine.
Don’t take breathing for granted! Be proactive by quitting smoking, eating healthy, getting daily exercise and scheduling a lung screening if you are at risk for lung cancer.