Our lungs are sometimes taken for granted and for the most part, we don’t need to worry about them because they keep us healthy and alive but because of this, giving attention to your lung health is crucial. Our body has a built-in defensive mechanism that keeps dust and bacteria out of the lungs however, there are some significant steps you may take to lower your chance of developing lung disease.
You might experience health issues even if you lead a healthy lifestyle hence, watch out for the signs of unhealthy lungs. They could indicate you have asthma (a lung problem that makes it hard to breathe) or you can be suffering from a lung infection or another problem so consult your doctor if you see them.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Pawankumar Biraris, Consultant Chest Physician and Interventional Pulmonologist at Medicover Hospital in Navi Mumbai, shared some suggestions for maintaining lung health –
1. No smoking: Cigarette, bidi or any kind of tobacco smoke exposure leads to cancer and many other lung diseases . Avoidance of such smoke exposure is key aspect of prevention.
2. Avoid indoor pollution: Smoke from mosquito coils , scented candles, chulha smoke also damages lungs. Allergy to dust or strong smells, mould exposure manifesting as sneezing , runny nose or breathing issues is a frequent problem. To prevent it use a damp mop or cloth that can trap and lock dust while cleaning. Ensure appropriate ventilation with use of windows and doors . Avoid exposure to bird droppings especially pigeons.
3. Avoid outdoor air pollution: There is a lot which can be done to reduce air pollution . At personal level avoid burning wood, trash etc. Use bicycles, carpools, railways to reduce carbon emission. Plant trees to save earth and save yourself.
4. Exercise: Avoid exercising in polluted environment. Aim for at least 20 minutes of consistent, moderately exercise like a brisk walk which is great for lungs as well as heart. For patients with lung disease learn exercises from experts like diaphragmatic beathing , purse lip breathing and participate in pulmonary rehabilitation.
5. Yoga, Pranayama: Simple breathing techniques and pranayama has been shown to protect the lung health from centuries. Practicing these simple techniques is the healthy lung lifestyle.
6. Prevent infection: Regular use of appropriate face masks has shown benefit in Covid-19 as well as tuberculosis. This is a simple and one of the most cost-effective way to prevent lung infection.
7. Vaccination: For individuals at high risk of infection, vaccination for influenza virus , pneumococcal bacteria are utmost important for prevention of pneumonia. Consult your doctor and get more information about these vaccines.
8. Compliance with treatment: Patients with lung diseases should not stop their regular medications without consulting a doctor.
9. Lung heath check: Regular lung heath check is recommended , especially for people with family history of lung diseases, occupational exposure , current or reformed smokers and people staying in polluted areas.
10. Educate: Educational drives for children and adolescents about the harmful effects of traditional tobacco smoking and newer tobacco products like E-cigarettes, hukkah parlours should be conducted. ‘Educate a child , educates a family and build a healthy nation.’