What you need to do to improve your lung health?
Since breathing is involuntary, most people don’t give much thought to the health of their lungs on a day-to-day basis. But by making conscious decisions to support your lung function, you’ll be rewarded with a reduced risk of disabling and life-threatening lung diseases like cancer . Watch the accompanying video for a quick introduction to lifestyle choices that promote strong lungs, presented by one of our doctors from West Hills Hospital.
Quit smoking or don’t start
Thousands of chemicals are present in tobacco smoke, including carbon monoxide and tar. Smoking a cigarette or cigar causes both short-term and long-term changes in the lungs, including the following:
- Increased production of thicker mucus
- Suppressed ability of the cilia to clean the lungs
- Increased risk of lung infections
- Irritation, inflammation and narrowing of the airways
- Destruction of lung tissue
- Less oxygen available for the body
- Increased risk of lung cancer
The health benefits of quitting smoking begin right away. Within a matter of days, ex-smokers will notice that it’s easier to breathe. As time passes, ex-smokers have a decreased risk of lung infections and cancer.
Stay away from secondhand smoke
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2.5 million non-smokers have died since 1964 from health problems that developed because of their exposure to secondhand smoke. Non-smokers may develop:
- Breathing difficulties
- Frequent, severe asthma attacks
- Lung cancer
You can protect your lungs from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke by taking the following steps:
- Prohibit smoking in and near your home
- Prohibit smoking in and near your car
- Walk away if someone near you lights up
- Prohibit smoking on your company’s property, if you own a business
Test your home’s radon level
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally, and is present in many homes. Exposure to high levels of radon can lead to lung cancer. You can protect your family by purchasing a radon test kit to use in your home.
Exercise on most days of the week
Each time you exercise, your lungs get exercise, too. Everyone’s physical capabilities and needs are a little different. For most adults, doctors generally recommend getting moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
With our cutting-edge medical technology and genuinely compassionate healthcare providers, West Hills Hospital is your family’s partner in health. We pride ourselves on comprehensive preventive health services, but also offer cutting-edge interventional medicine by our Cancer Care team in West Hills. You can request a physician referral by calling (818) 676-4321.