Joyce Knestrick, PhD, CRNP, FAANP
Right now, one in seven older adults suffers from some sort of lung disease, whether it’s chronic bronchitis or emphysema (which make up chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD), asthma or occupational lung diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Typically, we don’t appreciate our lungs until they stop doing their job. Here’s what you need to know to protect your lungs before it’s too late:
- Don’t smoke. Smoking is by far the leading cause of lung disease and COPD.
- Avoid harmful pollutants. Secondhand smoke, air pollution, household chemicals and radon all cause lung disease.
- Prevent infection. Colds and respiratory infections can be dangerous for already taxed lungs, so wash your hands and get the flu shot.
- Exercise. Exercise increases the strength and function of your lungs, which helps limit shortness of breath.
- Regular checkups. Millions think being “out of breath” is part of old age, but it’s not. Visit your provider to get to the bottom of your breathing trouble before it gets worse.
Chronic lung disease can be deadly, and the incidence is on the rise. Don’t take your lungs for granted—breathe easier knowing you’re practicing good lung health!