Longing for Lung Facts
The role our lungs play in our lives is something that we rarely think about. Of course, most people know that strong lungs keep us strong and healthy, but we take it for granted the contributions that it makes. It is when we experience problems in breathing, that we realize the lungs are indeed a major organ of our human body.
Lungs Like the Rest of The Body Needs Attention & Care
Let’s take a small trip back to elementary school. Breathing helps in feeding oxygen to each cell in our body. Now if there aren’t enough oxygen, people will suffer from health issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, respiratory illnesses, and sometimes even heart diseases.
However, ordinary breathing that most people do every day won’t keep enough oxygen flowing into the body. This is only at the peak level which most experts believe. While at rest, and during most of the daily activities, only 50% of the capacity is used by the lungs. Like most body parts, the lungs thrive on activity and movement.
As the day to day activities won’t help you to use your lungs to the fullest capacity, it is important that you need to challenge your lungs. Of course, the best choice is doing some intense activity. Also, such activities can counteract the basic build-up of tar and toxins present in the lungs. These are caused due to allergens, environmental pollutants, dust, cigarette smoke, etc. Hence, it is important that you make sure that your lungs are cleansed from these toxins.
Lungs Diseases You Might Want to Know Of
Some of the most common medical conditions are caused due to lung diseases. Roughly, about tens of people suffer from lung disease in the US alone. Genetics, infections and smoking are the major reason for this.
As we all know lungs are the basic part of the complex apparatus. This expands and relaxes thousands of times every day, which is to bring oxygen into the body and expel carbon dioxide. Do you know that lung disease can result from various problems in the human body?
Lungs Diseases That Affect Airways
The windpipe or trachea branches into tubes. These are bronchi and this will in turn branch to be progressively smaller tubes all around the lungs. There are various diseases that can affect the airways. Some of them are the following –
⚫ COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) – This is a lung condition and it is defined by the inability to exhale normally that leads to difficulty in breathing.
⚫ Asthma – Here the airways will be persistently inflamed. Sometimes it might occasionally spasm, which can lead to shortness of breath and wheezing. Infections, allergies and pollution can trigger the symptoms of asthma.
⚫ Acute Bronchitis – This is categorized by sudden infection present in the airways which is caused by a virus.
⚫ Chronic Bronchitis – This is a form of COPD and it is characterized by the chronic productive cough.
⚫ Emphysema – Here the lung damage will allow the air to get trapped in the lungs. This will lead to the form of COPD. The hallmark symptom for this is difficulty in blowing air.
⚫ Cystic Fibrosis – This refers to the genetic condition that leads to poor clearance of mucus from the bronchi. The accumulation of mucus will result in continuous lung infection.
Lungs Disease That Affect Alveoli (Air Sacs)
In this case, the airways will branch into tiny tubes called bronchioles. This will dead-end into the clusters of the air sacs called as alveoli. Now these air sacs will make up most of the tissues of the lungs. The following are the lung diseases that affect the alveoli –
⚫ Pneumonia – This is nothing but an infection of the alveoli. This is often caused by bacteria.
⚫ Tuberculosis – One of the slow progressive pneumonia, this is also caused due to bacteria. The bacteria that plays a major role is mycobacterium.
⚫ Pulmonary Edema – Here the fluid will leak out of the small blood vessels of the lungs. This will flow into the air sacs and even the surrounding area. Here one form is caused because of the heart failure and back pressure on the blood vessels of the lungs. Now in another form, it is due to the direct injury on the lungs because of the leaked fluid.
Nowadays, there are many forms of lung cancer. These may develop on to any part of the lungs. Most of the time, it will be present in the main part of the lung, or even near or in the air sacs. Here, the location, type and spreading of the lung cancer is based on the treatment options.
Frankly, ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), sudden injury to lungs are caused due to serious illness. In such case, life support is done using mechanical ventilation. This is used for survival until the lungs recover.
⚫ Pneumoconiosis – This is one of the categories of condition and happens due to the inhalation of the substance that harms the lungs. Examples consist of black lung diseases which occurs due to the inhaling of asbestosis and coal dust.
Lungs Disease That Might Affect the Interstitium
One thing you need to know is that the interstitium is the microscopically thin and delicate lining that hangs between the air sacs of the lungs. The tiny blood vessels will be running through the interstitium. This will allow the gas to get exchanges among the alveoli and the blood. Most importantly, many kinds of lung diseases often affect the interstitium.
⚫ ILD (Interstitial Lung Disease) – This is the broad collection of lung condition. These often affect the sarcoidosis, interstitium, fibrosis, idiopathic pulmonary, and even the autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, the pulmonary edemas cane even affect the interstitium.
Lung Diseases Which Affect the Blood Vessels
Keep in mind that the right side of the heart is the one that gets low-oxygen blood from the veins. Moreover, it is the one that pumps blood into the lungs from the pulmonary arteries. Furthermore, these blood vessels can even suffer from diseases too.
⚫ PE (Pulmonary Embolism) – This is a blood clot (which is usually in the deep leg vein know as deep vein thrombosis) that breaks off and travels to the heart. From there it gets pumped into the lungs. The clot is then lodges to the pulmonary artery. This will often lead to shortness of breath and even lower blood oxygen levels.
⚫ Pulmonary Hypertension – There are many conditions which can lead to high blood pressure. This is often in the pulmonary arteries. Also, this can lead to shortness of breath and to some extend chest pain. Now when there is no cause or it can’t be identified, then the condition is known as idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Methods You Can Follow to Keep Your Lungs Healthy
1) Avoid Smoking Cigarettes or Just Don’t Smoke At All
It is a known fact that smoking is dangerous. It highly increases your risk of getting lung cancer. However, that can’t be the only disease that it might lead to. Even smoking is linked to other and dangerous lung diseases like asthma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and even COPD.
Even studies show that these diseases become more severe due to smoking. There are evens studies that show that smokers who smoke constantly have the high chance (which is 13 to 14 times) to die due to COPD compared to non-smokers. Now every time you start or smoke cigarettes, then you are just inhaling thousands of chemicals into your lungs. Here, these include the ones like carbon monoxide, nicotine and tar.
Most importantly, these toxins can simply damage your lungs. Even though there is a high probability that it will increase the mucus. This will make it more difficult for your lungs to clean by themselves. Sometimes it will irritate and inflame the tissues. What happens is that slowly your airways will start to become narrow.
This will cause a huge amount of difficulty in breathing. Another study even shows that smoking will in turn make lungs to age rapidly. So, what happens is that the chemicals will modify the cells of the lungs from being normal to cancerous.
2) Try to Exercise Breathing, In A Harder Way
Now besides avoiding the cigarettes, you need to exercise regularly. Frankly, this is be the most necessary thing that you can do for your lungs’ health. Exercising will get your body in good shape. When you are exercising, your heart will beat faster and this will get your lungs to work harder.
Most importantly, your body will require more oxygen to fuel your muscles. Keep in mind that your lungs step up the activity for delivering oxygen while throwing out additional carbon dioxide. As per various medical studies, it was stated that while exercising, your breathing will increase from 16 times in a minute to about 50 to 70 times in a single minute. Hence, this is the major reason on why it is necessary to do aerobic exercises to make your breathing harder.
Such kind of exercises will provide the best workout for your lungs. Even the muscles between your ribs will expand and contract. Along with that the air sacs that are present inside your lungs will work faster to exchange oxygen with carbon dioxide. That means that the more you exercise the more efficient your lungs will become.
Now keep in mind that creating a healthy and strong lung from exercising will assist you in aging and disease. Hence, it means that even if you have a chance to develop lung disease down the road, your exercise will slow the progression of lung diseases and make you active for a long time.
3) Avoiding Exposure to Various Pollutants That You Might Find In The Air
The exposure to the pollutants in the air will damage the lungs. It will even accelerate the aging process. Now when they are strong and young, the lungs will easily resist on such toxins. Hence, when you are getting older, there is a high probability that they might lose resistance and your lungs will be more vulnerable to various diseases and infection. All you need to do is provide your lungs with a break.
Also, you really need to lower the exposure to pollutants by following the below steps –
▶ Avoid exercising near heavy traffic as there is a high probability in inhaling the exhaust.
▶ Avoid second-hand smoke. Never go outside during the peak air pollution time.
▶ If you are exposed to pollutants at work, try to make sure that you are having all the safety precautions. Sometimes works like mining, construction and waste management will easily increase your chances of getting exposure to airborne pollutants.
Some of the tips you can follow to reduce the indoor pollutants are –
- Making your home a smoke-free zone
- Opening the window frequently for increasing the indoor air ventilation
- Dusting the furniture and vacuuming every once in a week
- Avoiding synthetic air fresheners and candles. These will expose you to additional chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde. Try to use aromatherapy diffuser and required oils to get more natural scent in the air.
- Making your home clean as much as you can. Dust, mold and pet dander will get into your lungs and this will cause irritation.
- Using natural cleaning products as much as possible. You can open your windows while using products which can cause fumes.
- Making sure that you have good amount of exhaust hoods, fans and other kinds of ventilation methods all around the home.
Breathing Deeply & Exercising – Makes Your Lungs Healthy & Body Happy
Ask any doctor or medical experts. Go and refer any medical article or research. All these will pinpoint to one basic thing. To make your lungs healthy and fit, you need to exercise and have a healthy lifestyle. Occasional breathing exercise can be good, to make sure that your lungs are in a healthy position. At the end, it is all about consulting your doctor and following a good lifestyle and lungs-healthy life.