Often Overlooked Dangers: Steps to Improving Respiratory Health

Updated on August 15, 2022

As far as life is concerned, breathing is vital. While a human being can last at most 3 weeks without food or 3 days without water, it may only take 3 minutes of lacking oxygen for literally every process in the body to start crumbling, leading to suffocation, lost consciousness, or death. 

Composed of the nose, windpipe, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles in the lungs, the respiratory system is one of the most important components of human anatomy. It ensures that oxygen is relayed to all parts of the body via the bloodstream and that carbon dioxide is removed in what is known as ‘gaseous exchange’.

Due to allergens, air pollutants, certain diseases, and genetics, however, the respiratory system’s function may be negatively affected, leading to certain complications. As you may already know in this COVID-19 era, it is highly important to keep your respiratory health in check at all times. Speak to a pulmonologist to have a check-up and ensure there are no issues, professional advice is usually the best advice.

This includes taking measures to improve air quality, avoiding things that affect lung function, and observing general hygiene. With this having been said, here are some steps to improving your respiratory health.

Quit Smoking

As you may already know, smoking is a leading cause of respiratory health issues, including an increased risk of lung infections, lung cancer, and cardiovascular diseases with long-term exposure. To improve your lung health, the first thing you may want to do is to quit smoking if you do. Long-term exposure to second-hand smoke is also known to have similar effects to cigarette smoking, making it important to steer clear of situations where you may be exposed to such. 

Additionally, quitting recreational weed use will also improve your lung health. This is because, as much as smoking marijuana may not have the same harmful effects as cigarettes; it may cause inflammation and resistance in the air pathways, as well as lung hyperinflation, leading to respiratory health challenges in the long-term. If you smoke anything, quitting should be your first step to better respiratory health.

Regular Check-Ups

The respiratory system is among the components forming the body’s first line of defense against any type of serious medical condition. This is why many ailments first manifest as a simple sneeze, cough, or cold. Actually, allergies themselves are simply an immune reaction to an unwanted substance by the body. 

For this reason, it pays to seek a medical professional’s attention as soon as you exhibit respiratory challenges or show symptoms such as running nose, sneezing, coughing, and running nose. Even as you seek to establish life balance, regular medical check-ups can also help detect and treat otherwise fatal issues such as COVID-19 early before they become life-threatening.

Accordingly, if you have any concerns about your respiratory system, then do not be afraid to ask your doctor to carry out a lung reflex test – the sooner any issues can be spotted and treated by a medical professional, the better.

Exercise and Maintain Healthy Weight

It is evident that anytime you engage in an activity, your breathing and heartbeat rates are elevated, and you end up panting. Working out is one of the ways of keeping fit and maintaining good health. Regular workouts will help improve your respiratory health by making your lungs stronger and more resilient. 

Aerobic exercises also help improve your lung capacity while helping your body to utilize oxygen more efficiently. In addition to normal exercises routine, some exercises you may indulge in to improve respiratory health include:

● Deep breathing

● Diaphragmatic breathing

● Rib stretch

● Pursed lip breathing

● Belly breathing

● Interval training

● Laugh and sing a lot

Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet

Did you know that fruits and vegetables help your lungs fight infection while proteins keep your breathing muscles strong? On the contrary, eating more fatty food makes you grow big, limiting your breathing rates because you are too heavy to work out. 

Intermittent fasting is also among the life-changing habits that can benefit your respiratory health. Food rich in vitamins and nutrients will boost your immune system and help manage your weight, which, in turn, benefits your lungs and rate of breathing.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep apnea is characterized by shortness of breath when sleeping. This means that enough oxygen doesn’t reach the heart and the brain when suffering from sleep apnea. Also, the lack of adequate sleep makes you wake up feeling fatigued, which affects your productivity. 

Recurrences of sleep apnea often lead to pulmonary hypertension, which may cause further complications. If you experience any signs of breath shorts, seek medical attention immediately.

Vaccination and Prevention

This is by far the oldest trick of safety precautions against respiratory infections. Especially the ones caused by viruses, many respiratory diseases do not have a definite cure. 

Once they attack your body, some will keep on coming back. It is thus important to get the vaccines you need as advised by healthcare bodies in your country and observe the laid down measures to minimize your risk of catching a respiratory infection.

Finally, it is always a plus to improve your indoor air quality and avoid areas where there’s air pollution. If your chest was an engine, your respiratory system would be the most important component of your entire body. The above are just a few things you can do to keep your gaseous exchange system functioning just fine.

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