20 Jun How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy And Avoid Cancer
Did you know you breathe in and out around 22,000 times every day? Breathing is vital for your survival and it is something your body does automatically without you having to think about it.
But while you don’t need to think about your breathing, maybe you do need to think about the health of your lungs and what you can do to prevent damage.
This week is Love Your Lungs week, a campaign organised by the British Lung Foundation. Their campaign is all about raising awareness of lung conditions and encouraging people to love their lungs and seek help for their symptoms this June.
The respiratory system
Your respiratory system brings oxygen from their air into your lungs via your mouth and nose. The lungs then extract the oxygen and pass it into your bloodstream to be carried to your vital organs and tissues.
Without it you wouldn’t be able to perform any of your life functions like walking, talking and thinking. The lungs expel carbon dioxide from the blood and release it into the air when you breathe out.
Common lung diseases
If your lungs become damaged, it can have a significant impact on your life and may even be fatal. Common lung diseases include:
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) – this refers to a group of lung conditions that cause narrowing of your airways and can result in poor lung function. The main conditions are bronchitis and emphysema both of which are caused predominantly by smoking. There are around 1.2 million people in the UK with COPD. Around 90% of those who develop the condition smoke or have smoked. It is the second most common lung condition behind asthma. There is no cure for COPD.
- Asthma – this is a long-term condition that affects the airways. Around 5.4 million people in the UK have asthma, five per cent of whom are severely affected. It causes around three deaths a day. Two out of three of these deaths are believed to be preventable.
- Lung cancer – this is one of the most common cancers. Around 44,500 people are diagnosed in the UK every year. Primary lung cancer starts in the lungs while secondary lung cancer starts elsewhere and spreads to the lungs. Smoking is the primary cause in 85% of lung cancer cases. The condition does not cause major symptoms early on which means it is often diagnosed at a later stage when it is harder to treat.
Prevention of lung diseases
A number of factors affect your chances of developing lung diseases, some of which are unavoidable such as your genetic makeup but many of which you can do something about.
To keep your lungs healthy and reduce your risk of lung cancer and other serious disease, it is advisable to: diseases
- Stop smoking. Each cigarette you smoke contains more than 60 different toxic substances that can increase your risk of lung cancer. You should also avoid second hand smoke as exposure to someone else’s cigarette smoke can increase your risk of lung cancer by as much as 25%. Educate children about the dangers of smoking as some people develop the habit in childhood and adolescence.
- Avoid exposure to air pollution as much as you can. Particulates are tiny solid or liquid particles in the environment that can damage the lungs. Limit your outdoor exposure when particulate levels are high. If you drive a car, turn your engine off when you are waiting in traffic to avoid exposing pedestrians to dangerous levels of pollution.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day to increase the way oxygen is transported around your body and metabolised.
- Check your home for radon, which is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas caused by the breakdown of uranium in the ground. It is the second most common cause of lung cancer after smoking.
- Be aware of indoor air pollution from air fresheners, cleaning products, paints, mould and construction materials. Avoid using aerosol products in your home.
If you believe you are at high risk of lung cancer or COPD or have symptoms that may be linked to lung disease, contact us for specialist diagnosis, advice and treatment.
Talk to us if you require support or information about your condition.
Expert help is available to help you to better understand, manage and improve symptoms related to your respiratory health.
T: 03300 538151