Although you may take them for granted, your lungs are amazing organs. Your pulmonary system plays many roles including taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. However, there are conditions and diseases that can affect your lungs and compromise their function. Thus, it is vitally important to do as much as possible to protect them from the many potential injurious insults that they are frequently exposed to.

Limit Exposure to Pollutants

When we are young, our lungs are more readily able to resist injury from harmful chemicals and toxins in the air. However, as we age, our pulmonary system becomes more susceptible to these toxins, which can lead to diseases and impairment in lung function. 

To minimize your exposure, try to avoid living in areas known to have high air pollution (see: Also, avoid working or living near areas of heavy traffic. Certain jobs in mining, construction, and waste management can increase your risk of exposing your lungs to harmful toxins.

Since we tend to spend a large portion of our time indoors, we are prone to getting exposed to harmful indoor air pollutants. Some simple steps that can help minimize your exposure to these chemicals include making your home a smoke-free zone and regularly opening windows. Indoor radon levels should and can be readily assessed for. You can also avoid using artificial air fresheners and candles, which can potentially expose you to harmful chemicals. Wood burning fireplaces can also be potentially harmful.

Quit Smoking and Avoid it Altogether

Although it is well known that smoking increases one’s chances of getting lung cancer, it can also cause other diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and accelerate or exacerbate many lung conditions.

Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of toxins, including carbon monoxide, nicotine, and tar. These chemicals can cause inflammation and mucus to build up in a person’s lungs, making it more difficult for individuals to breathe.

Smoking is responsible for about 90% of all lung cancer deaths. Every year, more women die from this disease than breast cancer. If you’re still struggling with your smoking habit, it’s important to consider giving up this dangerous habit by seeking assistance from professionals.

Practice Deep Breathing

Most people breathe shallowly. Deep breathing helps clear the lungs and increases the flow of oxygen in the body. To start practicing deep breathing, simply breathe through your nose and out at least twice as long as you do through your mouth. Deep breathing comes from the stomach, while shallow breaths are taken from the chest.