Doctor, how to keep lungs healthy? Follow this 6-step daily regimen backed by a pulmonologist
Healthy lungs means healthy and fit you  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Never before in recent history have our lungs taken so much precedence over other organs.
- With the COVID-19 pandemic around, most of us want to know how to maintain the peak health of our breathing system. Lungs need reverence, lungs demand care.
- Lung health is not accidental but a result of planning and care.
Since early 2020, ever since the COVID-19 pandemic surged across the world after originating in Wuhan (China), it has taken away the normal lifestyles we had taken for granted till then.
As though pollution and everyday pressures were not enough, the coronavirus-triggered now threatens to first fing a toe-hold in our nasal track and move on to the lungs. Once the coronavirus reaches the lung, the symptoms overwhelm the entire body.
As kids, we learned in school that the lungs and respiratory system allow us to breathe. They bring oxygen into our bodies (called inspiration, or inhalation) and send carbon dioxide out (called expiration, or exhalation).
How the lungs work:
Every cell in your body needs oxygen in order to live. We do not even realise how smoothly, seamlessly our lungs operate. The air we breathe contains oxygen and other gases. When we inhale or breathe in, this oxygen is moved into the bloodstream and carried through our bodies. It is taken to every cell in the body, exchanged for a waste gas called carbon dioxide — which is then carried back to the lungs via the bloodstream and then exhaled. This is called gas exchange.
No wonder then that in Sanskrit and Ayurveda, breath — aka shwaas is called — PRANA i.e. life itself. Lungs rule our disposition and mood as well. We can savour the beauty of the gift of life only if our lungs are happy and healthy. Breathing is not the only function that the lungs take care of.
The 5 key functions of the lungs:
- Gas Exchange – oxygen and carbon dioxide.
- Breathing – the movement of air.
- Sound Production.
- Olfactory Assistance – the sense of smell.
- Protection – from dust and microbes entering the body through mucus production, cilia, and coughing.
An inescapable fact is that lung capacity declines as you age. Keep your lungs healthy by taking good care of yourself every day. We keep hearing that we must eat a balanced diet, exercise and reduce stress to breathe easier. Let us learn a daily regimen to care for our lungs from an expert who heals and treats people’s lung problems every day.
We spoke to Dr Arvind Kate, Pulmonologist at Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Chembur (Mumbai) and here’s what he told us.
How to take care of your lungs every day:
- Quit smoking: It is the need of the hour for you to give up on smoking and save your lungs. Try to opt for a smoking cessation program to get rid of this habit. Doing so can help you to cut down your risk of lung cancer and any other lung ailments like chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
- Breathing exercises: You will have to do them as per the doctor’s suggestion. These exercises can help you to improve the functioning of the lungs. Apart from that, regular physical exercise will also help you to keep your lungs in top shape.
- Get vaccinated: If you have sent scheduled your vaccination then just do that right away. It will be imperative for you to take the flu and the pneumonia vaccine to avoid lung infections and promote good lung health.
- Avoid exposure to air pollution: You will have to stay indoors when air quality is poor. Use a good humidifier at home so that you can breathe freely.
- Maintain good hygiene: Try to wear a mask, use a hand sanitiser and maintain social distance to prevent respiratory infections. Do not touch your mouth, face, or nose, and wash your hands properly to kill germs. Avoid visiting crowded places.
- Drink enough water: Staying hydrated will help you to keep the mucosal linings in the lungs thin and the lungs will be able to function appropriately.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.