Our lungs are located in the chest. Is the most important respiratory organ. About half a liter of air enters the lungs per breath. Carbon dioxide is then released when we exhale. This process of gas exchange takes place about 20.000 times a day. This is based on a complicated process, numerous harmful factors can upset the delicate lungs. Besides smoking, viruses are one of them. Bacteria triggered diseases.
MRI of the lungs. Photo credit: da-kuk @ iStock by Getty Images
Especially heart diseases can have an impact on the function of the lungs, as the two organs are in close contact and even connected with each other. Below we explain how to keep your lungs healthy.
How the lungs work?
The rough function of the lungs is quickly explained: we breathe in air through the nose as well as the throat, and this air then enters the lungs. There oxygen is absorbed from the air into the blood. At the same time, the blood releases carbon dioxide, which is exhaled again. This exchange takes place in the small sections of the lungs called alveoli. By the way, changes or diseases of these alveoli can often be seen as a spot on the lungs when they are x-rayed. It is essential to read up on this topic if you are interested in it in more detail, because a serious illness does not always have to be the cause.
What diseases can occur?
The lungs as a whole can be affected by a wide variety of diseases. There is a distinction between chronic. Acute lung diseases. Acute lung diseases include bronchitis, which is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, usually caused by viruses. But pneumonia can also occur, colloquially it is often described as pneumonia. This also has various causes, often bacteria are responsible for it. Chronic diseases include bronchial asthma, which is a permanent inflammation of the respiratory tract that can be triggered by allergies or toxins.
COPD is also common; in this disease, lung function steadily decreases. The most common cause is excessive consumption of cigarettes. Lung cancer is also one of the most common cancers, which unfortunately is often detected only very late. The first signs may be weight loss, coughing with blood, shortness of breath and shortness of breath. The greatest risk factor for lung disease is smoking. Above all, the risk of developing lung cancer is increased many times over. But pollutants, such as fine dust particles, can also greatly increase the risk of certain diseases.
How to keep the lungs healthy
In order to keep the lungs healthy, one should first give up smoking. Even non-smokers should avoid passive smoking. A healthy and balanced diet also has a positive effect on good lung function. Sport and physical exercise additionally reduce the risk of cancer. If one frequently has to deal with pollutants at the workplace, then one should inform oneself regarding occupational health and safety measures and adhere to them at all costs.
Avoid risk factors
Pollutants and particulate matter can negatively affect a lung. In addition to cigarettes and fire smoke, exhaust fumes and chemical cleaning agents are also not good. But even if you live close to traffic junctions, you may be exposed to high levels of particulate matter. In the following, we therefore explain how you can keep your lungs healthy:
Wash hands regularly
Bacterial and viral pathogens like to settle in the respiratory tract and buzz around, especially in the cold season. The most common way to get infected with these is a so-called smear infection. The pathogens are transmitted through skin contact with infected objects or persons. The risk of this can be reduced enormously by frequent hand washing. You should wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially during the cold months.
Inhaling saline solution
The natural flow of mucus in the lungs can be effectively supported by moistening the lower respiratory tract with the help of inhalation. Isotonic saline solution is particularly recommended during the heating season, as the dry air from heating irritates the mucous membranes.
Care for the upper respiratory tract
The upper and lower respiratory tract form a closed system, which is connected by the pharynx. Infections can therefore spread quickly from upstairs to downstairs. Especially people with chronic bronchitis are therefore recommended to care for the upper respiratory tract. This works, for example, with the help of a nasal rinse or a moisturizing nasal gels.