Practice these 5 things to guard your lungs against COPD

It is important to pay attention to your lungs since we are exposed to various risk factors that can lead to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

jaggery for respiratory health
Give your lungs some TLC with jaggery. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Sibasish Dey Published on: 21 November 2021, 20:57 pm IST
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It has become imperative in the post-pandemic era to be more aware about healthcare, so that you and your family can lead a healthy lifestyle. No longer must we overlook the severity of specific health problems, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) that can have a long-term effect on those who suffer from it.

The risk factors include smoking, genetics, and environmental toxins such as second-hand smoke and pollutants, which are all there in abundance right now in India. Several cities across India are witnessing a rise in hospital admission for patients with respiratory issues aggravated by pollution and decreasing temperatures. That’s why it is essential that you and your family pay urgent attention to your lungs.

COPD
Don’t take your lungs lightly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

But before we get to that, let us first speak about COPD in detail.

Understanding COPD

COPD is an inflammatory lung disease that obstructs airflow out of the lungs and is associated with various symptoms, the most common one being difficulty in breathing. Other major symptoms include wheezing, persistent dry cough, chest infections, chest tightness and fatigue. People who suffer from COPD may have higher chances of contracting major health diseases such as heart problems, lung cancer and other related conditions.

When we breathe, the air travels through the trachea and reaches our lungs through the several tubes that are called the bronchial tubes. Our lungs depend on the natural elasticity of these bronchial tubes and air sacs to force that air outside of our body. COPD makes them lose this elasticity by leading to more expansion of lungs than required by the body. This, in turn, traps some of that air inside the lungs while exhaling. Hence, in the long run, it becomes difficult for the lungs to exhale out carbon dioxide.

What measures should be taken by anyone in your family, who has COPD?
Since this is a chronic condition, proper physician consultation is necessary to prevent exacerbations and maintain adequate quality of life. Bronchodilators and newer drugs like biologics, remain the mainstay of COPD treatment, in addition to long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) and non-invasive ventilation (NIV) that may be recommended in severe cases.

Here are some other measures that you and your family can adopt to keep your lungs healthy and COPD at bay
1. Quit smoking

Smoking often becomes the root cause of all respiratory problems. Regular smokers usually tend to develop some or the other breathing problems over a period of time. Putting a complete halt to this habit will drastically improve the condition of your lungs, and thus your respiration.

COPD
Reminder alert: Smoking is injurious to health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Practice breathing exercises

Breathing exercises can help improve our lung capacity. Practising yoga will help you to get a deeper understanding of these exercises, while also maintaining your fitness.

3. Manage your stress levels

Getting control of yourself psychologically can single-handedly bail you out of any such health problems. Having high-stress levels causes anxiety. Keeping yourself relaxed is a great way to decrease the incidence of illnesses.

4. Improve air quality at home

It is an urban myth that pollution only affects you when you step outdoors. The air quality in our homes is often compromised depending on the area of your residence. Top-quality air purifiers are available today that will inform you about the air quality in your home and help in clearing the polluted air out.

COPD
Physical activity and breathing exercises will benefit you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
5. Exercise regularly

Physical exercises strengthen muscles, and keep you fit and healthy. Do 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise such as walking or swimming on most days, and combine that with three days of hour-long strength training.

Maintaining these lifestyle habits will keep you away from lung, cardiovascular and other health problems. Pursue a healthy way of life for a better future for yourself and the people around you!

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About the Author
Dr Sibasish Dey Dr Sibasish Dey

Dr Sibasish Dey, Head, Medical Affairs, Asia and Latin America, ResMed 

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