Lung Health Day, on the fourth Wednesday in October — October 26 this year, is celebrated in Healthy Lung Month. “As easy as breathing” is a phrase that exemplifies the effortless way in which humans (and all other species on planet earth) take in one breath after the other. Yet, each year millions of people succumb to some form of lung disease, from asthma to pneumonia — many of which could easily have been prevented if some care had been taken. Due to high levels of air pollution, the levels of toxins going into the body through the airways leads our cells to react unnaturally. This can often lead to chronic lung diseases and cancerous growths. Such things could possibly be prevented through avoiding the use of tobacco products, regular exercise, a healthy diet full of antioxidants, and an awareness of your own lung health for early detection of problems.
HISTORY OF LUNG HEALTH DAY
October is the official National Healthy Lung Month, with Lung Health Day being celebrated on the fourth Wednesday of the month. It was created by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) in 2003. The main aim of the day is to raise awareness about the growing number of chronic lung diseases. Each year, more than 10 million people are diagnosed with chronic bronchitis in America alone. This is not even counting the 5 and 25 million people diagnosed with emphysema and asthma, respectively, at some point in their lives. Moreover, of all the cancers diagnosed in America, about 13% of cases are just of lung cancer, which is also the leading cancer killer. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other similar agencies have warned of the rising rates of chronic lung illnesses. They have cited causes like cigarettes, vaping, air pollution, and a generally unhealthy lifestyle for the diseases.
Once an unnatural chemical compound, like carbon monoxide, enters your airways, either through vapor or smoke, it will impact the lung cells as well as the blood running through the concerned organs. This can cause inflammation, and wear and tear inside our bodies. Body cells, particularly the lungs subjected to toxins over long periods of time, could go through unnatural changes, which could lead to cancer or other diseases. Regular checkups, coupled with a healthy lifestyle involving exercise and an antioxidant-rich diet, can help keep our lungs healthy. Avoiding fragrant-rich cleaning agents and keeping plants in your home can also help purify the air you and your family are breathing. Purifying the air in living and workspaces, and breathing in air in natural, open spaces are also good ways of protecting the lungs.
LUNG HEALTH DAY TIMELINE
- 1929 – Polio Patient Saved with Iron Lung – Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, located in Boston, records the first ever polio patient who is saved using the drinker respirator, or iron lung
- 1943 – Early Inhalation Therapy Program – Edwin R. Levine, the MD at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, develops a primitive inhalation therapy program for post-surgical patients and trains students to use it.
- 1982 – Reagan Proclaims Respiratory Therapy Week – President Ronald Reagan proclaims Respiratory Therapy Week, from November 7 to 13, 1982, and the media focuses on this important issue.
- 2003 – First Lung Health Day – AARC creates the first Lung Health Day to promote respiratory health and care.
HOW TO OBSERVE LUNG HEALTH DAY
- Rally against smoking – Consuming tobacco will, in many cases, lead to lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. There is also second-hand smoking, which has proven to be more dangerous than smoking itself. If you are a smoker, find an accountability partner to help you quit in October, and if a non-smoker, you can advocate lung health all month and especially on October 27.
- Say yes to natural fragrances -Fragrant-rich candles and cleaning agents are often dangerous to our lungs. The chemicals from their vapors can wreak havoc on our health. Choose products that are fragrant-free, or use natural fragrances. Better yet, have air-cleaning plants in your home for better air quality.
- Opt for good exercise and diet – Exercising on the regular can help make your lungs healthier. You will be taking in more oxygen and will increase your oxygen-absorbing capacity. Pair this with an antioxidant-rich diet, and you are good to go. Of course, before you do any of that, consult with your physician to see which regimen would be best suited for you.
5 FACTS ABOUT LUNGS THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND
- Different sizes for hearty space – your lungs are different in size, with the left lung being smaller than the right in order to make more space for your heart.
- Great floating devices – because of the way they are designed and the function they are involved in, lungs are the only organs in your body that are able to float on water.
- 13 pints per minute -your lungs are working hard to keep you alive, and this is why they go through at least 13 pints of air every minute.
- Size of a tennis court – if you were to unfold all the 600 million interconnected tubes in your lungs, you would easily be able to cover the area of an average tennis court.
- 70% of waste in the body exits the lungs – most of the waste from your body is released by the act of simply breathing.
WHY WE LOVE LUNG HEALTH DAY
- It’s a celebration of lung health – lung health is of extreme importance, both in the short and the long run. Without our lungs functioning properly, we wouldn’t be able to lead our best lives. Lung Health Day encourages you to visit your doctor if you are experiencing difficulty in breathing, suffer from chronic coughs, or other similar symptoms for more than a week. An early checkup will not only put your mind at ease, but it will also help catch any issues earlier on.
- It’s a celebration of air – The human body can live without food and water for a period of time, but it cannot survive for more than a few minutes without air. Good and clean air is the basic right of all living creatures. Advocate against air pollution by saying no to all harmful things that will pollute your air, indoors and outdoors.
- It’s a celebration of great life – As they say, prevention is better than cure. Make healthier choices by saying no to smoking, fragrant-rich agents. Also opt for plants, exercise, and a good diet for a great life ahead.
Cited by NATIONAL TODAY