The principle function of your lungs is to transport oxygen into your bloodstream and rid your body of carbon dioxide. The process of gas exchange is carried out in tiny, thin-walled air sacs called alveoli. Although your lungs are extremely resilient organs, it’s essential that you protect your lungs from environmental factors, as there are a number of chronic diseases that can result from exposure to particulate matter and pollution, according to the Saskatchewan Lung Association.

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Don’t Smoke

Avoiding consumption of tobacco smoke is a helpful way for you to keep your lungs healthy. According to the American Lung Association, over 392,000 people die from tobacco-caused disease each year in the United States, which makes tobacco consumption the leading cause of preventable death. An additional 50,000 people succumb from exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking damages your lungs and your other organs. In current smokers, chronic lung disease represents 73 percent of smoking-related ailments, and in smokers who have quit smoking, chronic lung conditions account for 50 percent of smoking-related conditions. A partial list of diseases caused by smoking includes coronary heart disease, stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute myeloid leukemia, cataract, pneumonia, periodontitis, and bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, lung, oral, throat, cervical, kidney, stomach, and pancreatic cancers.

Avoid Lung Hazards

One of the best ways to keep your lungs healthy is to limit your exposure to environmental pollutants. According to the Canadian Lung Association, your exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution can result in health problems, such as headaches, asthma symptoms and even heart attacks in people with certain pre-existing heart diseases, especially if you already have a lung disease. Smog is one of the worst outdoor pollutants that can affect your health. Other outdoor air pollutants include volatile organic compounds, which are gases in the vapors of gasoline, solvents and oil-based paint, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which result from the incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials like oil, wood, garbage or coal. There are two principle categories of indoor air pollutants: biological pollutants, such as mold spores, and chemical pollutants, such as paints, radon and household cleaners. Minimizing your exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollutants and minimizing your outdoor exercise when there are smog alerts, will help keep your lungs healthy.

Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

According to the American Lung Association, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an important step in preventing lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). The ALA states that for the 12.1 million Americans that have COPD, special care and consideration needs to be given to how your lifestyle, including your diet and your exercise habits, affects your health. The ALA also states that the proper diet, in conjunction with the proper amount and type of exercise suggested by your primary care provider, will keep your muscles in good working order and your heart and lungs well fueled with oxygen, which are important considerations for anybody interested in keeping their lungs healthy, not just people with COPD.