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Whitehall of Deerfield - Healthcare Center

Six crucial ways to keep your lungs healthy

We seldom think about breathing, yet the average person breathes in the equivalent of 13 pints of air every minute. Every cell in the body needs the oxygen found in that air. When the lungs fill with air, oxygen is moved into the blood stream and carried throughout the body. At each cell, oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide waste that is carried back to the lungs where it is exhaled. It is important to keep our lungs healthy so this amazing gas exchange can continue. Here are six ways to help keep your lungs healthy.

Avoid cigarette smoke
Cigarette smoke can narrow the air passages to your lungs making breathing difficult. Cigarette smoke can also cause inflammation and swelling in the lungs. Over time, cigarette smoke steadily destroys lung tissues and can trigger cancer. Smoking is a major cause of both lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, stop.

Be aware of pollutants
Along with oxygen, your lungs can be taking in  pollutants. Second hand smoke, cleaning chemicals and radon are some of the most common indoor pollutants that can affect your lungs. If you must work with harmful substances, be sure to wear a mask to filter out the pollutants. Outdoor air pollution is another cause for concern. If an air quality alert is issued for your area, try not to exercise outdoors on those days.

Take steps to avoid infections
Colds and respiratory infections can affect the health of your lungs. One simple way to reduce the chance of infection is to simply wash your hands regularly. Brush your teeth twice a day to guard against the germs in your mouth. Ask your doctor about having vaccines, including ones that can help prevent the flu and pneumonia.

Check in with the doctor
Even if you are feeling well, it is important to have regular checkups. Lung disease can be undetected until it is very serious. A regular checkup gives your doctor the chance to find disease while it is in early stages and more easily treated.

Be active
Just like your muscles, your lungs benefit from a regular workout. When you are active, the heart and lungs need to work harder to supply oxygen to the body. The more exercise they get, the more efficient they become. You may notice that the more you exercise, the less likely you are to be short of breath. This is because your lungs are getting stronger each time you exercise.

Deep breathing
Most of the time, we take very shallow breaths that are barely noticeable. These shallow breathes only allow a small portion of your lungs to clear and fill with oxygen. By intentionally taking a few deep breaths throughout the day, you clear the lungs and fill them with fresh air. Deep breathing also helps the lungs to be more efficient and can reduce stress. While shallow breaths come from your chest, deep breaths come from the diaphragm. To practice deep breathing, slowly breathe in through your nose while counting to four. Then slowly breath out through your mouth, counting to eight. A few deep breaths throughout the day can help improve your lung function.

When lungs need extra attention
Breathing may be easy for many, but people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, asthma, lung cancer, pulmonary hypertension and other lung conditions struggle to get enough oxygen. These conditions can be even more challenging following a hospitalization for illness or a medical procedure. Glenview Terrace understands the unique needs of people struggling with breathing during recovery and offers state-of-the-art pulmonary care.

The Pulmonary Care program at Glenview Terrace is led by a board-certified pulmonologist who works with a team of professionals to develop a comprehensive pulmonary plan tailored to meet each guest’s individual needs and goals. Respiratory therapy is offered seven days a week to improve function and prevent regression. Specific breathing retraining and techniques to increase lung function are customized to each individual.

One-on-one physical and occupational therapy is also provided up to seven days a week to improve endurance and independence. Detailed information on how to manage  specific lung conditions with oxygen therapy and medication is carefully explained. Dietitians are able to suggest beneficial nutritional plans and psychological counseling is offered to help overcome difficult challenges. The end result is a recovery that is effective and truly addresses all issues.

Glenview Terrace delivers this top-notch care in an elegant setting that begins with beautifully landscaped grounds and continues into the spacious, well-appointed rooms. Guests can enjoy nutritious meals designed to enhance the healing process. Guests can also relax in their rooms with a stunning array of amenities and services to pamper them during their stay. For additional information or to arrange a tour, visit glenviewterrace.comor call 847-729-9090.