Respiratory Health: Everything You Need to Know

    Respiratory Health: Everything You Need to Know

    To better understand the most important facts about lung health, we must first define what a person’s lungs actually do. The lungs are a major part of the respiratory system, or the system responsible for breathing.

    Whenever a person breathes, the respiratory system takes in oxygen from the air, and expels carbon dioxide from the body. The lungs absorb the oxygen, and then distribute it through blood vessels to different parts of the body.

    All of the cells in our body require oxygen to function, so lungs are a very important organ. Lungs are crucial to our survival.

    This means that if there are any illnesses or diseases that affect our lungs, it would have dire effects on our overall health. And knowing the important facts about lung health can help you keep your lungs healthy and in tip-top shape.

    Top Lung Health Problems

    As what was implied above, knowing facts about lung health is important and crucial. This is because it greatly affects our overall approach and response on how we deal with our health. Thus, knowing the different illnesses that can affect the lungs greatly gives us the edge to tackle with them. So, here are some of the most common lung problems that people experience:

    Asthma

    Asthma is a lung condition that causes a person’s airways to swell and narrow. This condition makes it hard for a person to breathe. Dust, pollen, air pollution, smoke, and cold air, are all trigger asthma among others.

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

    COPD is a condition wherein the lungs’ air sacs are damaged. This actually refers to a group of diseases that cause blockage to the airflow and breathing-related problems. It includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

    Lung cancer

    This is a type of cancer. Hence, it causes cells in the lungs to grow abnormally and eventually causing damage to the lungs.

    Pneumonia

    Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs. Different microbes to include viruses, bacteria, or fungi can cause pneumonia; this makes breathing difficult, and can cause permanent damage or even death if left untreated.

    Tuberculosis

    Tuberculosis is a contagious disease that is caused by a bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis. If left untreated, it can damage a person’s lungs and can lead to death. As an airborne disease, the carrier can spread it to other people whom they may come in contact with.

    Influenza or flu

    Influenza or flu is a viral infection caused by the influenza virus. Contrary to what is known by most, flu can still be deadly as it can potentially cause pneumonia. Especially for those with weak immune systems.

    Important Facts About Lung Health: Statistics in the Philippines

    When it comes to lung health in the Philippines, certain illnesses and diseases are more common than others.

    The top 3 lung problems in the Philippines are pneumonia, COPD, and tuberculosis. They respectively take the third, sixth, and ninth spots, as the leading cause of death globally.

    One of the major causes of these conditions is the lack of accessible healthcare to most Filipinos, along with malnutrition and air pollution.

    In the case of tuberculosis, it is a curable disease but some patients do not get diagnosed properly. This is because there is an attached stigma to tuberculosis. Due to this, many Filipinos are afraid to get checked; many of these cases are diagnosed only when it is already in the advanced stages of the disease.

    Important Facts About Lung Health: The Primary Causes

    One of the more important facts about lung health is that it is caused by a range of factors. Hence, these may cause an array of symptoms, from mild to severe depending on the cause.

    Here are some of the more common causes of lung problems:

    • Smoking, including secondhand smoke
    • Exposure to radon gas
    • Air pollution
    • Viral infections such as coronavirus
    • Bacterial infections such as streptococcus pneumoniae
    • Exposure to chemicals in the workplace
    • Being malnourished or undernourished

    All of these things can potentially cause lung disease. Smoking and exposure to radon gas in particular are both known to cause lung cancer.

    Air pollution is another cause for concern, especially for those living in the city. Irritants in the air may make it hard for one to breathe. In places near factories or with dense traffic, people may experience difficulty breathing on the daily, further aggravating their symptoms.

    Remedies and Lifestyle Changes to Achieve Better Respiratory Health

    One of the more important facts about lung health is that you can make small changes to take better care of your lungs and prevent symptoms from worsening. There are a number of things that you can do to help make sure that your lungs stay healthy and free from disease.

    Here are some of the lifestyle changes that you can adopt for better respiratory health.

    • If you are a smoker, it would be best to quit as soon as possible. Simply put: quit smoking. The earlier you quit, the less damage your lungs will have.
    • If you live with a smoker, try to avoid secondhand smoke and advise them to quit smoking for their own health.
    • Review your family history. History of diseases such as Asthma, COPD, and lung cancer within your family greatly increases your chances of acquiring those diseases as well. Prevention is better than cure. It is best to adopt preventive measures early on if you have a family history of any lung disease.
    • Engage in daily exercise, and eat healthy foods to help attain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can put added stress on your lungs.
    • If you live in an area where the air quality is bad, cover your nose and mouth with a mask when heading outside. The mask can help filter out some viruses, bacteria, and other harmful substances that can damage your lungs

    For those suffering from COPD, here are some home remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms:

    • Ask your doctor about breathing techniques that can help you breathe easier and deeper.
    • Drinking a lot of water helps clear your airways of mucus. Using a humidifier also helps in dislodging mucus.
    • Daily exercise helps keep your body healthy, and can strengthen your lungs.
    • Eating healthy food helps keep your weight down, and reduces the strain on your lungs.
    • Breathing fresh air and avoiding air pollution can greatly help alleviate the symptoms of COPD.

    Key Takeaways

    After learning the important facts about lung health, you can make better decisions to protect your respiratory system. Simple lifestyle changes such as not smoking, avoiding secondhand smoke, wearing a mask in public, and leading a healthy, active lifestyle can protect your lungs from disease and boost your quality of life.

    Learn more about Respiratory Health here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jezreel Esguerra, MD

    General Practitioner


    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Dec 09, 2022

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