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The ‘most important thing’ you can do for healthy lungs

The ‘most important thing’ you can do for healthy lungs

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can make it difficult to breathe normally. COPD specifically causes an airflow limitation to your lungs after exposure to chemicals or fumes like cigarette smoke, according to Lori Shah, MD, a transplant pulmonologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “It’s important to know that COPD is common, treatable and preventable,” she says.’ data-reactid=”26″>Certain conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can make it difficult to breathe normally. COPD specifically causes an airflow limitation to your lungs after exposure to chemicals or fumes like cigarette smoke, according to Lori Shah, MD, a transplant pulmonologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “It’s important to know that COPD is common, treatable and preventable,” she says.

Whether you have COPD or not, here are three things, challenging but worth it, you can do to improve your lung health.

Quit smoking

Smoking and second-hand smoke really puts your lung health at risk. (Photo: Getty Creative)

Exercise has been shown in multiple studies to improve the quality of life and life span of patients with COPD,” says Shah.’ data-reactid=”57″>“Exercise has been shown in multiple studies to improve the quality of life and life span of patients with COPD,” says Shah.

American Lung Association (ALA) specifically recommends doing aerobic exercises such as walking, biking and swimming for a half hour a few times a week, along with resistance training three to four times a week.’ data-reactid=”59″>The American Lung Association (ALA) specifically recommends doing aerobic exercises such as walking, biking and swimming for a half hour a few times a week, along with resistance training three to four times a week.

“Exercise in COPD patients can improve their exercise capacity, improves their health-related quality of life, reduces anxiety and depression, improves strength and endurance and improves survival,” Shah explains. “These benefits extend beyond the immediate period of exercise.”

Try to maintain a healthy weight

Dr. Shah recommends working closely with your doctor to monitor your weight when putting together a treatment plan for healthy lungs. (Photo: Getty Creative)

ALA specifically recommends following a diet with fewer carbohydrates and more fat for easier breathing. When your body breaks down food into fuel in your body, it produces carbon dioxide as a waste product that you exhale, the ALA notes. Carbohydrates produce the most carbon dioxide and fat produces the least, making it easier for many people with lung issues to breath on this diet. Overall, “you should work very closely with your doctor to monitor your weight,” Shah says.’ data-reactid=”75″>The ALA specifically recommends following a diet with fewer carbohydrates and more fat for easier breathing. When your body breaks down food into fuel in your body, it produces carbon dioxide as a waste product that you exhale, the ALA notes. Carbohydrates produce the most carbon dioxide and fat produces the least, making it easier for many people with lung issues to breath on this diet. Overall, “you should work very closely with your doctor to monitor your weight,” Shah says.

There are medications that can help with COPD but “medication alone cannot do the job,” says Shah. “Non-pharmaceutical approaches are absolutely necessary part of COPD care.”

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