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What Older Adults Need to Know About Their Lungs and Breathing

Sep 09 2019

If you are an older adult, then you should pay attention to your lungs and your breathing. Your chances of having a respiratory problem can increase with age as your airways degrade from the natural aging process. However, there are ways that you can avoid having respiratory difficulties. Here are some things older adults should know about their lungs and breathing, and how to keep them healthy.

Avoid Exposure to Cigarette Smoke

To protect your lungs, you should avoid cigarette smoke at home and away from home. You can move to an apartment building that doesn’t permit smoking, and you can visit places that also prohibit smoking. If your city doesn’t have a rule against smoking in public places, then you can talk to your local politicians about changing the regulations. Remember that even if you used to handle second-hand smoke just fine, as you age, your ability to filter toxins and handle smoke inhalation decreases. Don’t assume that because you are used to it that you can continue as you always have.

Lose Weight to Protect Your Lungs

When you lose weight, it will protect your lungs in a variety of different ways. If you are overweight, then walking is more difficult, so you may exercise less, leading to poor lung functions. In addition, the excess fat around your lungs is bad for the function of your body’s airways. When you weigh too much, you may have a buildup of cholesterol in your bloodstream that can affect your heart or arteries, and these organs work closely with your lungs.

Stop Breathing Dangerous Impurities

How clean is the air in your home? Indoor air quality is important for your lungs and breathing because you spend most of your time at home. In many cases, your home is filled with dangerous chemicals that are created by modern man-made materials, including paint, drywall and plastic fibers. Your home’s carpets, furniture and other items can emit gases that fill the air with pollution. Installing an air purification system along with removing debris from a home’s ductwork can improve the condition of the air in your home.

Prevent Respiratory Illnesses

As an older adult, you should have major concerns about developing a respiratory illness. Some of these conditions include pneumonia, influenza or shingles that can lead to inflammation in the lungs, trachea or throat. Fortunately, there are immunizations for all of these conditions, and if you contact your physician or a local health department, then you can often prevent these illnesses. Remember that prevention is better than cures, especially as you age. These diseases are not only easier to catch as an older adult, but more damaging and deadly as well.

Keep Moving Each Day

Sitting around all of the time is bad for your body and your lungs. Even if your body no longer can move like it used to, do what you can to keep moving, even if it’s only in small ways. Go outside for a walk around the neighborhood, or alternatively, join a local gym where you can exercise when the weather is bad. It may be helpful to talk to your doctor or a specially trained physical therapist about what exercises are best for your body as you age. You can also exercise inside your home by learning an easy yoga routine or dancing to your favorite music. Daily exercise will keep you from gaining weight, and it can also improve the condition of your lungs to prevent breathing problems.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, NM. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

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