Respiratory Health

Respiration is an involuntary action which is taken as granted. It is so as long as there are no problems. Once a problem crops up, breathing becomes so difficult, to continue it would then be a major victory. In such a scenario, all precautions must be taken, not to contract lung diseases. Massive industrialization and indiscriminate use of chemical substances are taking a heavy toll on the quality of both outdoor and indoor air, reflecting in the lowering of the health standards across the world. In this situation it is better to reside at a place where the air quality index is high. Some habits like smoking cause lung diseases, which are man made and should be avoided.

Lung disease is a leading cause of death in the world and the number one killer in the case of infants. There are basically two types of lung diseases namely obstructive lung disease and restrictive lung disease. In the obstructive lung disease, airways in the lungs are blocked and the amount of exhaled air is curtailed. Asthma, Bronchitis, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and Emphysema fall under this category. In the restrictive lung disease, expansion of the lungs is restricted, the tissue of the lung is lost to an extent and the transfer capacity of the lung is diminished. Lung cancer, Pneumonia and Pulmonary Fibrosis come under this restrictive lung disease.

Symptoms of lung disease

Persistent cough, shortness of breath, blood spitting and wheezing is the signs to be observed to consult a physician for the existence of lung disease.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema fall under this category. Smokers both active and passive are prone to get COPD. Continuous smoking for years will damage the lung, block the airways in the lung and reduce the lungs ability to remove carbon dioxide. This leads to shortness of breath in smokers. Normal exertions take longer time and physical activities also become difficult. Workers in dust and chemical environment are more likely to contract COPD. Spirometer is a simple device to measure COPD, the actual stage and the progress of it. The amount of airway obstruction in lungs is measured with Spirometer and helps in advising the people to take remedial measures.
COPD is often mistaken as Asthma and the medicines are also given as for Asthma, even though they are different in many ways. Asthma contracts during the younger days or adolescence where as COPD develops in people over 40’s due to smoking. Asthma occurs due to cold air, allergens and be brought under control with normal lung function with medicines and the symptoms are not visible regularly but only under specific conditions. COPD on the other hand is due to respiratory infection and symptoms are visible daily. Surveys also point out that physicians generally look for Asthma rather than for COPD.

Prevention of lung diseases

(1) Smoking should be avoided if possible. Passive smoking, which is a non smoker among smokers is more dangerous than actual smoking and hence should be totally avoided.

(2) Avoid Asbestos exposure. Workers in ship building industry, manufacture of asbestos textiles and asbestos mining have a high chance of getting respiratory infections.

(3) Professionals in coal mines, cotton mills and cement industry also share a high risk of getting lung diseases.

(4) High air quality index. Preference should be given to reside at places with low air pollution and hence a high air quality index for health reasons.

(5) Exposure to Radon should be avoided as it is the leading cause of lung cancer.

(6) Indoor Air pollution in homes is caused by molds, dust mites, mildew and bacteria. This should be controlled to the extent possible.

(7) Garlic, Onions, Tea, Red wine and Pineapple stems are some of the foods that help combat COPD.

With the actual situation of lung diseases, their causes, actions and prevention in hand, you can plan accordingly and have a good respiratory health.

The quality of air that humans breathe today is very much different from that of the past decade, and most especially of the past century. Along with the advances in technology came environmental hazards that compromise the quality of water, air, and other basic needs by living organisms. As a person breathes, he no only introduces oxygen into his body, but he creates a port of entry for pathogens, microbes, toxins, and other substances that may affect his health in a negative way.

The respiratory system is made up of organs like the lungs, trachea, nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, and several others. The primary duty or task of this body system is to inhale oxygen that the body needs to fuel its metabolic processes. In exchange for the life-giving gas, the respiratory system exhales carbon dioxide, a waste by-product of cellular metabolism.

Aside from effective gas exchange, the respiratory system also protects the body from potential infection. As a person breathes, air that passes through his nasal cavity is immediately filtered. Nasal hairs serve as a sieve that traps dirt and some micro organisms and prevents them from entering the body. To expel any potentially harmful irritant to the body, a reflex action such as sneezing or coughing is triggered by the brain.

How does one observe respiratory health? How important is it to keep the lungs and other breathing organs healthy? Because the air in the external environment is unavoidable polluted in many parts of the world, it helps if a person stops smoking, or does not even consider starting the habit. Not only does cigarette smoke contribute to air pollution, it also contains over 20 different cancerous substances. Cancer can be acquired not only by the cigarette smoker, but the other people surrounding him. Carcinogens are also present in second-hand smoke. A large number of people are diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer every year, and a significant number of deaths are caused by the disease.

Another respiratory system condition is asthma, which is more often a hereditary condition rather than an induced disease. However, there are situations by which asthma can be aggravated, and frequent asthma attacks put a person at risk for serious complications, or even death. Asthma attacks can be triggered by pollen, animal hair, dust, mold spores, or other chemicals in the air. When the allergen or harmful substances makes its way into the respiratory tract, the linings of the walls inflame, causing an obstruction to breathing. Asthma is commonly treated with medications, and the proper maintenance of the cleanliness of a home or office.

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