How the Lungs Work
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How the Lungs Work

How the Lungs Work How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

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You can take these steps to help protect your lungs from injury or disease: 

  • Quit smoking or don’t start. Visit Smoking and Your Heart and the Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. Although these resources focus on heart health, they include basic information about how to quit smoking. For free help and support to quit smoking, you may call the National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848). 
  • Avoid secondhand tobacco smoke by staying away from places where smoking is allowed. Ask friends and family members who smoke not to do it in the house or the car. 
  • Aim for a healthy weight. Unhealthy eating patterns and lack of physical activity can lead to overweight and obesity, which can lead to sleep apnea. Research has shown that losing weight can reduce sleep apnea in people who have also been diagnosed with obesity. 
  • Be physically active. Physical activity can help strengthen your heart and lungs so they work more efficiently. Physical activity may also reduce your risk of lung injury or disease. The Move More Fact Sheet includes basic information about physical activity. Before starting any exercise program, ask your healthcare provider what level of physical activity is right for you. 
  • Limit exposure to outdoor air pollution by checking the Air Quality Index before taking part in outdoor activities. Also, avoid heavy traffic when possible. 
  • Reduce indoor air pollution by making sure that the places where you live and work are well ventilated and cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of allergens, dust, and mold. You can also remove products that create fumes, such as strong cleaning fluids and aerosols. Avoid burning solid fuels such as wood for heating and cooking. 
  • Take precautions against seasonal flu and pneumonia. Get a flu shot every year. You may also want to ask your healthcare provider about the pneumonia vaccine. 
  • Test your home for radon gas. Radon is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas that forms naturally. It can enter buildings through cracks in the wall and can cause lung cancer. Inexpensive testing kits are available from many hardware stores. If radon levels in your house are hazardous, take the recommended steps to reduce them. If you’re in an apartment, alert the property owners so they can fix it. 
  • Use protective gear if you work in an industry that involves exposure to dust, silica, allergens, chemical fumes, or other indoor or outdoor air pollution. 
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