Children’s lungs are more vulnerable to damage from air pollution and excess ozone than adults’ lungs since they are developing and growing. The result is a high propensity for lung-related disease for those with constant exposure to smoke and pollution. This was vividly revealed in a study that compared healthy children in a heavily polluted area of Mexico City against similar kids raised in rural Mexico. X-rays of the children’s lungs revealed that more than half of the city kids already had lung damage that may be predictive of future problems.
Another study shows that exposure to pollution for many years can raise your lung cancer risk by as much as 24 percent and can be as destructive as breathing secondhand tobacco smoke. In a different study that tracked 500,000 people from 100 cities for 16 years, researchers found that dirty air also increased the risk of dying from heart disease by 6 percent or more. The more polluted the air, the higher the death rate.
Damage done to young lungs doesn’t get repaired by your body. But there is plenty you can do to keep your lungs healthy and to protect them against future damage. Achieving better lungs means improved. Better breathing. Delivering better-quality air to your lungs results in greater stamina and overall energy also.
Here is what you can do to keep your lungs in tip top condition:
Avoid smoke and Dirty air.
The only way to consistently avoid polluted air is to live far from heavy traffic, smokestack factories, and highly crowded neighborhoods. Not everyone has that choice, however. If you must live in a urban area, there are still many things you can do. Pay attention to the pollution forecast for the day, especially on hot summer days when there may be higher levels of ozone in the air. Explore better air filtering for your home. Take frequent trips out of the city. Stay indoors during peak traffic time.
Tobacco smoke irritates fragile, already-vulnerable lung tissue.
Pay attention to lung health.
Call your doctor right away if you have chest pain or aches when you inhale or exhale or if you are coughing up blood. These, along with unexplained weight loss, can be symptoms of lung cancer, as can shortness of breath, a hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, pain under your ribs, and/or swelling of your face or neck.
Watch for COPD.
See you doctor if you’re coughing frequently, wheezing, have frequent lung infections or have a lot of mucus. These symptoms can be a sign of a complex breathing problem that doctors call chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or COPD.
It strengthens muscles that help you breathe.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
The antioxidants can help protect lungs from future damage.
Learn to control your breathing.
If you have COPD, your doctor or a respiratory therapist can teach you how to relax when you’re feeling short of breath.
So as we have read if you have had lung damage when you were young, such as lived in heavy pollution, a lot of damage has been done to your lungs that cannot be erased, but you can take an active stand in keeping your lungs in tip top condition now to prevent further damage.
Another thing to keep in mind are the children of the world. Many of us don’t like new laws about smogging our vehicles, or the push to do more car pools, but we need to think about the children and the air that they breathe, because they will be the first to feel the negative effects of our increasingly polluted air. Something to think about.
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