Did you know that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the United States? The American Lung Association estimates that 158,040 Americans are expected to die this year alone from the disease. Smoking contributes to 80% of lung cancer deaths in women and 90% in men. Other causes include radon, occupational exposures to carcinogens and outdoor air pollution. With this startling statistics it becomes imperative for individuals to take care of their lungs.
Your lungs allow oxygen to enter your body and also enables the body to rid itself of carbon dioxide in the air breathed out. If you experience any of the following warning signs or symptoms you need to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. This includes chronic cough; shortness of breath; chronic mucus production; wheezing; coughing up blood; and chronic chest pain. To protect you lungs the American Lung Association recommends individuals do the following to reduce their risk of lung disease:
• Don’t smoke. The narrowing of air passages and difficulty breathing are some effects of cigarette smoke. It causes chronic inflammation which can lead to chronic bronchitis. Over time your lung tissue will be destroyed by cigarette smoke and may trigger changes that grow into cancer.
• Avoid exposure to pollutants that can damage your lungs. These pollutants include secondhand smoke, outdoor air pollution, chemicals in the home and workplace.
• Prevent infection. You can protect yourself by washing hands with soap and water often; avoiding crowds during flu season; proper oral hygiene; and getting a flu vaccination every year.
• Get regular healthcare checkups which are an important part of disease prevention.
For more information about keeping your lungs healthy or to make an appointment with primary care physician, please call Fox Valley Medicine, Ltd at 630-482-9758