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How to Prevent Chronic Breathing Disorders

Thursday 28 May 2020
Chronic Lung Disorders

Table of Contents


I. Understanding Chronic Respiratory Disease

II. Smoking

III. Hygiene

IV. Exercise

V. Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health!

VI. Take Your Medications


Understanding Chronic Respiratory Disease

Chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) affect the function of the airways and the other structures of the lungs. CRDs are not curable and can affect everyday life if not properly controlled with medications like Ventolin and Advair Diskus. Chronic respiratory diseases include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and occupational lung diseases. There are several risk factors that can contribute to your risk of developing a breathing disorder.

Risk factors for chronic breathing disorders can include:

  • Exposure to fumes
  • Genetics
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Pre-existing health conditions 

The symptoms of breathing disorders often include shortness of breath, chest tightness, a chronic cough, and lack of energy. In most cases, these unpleasant symptoms can be avoided with the proper lifestyle choices. Read on to learn more about ways to reduce your risk of chronic respiratory diseases. [1] 

a person holding an inhaler

Smoking

Smoking is typically the number one cause of most breathing disorders. Smoking causes over 480,000 deaths in the United States each year. When you smoke, there is a combustion of dangerous materials that are released into the lungs. Irritation and coughing occur instantly the moment you breathe in smoke from a cigarette. Smoking cigarettes can affect virtually every system in the body. When you smoke, cells produce more mucus in the lungs and airways. If you continue smoking, more and more mucus collects in the lungs and you become more prone to infection. This causes your lungs to age faster and leads to the breakdown of lung tissue.

The more you smoke, fewer cilia remain present in the lungs. Cilia clean the lungs, but when you smoke, cilia slow down their movement which makes it difficult to properly clean the lungs. The effect of smoking also results in less oxygen reaching critical parts of the body. Less airflow can hinder function in every organ, especially the lungs. Smoking is the number one cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It is also important to avoid second and third-hand smoke. Being around a smoker can also be dangerous to your lung function. Once you quit smoking, your breathing improves within a few days and the lungs are more able to fight infection. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to kick your smoking habit. [2] 

Hygiene

If you are at risk for respiratory disease, then you may need to take precautions at home and out in the world. Having chronic respiratory disease can make you more susceptible to illnesses and infection. You can keep germs at bay by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water several times a day. Covering your cough is vital and avoiding crowds during peak cold and flu season can also lower your risk of contracting viruses and bacterial infections.

Many people do not think of indoor air pollution, but cleaning your house will improve the quality of air you breathe. To improve air quality, you can eliminate air fresheners, mold, and pet dander from your living space. Those factors significantly contribute to the development of breathing disorders like asthma. It can also be beneficial to avoid aerosol products and change your furnace air filter seasonally. If you must go out during flu season, you may want to wear a mask.  If you live in a polluted area, masks can help you avoid inhaling dust, smoke, and fumes. [3]

a man wearing a surgical mask outside

Exercise

Maintaining an exercise routine can significantly improve your lung function. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise five days a week is recommended for an average adult. Participating in frequent activity can improve your lung capacity and promote smoother blood flow and oxygen delivery to the body. Aerobic workouts can be beneficial because they can improve your endurance and breathlessness. Improving feelings of breathlessness is critical for those with COPD.

When it comes to exercise, everyone has to start somewhere. You should not be put off if aerobic exercise seems impossible at first. The more you participate in exercise, the easier it will become. You might be huffing and puffing initially, but it will get more manageable with time and practice. It is important to tell your doctor if you experience nausea, dizziness, weakness, pain, or pressure in the chest while you exercise. [4]

Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health!

Those who are suffering from respiratory diseases have to pay attention to their mental health as well as their physical wellbeing. Those with COPD and asthma may often battle with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Struggling to breathe is a terrifying phenomenon and can lead to feelings of isolation, which can spiral into depression or anxiety.

Having a respiratory disease can decrease the amount of activities you can participate in, which may also contribute to feelings of loneliness. In one 2015 study, 42 percent of COPD patients and 41 percent of asthma patients met the criteria for anxiety. Trauma can also increase respiratory difficulties with asthma.

If you feel you are experiencing mental health issues alongside your lung disease, then you should seek professional help. Group therapy or one on one therapy can significantly improve anxiety or depression. If your mental health is under control, it is more likely that you can reduce stress-related exacerbations of lung disease symptoms. [5]

a woman laying down on the ground

Take Your Medications

As with every health condition, it is essential to follow your treatment plan. Lung diseases are exceedingly common, so your doctor will know the best course of action for your condition. They can help you determine what lifestyle changes need to be made as well as the exercises that improve lung capacity.

Taking your medications is also vital to maintaining your chronic lung disease. For the majority of conditions, you will likely be prescribed a long-term inhaler as well as a rescue inhaler. Advair Diskus is used as a long-term asthma control medication to reduce your chance of severe asthma attacks. If you experience sudden feelings of breathlessness or shortness of breath, a quick-relief inhaler like Ventolin may be prescribed. You can find discounts on your lung maintenance medications and hundreds of other prescription drugs on Canada Drug Warehouse.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.