OPINION: Tips to help you breathe easier

Healthy Living Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

We use a lot of expressions related to our lungs without even realizing it. We say "take a breather" when we need a rest, or call a person a "breath of fresh air." But, unless you're a runner or use calming techniques like meditation, when's the last time you truly thought about your lung function?

Many people overlook the importance of caring for their lungs until they face a lung-related illness, such as respiratory viruses like COVID-19, influenza or respiratory syncytial virus.

Others may not consider lung health until a chronic condition arises.

It may take your breath away to know that around 34 million Americans live with chronic lung diseases, asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. People with these conditions are more susceptible to infection.

The American Lung Association reports adults 65 and older living with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases are at nearly eight times more risk for developing pneumonia and nearly six times greater risk for developing asthma. Furthermore, poor lung health can cause chronic coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath, which can all greatly impact our daily lives.

However, when our lungs function properly, we can perform physical activities without experiencing shortness of breath or fatigue. Healthy lungs also support a strong immune system, which can help to prevent illness and infection.

And now, you can breathe easier because we have some tips on keeping your lungs healthy.

Avoid air pollution -- Air pollution can damage your lungs, especially if you have underlying respiratory issues. Stay away from high-traffic areas and avoid using harsh chemicals in your home.

Don't smoke -- Smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer and respiratory illness. It is essential to avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Get vaccinated -- COVID, the flu and pneumonia can cause serious respiratory problems. Vaccines can help prevent these illnesses and keep your lungs healthy.

Monitor your breathing -- If you experience shortness of breath, wheezing, or chest tightness, consult your doctor immediately. These could be symptoms of an underlying respiratory condition that requires treatment.

Stay active -- Exercise is a great way to maintain lung health. It helps to strengthen your lungs and can improve your overall respiratory function.

Your lungs work hard every day to provide you with oxygen. Isn't it time you give them the care they deserve?

Schedule an appointment

Maintaining lung health is crucial for overall well-being. Talk to your doctor about any breathing problems you experience and ask how your lungs can function at their best. If you're looking for a physician, visit NW-Physicians.com today.

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a licensed 73-bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission. Some services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, medical, surgical and intensive care units, obstetrics, outpatient diagnostic services, and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. With more than 50 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more information, visit NorthwestHealth.com.