The lungs are one of the most amazing organs in our bodies, as they literally start to function the moment they are completely formed, and they don’t stop working until the day we die. As tireless as they may seem, they are not immune to the passage of time. As the body ages, so too do our organs, and while everybody ages, we all age differently depending on our lifestyle and health choices.
Lung health is important to maintain as we age, as their health has a direct impact on an individual’s quality of life. In order to determine the best way to take care of our lungs, it’s important to first understand the changes they undergo as we age.
When and How Do Lungs Deteriorate With Age?
Generally speaking, lungs mature between the ages of 20 to 25 and they begin to deteriorate after age 35. When our lungs begin to deteriorate, breathing may slowly become more difficult over time. This decrease in lung capacity is caused by the weakening of peripheral organs, not necessarily the lungs. Some changes include:
- The weakening of the diaphragm, which hinders the ability to inhale and exhale
- Thinning of the bones in the ribcage, hindering its ability to contract and expand during breathing
- Airway nerves become less sensitive, which means that you aren’t going to cough as often as you normally do. This increases the risk that particles build up in your lungs. This is especially dangerous for the elderly since they’re particularly susceptible to diseases such as mesothelioma. In fact, the impact of this disease on a patient’s quality of life is so severe that there is sometimes a need to call lawyers like the ones from Bergman Legal to help you secure fair and full compensation
- The weakened immune system, which makes the body susceptible to infections such as influenza and pneumonia
How Can Lung Health Be Maintained
There are many simple but effective lifestyle choices that can help you maintain your lung health as you age.
While they each might seem insignificant on their own, their cumulative effects are more than enough to mitigate the deterioration of the lungs. Some of these things are:
- Regular Exercise – Regular exercise helps keep the chest muscles, as well as your abdomen strong. This helps you breathe better.
- Maintaining Correct BMI – It’s important to watch your weight, as excessive abdominal fat impedes the diaphragm’s ability to fully expand the lungs.
- Getting Up From Bed – Lying down for too long causes mucus and other fluids to settle in your lungs, which can cause your lungs to become inflamed.
- Regular Checkups – Many lung diseases are difficult to detect. Even when you may feel healthy, you could be a developing lung complication. As with most diseases, early detection is key to mitigating or curing the disease.
- Flu Shots – Flu shots help bolster your body’s ability to repel infection. You may even ask your doctor if you can be vaccinated for pneumonia.
- Minimizing Exposure to Air Pollutants – There are many pollutants that can deteriorate your lung health. Inhaling smoke, secondary smoke, chemicals, and radon will hurt your lung health and they can also exacerbate existing conditions.
As we age, the health of our lungs becomes more important due to how frail our bodies become. Simple things such as breathing, walking, and even speaking become difficult. We shouldn’t wait for these problems to arise before we take the necessary measures to address them.