The lungs are different from most of the other organs in your body because their delicate tissues are directly connected to the outside environment. Anything you breathe in can affect your lungs. Your body has a natural defense system designed to protect the lungs. This works very well most of the time to keep out dirt and fight off germs. But there are some important things you can do to reduce your risk of lung disease.

Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking is the major cause of COPD and lung cancer. Cigarette smoke can narrow the air passages and make breathing more difficult. It causes chronic inflammation or swelling in the lungs. This can lead to chronic bronchitis. Over time, cigarette smoke destroys lung tissue, and may trigger changes that grow into cancer. If you smoke and are ready to quit, the American Lung Association can help.

Avoid exposure to pollutants that can damage your lungs. Second-hand smoke, outdoor air pollution, chemicals in the home and workplace, and radon can all cause or worsen lung disease. Make your home and car smoke-free. Test your home for radon. Avoid exercising outdoors on bad-air days. And talk to your healthcare provider if you are worried that something in your home, school or work environment may be making you sick.

Source: American Lung Association


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