World Lung Day, organised by FIRS (Forum of International Respiratory Societies), is an awareness day for promoting better lung health, globally. Healthy lungs will make your body work more effectively.
Your lung health
To ensure you keep your body ticking over nicely, keeping your lungs healthy is critical. However, the burden of lung disease is often not recognised or prioritised within health systems as much as it needs to be.
The most common lung diseases
There are five diseases that are the most common causes of severe illness and death worldwide:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – more than 65 million people suffer from COPD
- Asthma – affects 14% of children and is rising
- Acute lower tract infections
- Lung cancer
World Lung Day
Every year, the world’s leading international professional respiratory societies, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), asks for people’s help in raising awareness of the importance of healthy lungs. This may include, holding a virtual press conference or webinar to talk about lung health/respiratory infections, or running a Facebook live session.
Why lungs cause so much health burden
The lung is an internal organ. It is most vulnerable to infection and injury from the external environment because you breathe in oxygen from the air, directly into your lungs. Your lungs really are a very important cog in the wheel that keeps your body ticking over. They draw oxygen in when you inhale, and release carbon dioxide out when you exhale. This gas exchange is an important process, because carbon dioxide is a waste gas which the cells of the body produce. Obviously, this breathing in and out is a vital function of life. In fact, it’s your respiratory system that helps make breathing possible. Furthermore, if you have problems breathing, you may experience an impairment in gas exchange which will increase your risk of serious health problems.
How to keep your lungs healthy
There are several things you can do, and World Lung Day is a good day to start thinking about the health of your lungs. You could think about:
- Introducing breathing training to improve your respiratory muscle strength
- Quitting smoking
- Introducing a healthier diet
- Being more physically active
- Limiting your exposure to air pollution, indoor and out
- Having the vaccine for seasonal flu or pneumonia
- Using protective gear if your occupation involves exposure to dust, allergens or pollution etc