Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Lung Health with SDMI
November 16, 2022
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and SDMI takes lung health seriously. In this blog, we’ll talk about why lung health matters, how you can protect yours, and how Steinberg Diagnostic can help.
Why Does Lung Health Matter?
If you want to live, then you need oxygen. And if you want oxygen, then you need your lungs to work. At its simplest, this is why lung health matters.
Your lungs are just one part of your respiratory system, which refers to a group of organs and tissues that work together to help you breathe. The air that we inhale is actually made up of a number of gasses, one of them being oxygen. Your respiratory system works to remove unnecessary gasses and get fresh oxygen into your body because every single cell in your body needs oxygen to properly function.
Once oxygen hits your lungs, the organ moves it into your bloodstream to send it throughout your body. As it hits all of your cells, it replaces carbon dioxide, which your bloodstream sends back to your lungs so that you can exhale it. This is called “gas exchange,” and your respiratory system does it automatically, without your having to even think about it.
That’s not all your respiratory system does. It’s also responsible for:
Keeping the air you inhale at the right temperature and humidity level.
Protecting your body from dangerous particles by triggering you to cough, sneeze, filter out these particles, or swallow them.
Support your sense of smell.
So, you can probably see that your lungs play a bigger role than maybe you realized! Without maintaining optimal lung health, these other processes might suffer and struggle as a result. For the entire respiratory system to function the right way, each part needs to do its job.
How Can You Protect Your Lung Health?
Despite its undeniable importance, lung health isn’t prioritized as much as it should be. Almost 37 million Americans have some sort of chronic lung disease, like asthma and COPD (which would include chronic bronchitis and emphysema). And in 2022, there will be an estimated 236,740 new cases of lung cancer and approximately 130,180 deaths from lung cancer. Let’s first talk about some simple things you yourself can do to protect and improve your lung health:
Incorporate cardio, even if it’s mild. Anything that gets your lungs working and heart thumping is great, like a brisk walk around the block. Here’s a good way to determine if you’re working hard enough: If it’s tougher than normal to carry on a conversation, then you’re challenging your lungs!
Practice breathing exercises. You can find videos on YouTube or use a free app like Breathwrk. This teaches you to better utilize your lung capacity and also offers mental health benefits.
Drink plenty of water. Like the rest of your body, your lungs need water to function properly. But how much water do you need? Check the color of your urine! The more pigmented it is, the more dehydrated you are, so drink up.
Sit with proper posture. Your lungs are soft and only have as much room as you give them. Think of keeping your spine, neck, and head neutral when you sit. Gently roll your shoulders back and push them down. If you work at a desk, aim to stand up for at least a few minutes every hour.
Avoid going outside when the air quality is poor. You can use AirNow.gov to see what the quality of air is like in your area. If you have to leave the house, consider wearing a mask.
Avoid smoking and being around smokers. Yes, secondhand smoke is dangerous too.
Practice sensible personal hygiene. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after eating and using the bathroom. Avoid touching your face. If you’re in a crowded area, consider wearing a mask to protect yourself and others.
Consider investing in an air purifier. Go with something that incorporates a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter that’s replaceable (not washable).
How SDMI Can Help
Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. It’s not just a smoker’s disease, either. While most people who develop lung cancer have a history of smoking, 10% to 20% have never smoked in their life. SDMI Las Vegas offers low-dose lung cancer screening to anyone with a doctor’s referral. Adults between the ages of 55 and 74 may be eligible for insurance approval. Each insurance has different guidelines, so please check with your insurance to verify eligibility. If you’re a current smoker, live with a smoker, or have quit within the last 15 years, lung cancer screening might be a smart idea. Check with your insurance first to see what your plan covers.
There are two things, in particular, that set SDMI apart. We rely on only the latest in imaging technology to give our patients the fastest and most comfortable experience possible, with results that are more thorough and accurate.
And secondly, patient care is one of the pillars of everything we do. From the moment you walk through the door to the time when you leave our facility, you can expect to be treated with the utmost care, respect, and consideration.