Archive | November 27, 2017

Keeping Our Lungs Healthy

The following is a guest blog post from our friends at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Being proactive in our health is always important. One area of our body that can sometimes be neglected in proactively preventing illnesses is our lungs. But with November comes Lung Cancer Awareness Month and an opportunity to revisit tips and ways to keep our lungs healthy.

Simple steps, like being mindful of your surroundings, can be easy ways to maintain our lungs and protect them for the future. Smoking is a known hazard and currently the number one cause of lung cancer in the United States. Avoiding smoking and being around secondhand smoke is an important step in keeping lungs healthy, along with being conscientious about avoiding illness through proper hand washing and getting the flu vaccine. However, another important area to be aware of are toxins and pollutants that can affect breathing and lung tissue, from outdoor pollution and chemicals inside the home, which can range from merely irritants to carcinogens.

With these toxins in mind, your living environment is also a place where health hazards need to be a priority. Environmental toxins are known to damage lung health as well, one of which being radon. An odorless, colorless gas that seeps into foundations from underground sources can become trapped in homes and buildings. Exposure over time is known to cause lung cancer, and is actually the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon testing kits can be found and easily used through licensed professionals like those listed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Asbestos is another invisible environmental toxin that can have potentially serious health risks to lungs as well. A mineral fiber that was mined and used heavily during the 1900’s, it was utilized in a wide variety of applications from construction materials to home appliances. Spaces built or renovated prior to 1980 could be at risk of containing some type of asbestos-containing materials. When these items are left untouched and are not damaged, they pose little risk, however when disturbed or broken, asbestos can be released into the air. These fibers can then be easily inhaled and over time cause irritation, tumors and even cancer. The lungs are most often affected by asbestos exposure, causing illnesses like a chronic lung disease called asbestosis, asbestos lung cancer and the most serious, mesothelioma cancer.

Preventing exposure to asbestos is the only way to avoid these illnesses, making awareness so vital. Mesothelioma in particular often leaves patients with an extremely poor prognosis once the disease is finally correctly diagnosed, making the cancer even more devastating considering it’s almost entirely preventable.

With better awareness around toxins that can negatively affect our lungs, we can all be more proactive in protecting this vital organ. Through Lung Cancer Awareness Month and beyond, we should all take the time to better educate ourselves and make sure our lungs will be healthy for years to come!