Respiratory Therapist Offers Tips During Healthy Lungs Month

IU HealthOctober is National Healthy Lungs Month, and a local respiratory therapist has some tips for keeping your lungs in shape.

Brittany Ward from the Cardiopulmonary Department at IU Health Starke Hospital says eating healthy, getting proper exercise, and taking prescribed medications all go a long way, but there’s one thing that’s even more important, “Basically, the way you can have the healthiest lungs is obviously, you know, don’t smoke. We constantly talk to people about that.”

She says smokers have more trouble keeping their lungs clan, and that can lead to problems, “People who smoke are much more susceptible to lung infections because what happens is those tars from the cigarettes coat their airways, and the little fine hairs called cilia in the lungs are impaired and they cannot do their little brushing motion back and forth to help keep the lungs clear. So when the person gets a buildup of secretions in their lungs or mucus, they can get an infection very easily from that.”

Ward says cigarettes aren’t the only things that can cause lung problems, though, “Any kind of chemical that you inhale – some people have occupational hazards that they’re around chemicals and they work with them – anything that you inhale can damage your lungs.”

If you have any questions about lung health, you can call the IU Health Starke Hospital Cardiopulmonary Department at 574-772-1266.