The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Most of us know what our personal bad habits are, but it doesn’t hurt to hear gentle reminders about the effects of poor choices. The older we are, the more set in our ways we may become, but with some determination we can overcome bad habits and live a healthier life. And now, for those gentle reminders, here are 4 Habits to Break If You Have Lung Disease:
Whether a person is suffering from lung disease or not, smoking is incredibly harmful. For someone with a chronic pulmonary illness, it’s literally the worst thing they can do. Smoking causes 30 percent of heart disease deaths, 30 percent of cancer deaths and 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancers, as well as increasing the risk of mouth, throat and bladder cancer. Smoking raises the odds of heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure, and can trigger or aggravate breathing problems such as bronchitis and asthma attacks.
The health benefits of quitting are almost immediate, because the lungs and cardiovascular system begin repairing themselves within minutes of the last cigarette. Within a month, the lungs will work better, coughing will subside and the former smoker will feel more energetic and have less shortness of breath. Quitting reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease, improves the senses of taste and smell. Other benefits include fresher breath, younger-looking skin and an end to that nasty tobacco smell on clothing.
Quitting can also mean that a person can qualify as a candidate for regenerative stem cell therapy.
Drinking to Excess
In too high a quantity, alcohol is a poison. Women who regularly have two or more drinks per day, and men who regularly have three or more are at a higher risk for liver damage, cancers of the liver and mouth, high blood pressure and depression. Women are generally more sensitive to alcohol, and are therefore at higher risk of heart disease, brittle bones and memory loss. For someone with lung disease, alcohol can make breathing more difficult, and even interfere with essential medications.
Overuse of Pain Medication and Sedatives
When taken improperly, habitual long-term use of medication can result in more serious problems than the one the medication is being used to treat. Using drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin can over time increase the risk for ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, high blood pressure and heart attack. Calming drugs and sleeping pills can leave a person feeling confused and accident-prone if taken in higher-than-prescribed doses.
New pain-relief strategies can ease muscle, joint and head pain with fewer pills and side effects. Kicking the sedative and prescription pain pill habit is possible with dedication and support.
For frequent headaches, see your doctor. Migraines can be stopped quickly with the right medication.
Constant Snacking on Unhealthy Foods
Losing touch with the body’s natural hunger signals can lead to chronic overeating and unhealthy weight gain, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease and other serious conditions. Junk foods especially deliver a load of unhealthy ingredients to the body.
With determination, anyone can change bad eating habits. By paying attention to natural hunger signals and switching to healthier snacks, one can boost nutrition, control cravings, lose weight and avoid low-energy periods.
Start Something Positive
Though a change in habits can do a lot of good in helping to prevent flare-ups of chronic lung disease symptoms, it may not be enough. Many people with lung disease have experienced an improved quality of life after receiving stem cell therapy from the Lung Institute. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, contact the Lung Institute today at (800) 729-3065.