October is Healthy Lung Month

Tuesday, 07 October 2008

Breathing is easy to take for granted – unless you are one of the 35 million Americans who suffer from a lung disease. In order to increase awareness of issues relating to the maintenance of healthy lungs, the American Lung Association sponsors Healthy Lung Month each October.

As a firefighter, you face many occupational dangers to your respiratory system, including exposure to smoke, carbon monoxide, and particle matter and debris from building collapses, as well as potential contact with toxic materials that cause chronic diseases, such as asbestos. In addition, many firefighters put added strain on their lungs by smoking tobacco products or being exposed to second-hand smoke. Quitting smoking and taking special precautions to protect your lung health are essential to avoiding permanent damage to your lungs and heart. Since the lungs transport oxygen to the heart, which then sends the oxygen through the blood to the rest of your body, unhealthy lungs could send inadequate amounts of oxygen to the heart, which causes blood pressure and pulse rate to increase.

Talk to your doctor about your risk of lung disease, and make sure to mention any situations that you have been in where you might have been exposed to harmful substances. Know the risk factors of lung cancer and other lung diseases, and see your healthcare professional as soon as you suspect there may be a problem. Early detection is the first step to surviving any disease.

Learn more about lung disease, including tips for staying healthy and quitting smoking, from the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program. Find out more about Healthy Lung Month at www.lungusa.org.

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