Consider these important tips for maintaining healthy lungs:

  • Quit smoking, or don't start. Smoking can damage your airways and the small air sacs (called alveoli) in your lungs. It is a major cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you have asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger an attack or make an attack worse. You should also avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Limit exposure to air pollutants. Particle pollution in the outdoor air we breathe can increase the risk of lung disease, asthma attacks and even heart disease. Indoor air can be more polluted than the air outdoors. You can reduce indoor air pollution by making sure your environment is well ventilated and cleaned regularly to keep allergens, dust and mold from building up. You should also check your home for radon, a colorless and tasteless gas that forms naturally and can cause lung cancer. Check the Air Quality Index before participating in outdoor activities.
  • Exercise. Physical activity helps strengthen your lungs and keep them healthy, reducing your risk of lung injury or disease. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is associated with a reduced risk of sleep apnea.
  • Get regular checkups. It is best to catch a lung condition early, which is why regular checkups, even when you aren’t feeling well, are so important. Make an appointment with your primary care provider to get a lung health assessment.

The American Lung Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute offer additional information on keeping lungs healthy.