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3 Recommendations for Lung Health In Seniors
Did you know that October is Healthy Lung Month, as designated by the CDC? While we should be focused on themes like lung health throughout the year, this month offers a great opportunity to create a bit of additional focus on it, particularly among those who may be at higher risk of lung conditions — such as seniors and some older people.
At Cozy Retire, our senior living community services include a wide range of health-related areas, and we ensure every single one of our guests has all the support and resources they need to maintain their overall health. Looking to the lungs in particular, why might some older people be at slightly heightened risk of lung issues, and what can be done to steer clear of these? Let’s take a look.
Why Are Lung Issues Moderately Riskier in Older People?
While risks of lung issues don’t go up quite as much in older people as they do for certain other conditions, it is true that for some, the risks are moderately greater. One reason for this is that as we age, it’s more likely our bodies will experience a slow but steady decline in how well they function. This can lead to issues like a weakened immune system, making it harder to fight off infections that could affect the lungs.
Another potential factor? Seniors who smoke cigarettes. This is one of the most significant risks for lung issues, and unfortunately, many seniors do still smoke. In fact, more than 15% of people over the age of 65 report being current smokers.
Our next several sections will go over how to avoid these risks and maintain healthy lungs, even as you age.
As you may have guessed, the first and one of the most important recommendations for keeping lungs healthy is to avoid smoking cigarettes. If you don’t smoke, great! You’re already on the right track. If you do smoke and are interested in quitting, know that you have plenty of resources available to support you. Nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum, and lozenges can ease withdrawal symptoms and make quitting easier.
Exercise and Lung Health
Another key recommendation for maintaining healthy lungs is to make exercise a part of your routine, even as you age. Exercise has all sorts of benefits, and one of them is that it helps keep the lungs functioning properly. Even simple activities like walking can help to keep your lungs healthy.
If you have any lung conditions, it’s still important to exercise, but you may need to talk with your doctor first about what types of activities are safe for you and how much you should do.
Eat a Healthy Diet
What you eat also matters for keeping your lungs healthy. A diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables is good for the lungs, as these foods contain antioxidants that can help to protect lung tissue.
Conversely, a diet that’s high in unhealthy fats and processed foods can increase your risk of developing lung conditions. So, it’s best to focus on eating healthy, whole foods as much as possible.
For more on how to maintain lung health as a senior, or to learn about any of our senior living programs, speak to our team at Cozy Retire today.