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Lung Health Tips for Respiratory Care Week

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National Respiratory Care Week is an annual event that recognizes the importance of lung health and the work of respiratory therapists across the country. In honor of this observance, held each year during the last full week of October, Antelope Valley Hospital (AVH) is encouraging everyone to learn more about keeping their lungs healthy and about the professionals who are here for patients if or when they are needed.

“People who are lucky enough to breathe easily with healthy lungs may have never heard of a respiratory therapist or a pulmonologist,” said Young Ko, MD, medical director of AVH’s respiratory therapy department. “But people with conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or cystic fibrosis know that respiratory therapists are an important part of their healthcare team, working with physicians to provide care for patients and help them breathe easier. We are fortunate to have an excellent and dedicated respiratory team at AV Hospital.”

There are things you can do to reduce your risk of lung disease, according to Dr. Ko. In order to keep healthy lungs healthy, he advises following these tips from the American Lung Association:

  • Don't Smoke. Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you smoke it's never too late to benefit from quitting.
  • Avoid Exposure to Pollutants That Can Damage Your Lungs. Secondhand smoke, outdoor air pollution, chemicals in the home and workplace, and radon all can cause or worsen lung disease. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are worried that something in your home, school or work may be making you sick.
  • Get Regular Healthcare. Regular check-ups help prevent diseases, even when you are feeling well. During a check-up your healthcare provider will listen to your breathing and listen to your concerns.
  • Exercise. Aerobic exercise helps improve your lung capacity. Specific breathing exercises can also help improve your lung function.

“If you experience shortness of breath, a cough that won’t go away, chronic mucus production, or chest pain when you breathe or cough, make an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as possible,” said Doddanna Krishna, MD, a pulmonologist at AVH. “Early disease detection can save your life.”