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September 28, 2021 | Blog

The lungs are one of the most powerful organs in our bodies. They are defined as a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest. Respiratory health is very important and should be cared for in the right ways. The month of October is Healthy Lung Month where many different organizations have come together to educate the public on the importance of lung health and protection from things like smoking, bronchitis, air pollution, and more. Lung disease affects millions of Americans so this month is a great way to learn what you can do to keep your lungs healthy.

Common Lung Diseases in the US

Respiratory illnesses are a common issue in the US. Though people are also genetically more likely to have a respiratory condition there are factors like your environment, home, and health can play a big role. Here are the top 3 most common lung conditions. 


Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes a difficulty in breathing from the lungs inflaming the airways. Symptoms include: 

    • Wheezing 
    • Dry cough
    • Tight chest 
    • Shortness of breath
    • Trouble sleeping because of shortness of breath 

Asthma is different in every person but common triggers can be cold air, allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mold, and pet dander. Other causes can be Air pollutants, physical activity, respiratory infections, and more. Approximately 25 million people are diagnosed with asthma; it is also more common in adult women than in men. If you are feeling any of the symptoms above make an appointment to see your healthcare provider since these might be signs of asthma. 

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is defined as a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. Symptoms of COPD:

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Coughing up mucus 
  • Wheezing 
  • Chest pressure 
  • Frequent colds

Symptoms of COPD can worsen over time and can have serious lung damage. It is a difficult disease to recognize symptoms that can be mistaken for a gradual aging process, in fact you can have COPD for years without any signs of shortness of breath. Causes include tobacco exposure, air pollution, working with chemicals or fumes, your environment, and more. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States with more than 16.4 million people having been diagnosed with COPD.  Talk to your healthcare provider if you are feeling any symptoms listed above, you might have COPD and not know. It is better to check early on than to wait for symptoms to worsen. 

Chronic Bronchitis 

Bronchitis is the inflammation of the breathing tubes. Chronic bronchitis is the long-term definition of inflammation of the bronchi. Symptoms of bronchitis may include: 

  • Coughing (smokers cough) 
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up mucus
  • Chest discomfort 
  • Crackling sounds when breathing
  • Bluish fingernails, lips, skin, become of low oxygen 

Chronic bronchitis is a serious condition. Some common causes of bronchitis are cigarette smoking, second hand smoke, air pollution, dust, fire smoke, toxic fumes or gases, and more. You can also develop acute bronchitis which is also very common but not long-term like chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis falls under COPD, if you believe you have any of the symptoms it is important to contact your healthcare provider. 

Ways to keep your lungs healthy

In honor of Healthy Lung Month here are some tips to keeping your lungs happy and healthy: 

  • Don’t smoke or stop smoking – Smoking is one of the top causes of COPD. Cigarette smoke narrows the airways and makes breathing difficult. It also causes inflammation or swelling in the lungs which can lead to chronic bronchitis. 
  • Avoid Indoor pollutants – Avoiding things like secondhand smoke, and chemicals in places like your house. Dust your house, open a window to increase ventilation, and keeping your home clean can also help with keeping healthy. 
  • Avoid Outdoor pollutants – Look up the air quality of the day before venturing outside since sometimes it’s unhealthy to breathe in or might give you trouble when breathing. 
  • Prevent infections – wash and keep your hands clean regularly, and avoid touching your face. Drinking plenty of water and eating healthy to keep your immune system in its best shape. 


​​At Spring Hills, we host educational seminars that teach our seniors about how to prevent and manage diseases they may be prone to. This holistic approach to caring allows them to foster a stronger and more enriched mind, body and spirit. Our specially trained occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapy teams work together to create the most effective therapy program for each patient. From traditional therapies to treatment plans for a more complex recovery, our goal is to help restore strength, coordination, and mobility so the patient or resident can return to the highest level of independent functioning possible. In order to Live Happy you must live healthy. 

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