5 Tips for Good Lung Health

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Healthy lungs allow you to breathe easily, without discomfort or pain. They supply oxygen to your bloodstream to keep the rest of your body healthy. When your lungs are healthy, you're more likely to be able to do the activities you love and have a good quality of life.

But some people have problems with their lungs from smoking, disease, or infection. When your lungs are unhealthy, your entire body and activity level can suffer. It's important to know how to deal with certain lung conditions so you can stay active and do the things you enjoy.

Jussuf Kaifi, MD
Jussuf Kaifi, MD

MU Health Care cardiothoracic surgeon Jussuf Kaifi, MD, offers 5 tips to maintain peak lung performance.

Don't smoke

The more you smoke, the greater your risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There’s no safe amount to smoke, so don’t smoke anything. Cigarettes, pipes, cigars and marijuana all can harm your lungs.

Most lung cancer is caused by smoking. After you quit, your risk for lung cancer drops gradually. By 10 years, your risk will be about half of what it would have been if you had continued to smoke. This risk continues to decline as the number of years of not smoking increases.


The more you exercise, the easier it is for your lungs to keep your heart and muscles supplied with oxygen. Exercise doesn’t necessarily strengthen your lungs, but it helps them perform better.

Know your cough

If you have a cough for more than a month or get winded easily, see your doctor. A chronic cough could be a warning sign of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.

Practice proper posture

Slouching has been shown to reduce your lung capacity, which can make it more difficult for oxygen to reach your heart and muscles.

Avoid pollution

Like smoking, air pollution can have a detrimental effect on your lungs. Spending time outdoors in these conditions is risky, especially for people with lung disease.

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