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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
May 14, 2010
The State of Your Lungs and the State of the Air
One of the beautiful things about our lungs is how they not only help us to take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, but they also have the ability to clean themselves. There are hair-like particles in the lungs called cilia that move in a sweeping motion to remove mucus, which attracts much of the dust, germs and other unwanted matter that gets into the lungs. When smoking, the cilia become coated with tar and they don’t work well. When quitting, the cilia “wake up” and start working again to move mucus out of the bronchial tubes through coughing. When you quit, you may start coughing more than before—and that’s a good thing. It’s a sign that your body is getting back to its normal state.
The lungs are an amazing organ, made to move fresh air into our bodies and get rid of waste gases. Breathing fresh, clean air is vital to lung health.
The American Lung Association has just released an important report concerning air pollution, with findings that 58% of Americans, or more than a whopping 175 million people, live in areas with unhealthy air pollution.
Two of the most widespread pollutants, ozone and particle pollution, can cause some alarming symptoms ranging from shortness of breath and asthma attacks to chest pain, heart attacks and even premature death. Long term exposure to air pollution can increase women’s risk of lower lung function and developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
You may be thinking, what does this have to do with me and why should I care about clean air? Well, you already know that smoking causes health risks, so couple those with health risks from air pollution and that doesn’t paint a pretty picture, does it? Find out what the report says about the state of your air, what you can do to lessen your health risk from air pollution and what you can do to improve air quality where you live: www.stateoftheair.org.
A technical note: Some behind-the-scenes work will be done to the FFS Online Community at 5:00 a.m. EDT on May 17th. This may cause the site to look a little funny for about five minutes or so. We appreciate your patience as we work on some technical tweaks at that time.
Until next time, remember the 4 D’s:
- Drink plenty of water. Are you getting enough water each day?
- Do something else. A change of activity will help you through urge curves.
- Delay. Don’t give in the urge. It will pass in 3–5 minutes, whether you smoke or not.
- Deep breathe. Allow yourself some deep breaths to relax. In fact, why not treat yourself to a relaxation exercise now?
The American Lung Association adds a fifth D to that list:
- Discuss your feelings, concerns and thoughts on the Message Boards!
I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
Don’t forget: If you’re in the Premium program and want help fast on the Message Boards, put “HELP NOW” in the subject line of your post. If you’re looking to offer help, watch for those, “HELP NOW” posts and alert your other FFS Online buddies friends to offer some assistance as well.