We are oblivious to the hard work that our organs perform day after day to enable us to breathe and live. Consider the lungs which are among the hardest working organs in the body, their critical function being to provide oxygen to the capillaries which go on to oxygenate the blood. These sponge like organs are busy at work expanding and relaxing some 20 times a minute, thousands of times every day, bringing in the oxygen to be distributed to tissues all over the body and expelling the carbon dioxide that has been created throughout the body.
Millions of people are diagnosed with lung disorders every year and now a study by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) has come up with some shocking new statistics that every five minutes one person loses his battle with lung disease and five more are diagnosed with the condition. This news should really come as no surprise as respiratory disorders are one of the most common reasons for doctor visits in industrialized nations where the air is clogged with dust, bacteria, viruses, pollutants and chemicals.
In light of these shocking revelations, there needs to be a concerted campaign to educate people in the UK on the warning signs of lung disease. Medical experts warn that even a nagging cough or a slight wheeze should not be dismissed as inconsequential and a visit to the doctor should not be delayed. Most of us think that breathing problems are just something that come with getting older but nothing could be further from the truth. These so-called mild symptoms could in fact be the signs of lung disease, asthma or worse, lung cancer. An awareness of the first signs of lung disease could help save millions of lives.
Some of the warning signs to look out for are shortness of breath, wheezing, chronic mucous production, chronic chest pain and coughing of blood. The fact that lung disease is killing so many in the UK obviously points to a woeful lack of awareness on these warning signs.
Besides looking out for the warning signs of lung disease, we also need to protect our lungs as much as possible against outdoor air pollution, secondhand smoke and chemicals in the home and workplace which all can cause or worsen lung disease. We owe it to these organs which work so hard to keep us going. Governments all over the world are pushing for more and more industrialization and air pollution is worsening by the day. We have to do whatever is within our means to protect ourselves.