October 24-31, 2021, is National Respiratory Care Week. Since 1983, this week has been an opportunity to spread the word about lung health and respiratory health conditions. It’s also our opportunity to celebrate MANA Respiratory Therapists Clyde Nichols, Shauna Roughton, Art Middleton, and Gail Carr. (RT Linda Bessinger not pictured.)
In 1983, cigarette smoking was the major culprit in chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer. Now vaping and COVID-19 are hitting the headlines. Even long before 1983, lung health has been key to longevity and quality of life.
37 million Americans
According to the American Lung Association, some 37 million Americans suffer from chronic lung disease. There are three main types of lung disease:
- Airway diseases affect the tubes that carry oxygen in and out of the lungs — the airways. These include COPD and asthma.
- Lung tissue diseases cause scarring or inflammation of the tissues of the lungs. Examples are Pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema.
- Lung circulation diseases affect the blood circulation in the lungs. These diseases include pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary embolism.
Respiratory therapists work with pulmonologists and other care team members to help people with lung diseases.
Your lung health
Respiratory Care Week is a time to recognize respiratory therapists, and it’s also a time to encourage good lung health. What can you do to keep your lungs healthy?
The top priorities:
- Avoid infection. Mask up and wash your hands. Get your vaccinations — COVID-19 and a flu shot, plus pneumococcal vaccination if you’re over 65 or a smoker.