This week is Respiratory Care Week, celebrated by the American Association for Respiratory Care. The special week was set up to honor respiratory therapists and the important work they do.
What is Respiratory Therapy?
Respiratory therapy is the assessment and treatment of patients with breathing disorders or difficulties. Respiratory therapists perform a range of treatments, including managing ventilation systems, administering inhalant medications, monitoring cardiopulmonary therapy equipment, conducting cardiopulmonary rehab, and more.
The respiratory therapist (RT) is a certified medical professional who specializes in caring for your lungs. If you have asthma, COPD, pneumonia, lung trauma, or any other respiratory-related condition, the RT is the one you can turn to for the best outcomes.
Your Breathing Matters
The American Association for Respiratory Care’s motto is “Your breathing matters.” And it’s true—your respiratory health is closely linked to the health of the rest of your symptoms. Breathing brings oxygen into your body, without which you could not survive. Therefore it’s so important to keep your respiratory health as strong as possible.
Here are some ways to improve and maintain your respiratory health:
- If you smoke, quit. Talk to your doctor for help quitting, but start the process today. Studies show your body will start healing itself as soon as 24 hours after quitting.
- Stay away from secondhand smoke.
- Avoid air pollution, both indoors and outdoors.
- Exercise regularly, with your doctor’s guidance.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
- Maintain a healthy weight, or go on a weight-loss program approved by your doctor.
- See your doctor at least annually for a full physical examination.
Taking these steps, even if you’ve been in poor respiratory health until now, can improve your breathing and reduce the strain on your heart. Any drastic lifestyle changes should first be cleared with your doctor before you begin.