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NHM Health Focus:
Healthy Lung Month

October 2009

About Lungs and Lung Health
  - How Do the Lungs Work? (NHLBI)
  - Human Respiratory System (American Lung Assn.)
  - How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy (Lung Assn. CA)
  - Lung 101 (Lung Association, Canada )
  - Lungs and Breathing Topics (MedlinePlus, NLM)

Lung & Respiratory Diseases and Disorders
  - Respiratory Diseases (HealthFinder.gov)
  - Lung Diseases (Librarians' Index to the Internet)
  - Respiratory System (Stanford Health Library)
  - Lung Diseases (HealthFinder.gov)
  - Lung and Airway Disorders (Merck)
  - Lung Disease information (NHLBI)
  - Respiratory Diseases (MedlinePlus, NLM)

Resources For Students
  - How the Body Works (Nemours)
  - Looking at Your Lungs (Nemours)
  - Asthma (Nemours)
  - Your Respiratory System (Discovery.com)
  - For Students (Lung Assn. CA)
  - Learn How Your Lungs Work (American Lung Assn.)

Resources for Teachers
  - Especially for Teachers (Lung Assn. CA)
  - Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools (EPA)
  - Classroom Activities: Air Pollution (LBNL)
  - Respiratory System Models and Expts. (IIT)
  - My Body, the Inside Story (Henry Co. Schools)

Healthy lung month is a good time to remind yourself that not everyone has healthy lungs.

"Lung disease is the number three killer in America, responsible for one in seven deaths. Lung disease and other breathing problems are the number one killer of babies younger than one year old. Today, more than 35 million Americans are living with chronic lung disease such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis." American Lung Association.

The list of lung diseases is long, ranging from asthma, bronchitis, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), to SARS and tuberculosis. Many of these conditions can be avoided, or their effects minimized by early detection and prompt treatment.

"Each day you breathe about 25,000 times, and by the time you're 70 years old, you'll have taken at least 600 million breaths." (KidsHealth) With each breath, the oxygen rich fresh air meets the carbon-dioxide rich blood carried from all parts of your body. It is in the lungs that blood cells lose carbon dioxide, a waste product, and gain oxygen. Oxygen rich blood carries its life giving load of oxygen to your heart, your brain, your liver, and all other parts of your body.

"A slice of normal lung looks like a pink sponge-filled with tiny bubbles or holes. Around each bubble is a fine network of tiny blood vessels. These bubbles, surrounded by blood vessels, give the lungs a large surface to exchange oxygen (into the blood where it is carried throughout the body) and carbon dioxide (out of the blood). This process is called gas exchange. Healthy lungs do this very well." (National Heart Lung Blood Institute)

For more about the structure and function of healthy lungs, please see "Your Lungs and Respiratory System", "Human Respiratory System" or one of the other links in the sidebar.

Lung disease may:

Lung disease may be caused by:

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to lung health:

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