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How to Understand Your Body’s Messages Part 2 (of 6): The Respiratory System


How to Understand Your Body’s Messages Part 2 (of 6): The Respiratory System


This is Part 2 of 6 in “How to Understand Your Body’s Messages” Series. Catch up on Part 1 (The Skeleton System) or Read ahead for Part 3 (The Cardiovascular System) or Part 4 (The Nervous System) or Part 5 (The Digestive System) or Part 6 (The Immune System).

Our Respiratory System plays a major role in how we breath. Even though, taking a breath is the best way to calm down and lower stress levels, yet we easily take it for granted. Focusing on our own breathing can help stimulate brain growth, improve heart rate as well as reduce anxiety and stress levels.

So how we breath is an important indicator of our overall health, understanding those indications can help us give us important clues to maintain our health and well-being.

So what follows is a system check for your respiratory system and its maintenance plan.


By the time you hit 80, you will have taken around 700 million breaths. But your lungs are more than simply a breathing apparatus; they’re also the battlefield where intruders are fought off. The lungs serve as a barrier to threats from the outside environment. So knowing, how much is it likely to breakdown will help keep your respiratory ailments in check.


There’s been a 61 percent increase in the asthma rate since 1982. About 14.6 million Americans have asthma[1], and nearly 6,000 of them die of it each year.


More than 30 different bacterial, viral, chemical, and fungal intruders are known to attack the lungs[2]. If successful, they cause air sacs to fill with fluid, slowly choking off your supply of oxygen. Thanks to antibiotics, this hasn’t been the leading cause of death in the United States since 1936—it has been bumped to number six.

Lung cancer:

Thousands of patients die from lung cancer year [3]; 9 out of 10 of them are smokers.

System Check

Hold a lit candle 6 inches from your face, open your mouth wide, and take a deep breath. Try to blow out the candle without pursing your lips. If you can extinguish the flame, your lungs are functioning within normal ranges.

Your Maintenance Plan

Watch what you breathe

Pay attention to those pollution indexes the weather guys are always yammering about. If the Pollutant Standards Index tops 100, move your workout inside. When you exercise, you take about 10 times more air into your lungs than you do at rest, so working out in dirty air increases your exposure to pollutants tenfold. That can make you more susceptible to respiratory infection.

Don’t live like a pig

Many researchers believe that allergens are behind the alarming increase in asthma rates. For that reason, it’s important to reduce your exposure to pollen, dust mites, cockroaches, and other common allergens. That means staying indoors, with the air-conditioning on, as much as possible during pollen or rye-grass season (the dates will depend on where you live); dusting and vacuuming regularly; and taking a firm stance against cockroaches sounds a healthier option. Open the windows for a few hours now and then to help keep indoor pollutants down.

Get your flu shot

A British study of 445 people as young as 16 found that those who had received flu shots were 63 percent less likely to wind up in the hospital with any of a number of respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, pneumonia, and emphysema. Ten bucks, 5 minutes, and a pinprick in your arm seem like very small prices to pay for lung insurance.

A little care from our side results into a whole lot of difference altogether. Respiration is but the most important aspect of human health system, but there’s also a heart that keeps pumping us to lead a healthier life. Stay tuned for the third part of “How To Understand Your Body’s Messages” Series. Want to thank us? Tweet this to your friends.


[1] Carlos Flores, Shwu-Fan Ma,#3 María Pino-Yanes,1,2 Michael S. Wade,4 Lina Pérez-Méndez,1,2 Rick A. Kittles,5 Deli Wang,6 Srinivas Papaiahgari,7 Jean G. Ford,7 Rajesh Kumar,8 and Joe G. N. Garcia4. African Ancestry Is Associated with Asthma Risk in African Americans. PLoS One. 2012; 7(1): e26807.Published online 2012 January 3. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0026807, PMCID: PMC3250386.

[2] Vanessa Liévin-Le Moal and Alain L. Servin, Clin. The Front Line of Enteric Host Defense against Unwelcome Intrusion of Harmful Microorganisms: Mucins, Antimicrobial Peptides, and Microbiota. Microbiol Rev. 2006 April; 19(2): 315–337.doi:  10.1128/CMR.19.2.315-337.2006, PMCID: PMC1471992.

[3] Chaffin P, Reininger S, Part 1. Bronchogenic carcinoma a review and study, Nurse Pract. 1981 Jan-Feb;6(1):10-7, PMID: 7007929.

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