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October 2006

NHM Health Focus: Healthy Lung Month

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

  - Lung Diseases (Librarians' Index to the Internet)
  - Respiratory Diseases (HealthFinder.gov)
  - Lung Diseases (HealthFinder.gov)
  - Lung and Airway Disorders (Merck)

  - The Respiratory System within the Thoracic Cavity (University of Bristol)

Resources For Students
  - Healthy Lung Month (Girl Power, HHS)
  - How the Body Works, Respiratory System (Nemours)
  - Looking at Your Lungs (Nemours)
  - Asthma (Nemours)
  - Cardiovascular System (Intellimed)

  - 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)
  - Build Your Own Lung Model From Junk (Univ of AZ)
  - My Body, the Inside Story (Henry County 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 "Looking at Your Lungs", "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: