December 2022

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Health Capsule

Lung Health and Our Environment

Breathe in and out. We all know how important it is to keep our lungs healthy and our breathing smooth. The health of our lungs depends in large part on our surroundings. Researchers are studying how we can protect lung health by improving our environment and lifestyle choices.

NIH funds research to understand how genes and the environment affect lung disease. The studies are looking for new ways to prevent and treat lung disease.

Some studies have found that long-term exposure to air pollution can raise the risk of developing asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, and other breathing-related diseases. Other research has shown that when air pollution improves, lung function improves and asthma symptoms decline.

Inhaled mold spores can trigger allergic reactions and worsen asthma symptoms, especially in young children. Other studies have found that exposure to tobacco smoke or e-cigarettes can damage the lungs and weaken disease-fighting cells.

Scientists have also studied the health effects of wildfires, radon, and more. Find out more about lung health, the environment, and related research.