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What Happens When 27 Million People Have Difficulty Breathing, but Don’t Breathe a Word to Their Doctors About It?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

The numbers are astounding: Researchers estimate that a whopping 27 million people in the U.S. have trouble breathing, but nearly half wait months or years to mention it to their doctors. One reason they don’t speak up is they attribute it to aging or being out of shape, Mtn. Grove News-Journal reports. But all that wheezing, breathlessness and chest infections like bronchitis could lead to a serious problem called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) if you don’t address the symptoms when they first occur.

As mentioned in the featured article, one cause of COPD is exposure to environmental hazards, such as occupational dust or chemicals, smoking, secondhand smoke and air pollution. While you can take steps now to avoid these exposures, once you have COPD, it’s a lifelong condition with no cure. The only treatment possible is to manage the symptoms and initiate healthy lifestyle changes — and that’s why it’s so important not to wait to share these symptoms with your doctor.

Since lung function tends to peak around the age of 30, it’s also important to pay attention to prevention as early in life as possible. Besides eliminating triggers that can cause lung conditions including COPD, your diet can help strengthen and protect your lungs. To that end, recent research shows that foods high in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid, not only can help prevent age-related lung problems, but can improve symptoms of chronic COPD.

Flavonoids are a group of polyphenols, or phytonutrients, found in most fruits and vegetables. Known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, they’ve been found to lower the risk of many chronic conditions rooted in inflammation. Foods that are specifically high in anthocyanins include berries with red, blue and purple colors.

Other flavonols and flavonones include onions, kale, broccoli, peaches, strawberries and bell peppers, to name just a few. Other lung-boosting foods are tomatoes and apples. In fact, in the realm of lung function alone, research shows the valuable components in apples help prevent and treat lung cancer, asthma and respiratory diseases, as well as bronchial hyperactivity and persistent allergic rhinitis.

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