Cigarette Smoke and Diseases of the Lungs

Topics: Pulmonology, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Lung Pages: 6 (1422 words) Published: May 27, 2012
Diseases of the Lungs

When you breathe, your lungs take in oxygen from the air and deliver it to the bloodstream. The cells in your body need oxygen to work and grow. During a normal day, you breathe nearly 25,000 times. People with lung disease have difficulty breathing. There are numerous things that affect the lungs in a negative way. Smoking is a major contributor to these issues and it helps in no way. It destroys the lungs and intensifies any existing problem. Diseases of the Lungs

Lung disease refers to disorders that affect the lungs, the organs that allow us to breathe. Breathing problems caused by lung disease may prevent the body from getting enough oxygen. Examples of lung diseases are: * Asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema

* Infections, such as influenza and pneumonia
* Lung cancer
* Sarcoidosis and pulmonary fibrosis
* Pulmonary hypertension
* Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

The Effect of Cigarette Smoke on the lungs
Cigarette smoke has a negative effect on the body entirely. It affects the various systems and the organs associated with them. However, the focus lies on the respiratory system; the lungs. The effects of tobacco smoke on the respiratory system include: * Irritation of the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box) * Reduced lung function and breathlessness due to swelling and narrowing of the lung airways and excess mucus in the lung passages * Impairment of the lungs’ clearance system, leading to the build-up of poisonous substances, which results in lung irritation and damage * Increased risk of lung infection and symptoms such as coughing and wheezing * Permanent damage to the air sacs of the lungs.

The air sacs in your lungs where oxygen is passed to the blood are called alveoli. These have a very large surface area - about the size of a tennis court. Every time that you smoke you kill some of these alveoli. These structures can't grow back, so once they are destroyed Constituents of Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins. These include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT.

Nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco that causes smokers to continue their smoking habit. Along with nicotine, smokers also inhale about 4,000 other chemicals. These chemicals harm nearly every organ in the body. Addicted smokers need enough nicotine over a day to ‘feel normal’ – to satisfy cravings or control their mood. As with most addictive substances, humans have devised a number of ways of delivering nicotine to their bodies. Nicotine readily diffuses through: skin, lungs and mucous membranes. Nicotine moves right into the small blood vessels that line the tissues listed above. From there, nicotine travels through your bloodstream to the brain, and then is delivered to the rest of your body. The most common (and the most expedient way) to get nicotine and other drugs into your bloodstream is through inhalation -- by smoking it. Your lungs are lined by millions of alveoli, the tiny air sacs where gas exchange occurs. These alveoli provide an enormous surface area -- 90 times greater than that of your skin -- and thus provide ample access for nicotine and other compounds. Nicotine induces formation of oxygen radicals and at the same time also reduces the antioxidant capacity of the lungs. Nicotine and the oxidants cause point mutations in the DNA molecule, thereby changing the program that controls lung growth and maintenance of lung structure. When nicotine is combined with the other harmful substances, it aids in the rapid deterioration of the lungs on a whole.

Carbon Monoxide
All people are exposed to carbon monoxide at varying levels by breathing in air. Breathing in high amounts of carbon monoxide may be life-threatening. CO affects your...
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