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Smoking is extremely injurious to your overall health, it can have several negative impacts on your mental and physical health as well. However, it is especially harmful to your respiratory system. That is the case because your lungs (along with other respiratory organs have to deal with the tobacco smoke that you so willingly inhale).
A few adverse and most common effects of smoking on the respiratory tract are mentioned as follows;
- Damage to the trachea and the voice box
Smoking slows down the functioning of the cilia (which clean out the mucus). Once the cilia do not work well, the mucus is not removed and so, it causes irritation of the trachea as well as damage to the voice box (larynx). You may have noticed that people who smoke tend to have a hoarse voice in comparison to those who don't.
- Decreased functioning of the lungs
Smoking causes tar to enter the lungs which can wholly decrease the efficiency of your lungs and lead to breathlessness, even after minor physical activity. On top of that, tobacco smoke also ruins your alveoli terribly and they are unable of growing back. This constant damage to alveoli puts you at risk of many life-threatening diseases such as emphysema, lung cancer, etc.
- Respiratory Diseases
Smoking can cause the following diseases;
- chronic bronchitis
- chest pain
As per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), smoke-related illnesses are responsible for killing over 480,000 people in the United States. Smoking, in fact, is directly responsible for up to 90% of the cases of lung cancer and COPD deaths. As a smoker continues to smoke, he increases his risk of developing lung diseases, which include lung cancer. Furthermore, the risks of developing other illnesses also increase like stroke, heart diseases, and mouth cancer.
The risks associated with lung diseases include chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. It includes Emphysema and Chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is a chronic lung condition that impacts the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. Its symptoms include coughing, weight loss, sleep and heart problems, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Chronic bronchitis is long-term inflammation of large airways. Its symptoms include coughing mucus for a long period.
Lung cancer is an abnormal cell growth that causes masses, lumps, or tumors. It can begin in the lining of the bronchi or other areas of the respiratory system. The leading cause of lung cancer includes smoking as well as secondhand smoking. It symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Rust or blood-colored sputum
- Swelling of the face and neck
- Recurring lung infection
People who smoke inhale about 7,000 other chemicals in cigarette smoke other than nicotine. Many of these chemicals come from burning tobacco leaves. Some of these are chemically active and trigger damage in the body.
Cigarettes contain 70 known cancer-causing chemicals.
Effects of tobacco on the respiratory system include:
- Irritation to the larynx and trachea
- Narrowing and swelling of the lung airways and excess mucus in the lung passages cause reduced breathlessness
- Disablement of the lungs' clearance system, leading to the build-up of poisonous substances, that causes 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.
Smokers increase their risk of lung disease, smoking affects the whole respiratory tract and predispose to several conditions, Risks from smoking, as they relate to lung disease, include the following:
1. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease:
COPD is characterised by airflow obstruction. This obstruction is usually progressive, not fully reversible, and does not change markedly over several months.
It is not only more common among smokers but is also much more likely to be fatal. The risk of pneumonia is increased in immunocompromised individuals, as they are prone to developing chronic diseases.
3. Chronic bronchitis.
This is a long-term (inflammation of the large airways. Symptoms include coughing mucus over a long period.
This chronic lung condition affects the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, fatigue, sleep and heart problems, weight loss, and depression.
5. Lung cancer.
This is an abnormal growth of cells that can result in lumps, masses, or tumors.
Symptoms include: Cough, Chest pain, Shortness of breath, Wheezing, Recurring lung infections, unexplained fever, etc.
Smoking, including secondhand smoke, is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking also increases the risk of other respiratory system cancers. These include cancer of the nose, sinuses, voice box, and throat.
According to the statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diseases caused and stimulated by smoking kill more than 480,000 people in the U.S. each year. In fact, smoking is directly responsible for almost 90% of lung cancer.
DAMAGES TO THE RESPIRATORY TRACT:
Smokers doubles their risk of lung disease, including lung cancer. But they also increase their risk of other respiratory illnesses. Lets study some of them:
1. Chronic bronchitis: This is a long-term (chronic) inflammation of the large airways (bronchi). Symptoms include coughing mucus over a long period.
2. Emphysema: This chronic lung condition affects the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, fatigue, sleep and heart problems, weight loss, and depression.
3. Lung cancer: This is an abnormal growth of cells that can result in lumps, masses, or tumors. It may start in the lining of the bronchi, or other areas of the respiratory system. Smoking, including secondhand smoke, is the leading cause of lung cancer.
4. Other respiratory complications: It also increases the risk of other respiratory system cancers. These include cancer of the nose, sinuses, voice box, and throat.
Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of harmful chemicals which mainly target the lungs. The chemicals cause an increase in the production of mucus that causes diseases such as smoker's cough, pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma.
Smoking can cause difficulty in inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide as it reduces the surface area in the lungs. When lung tissues break down, the condition is characterized by shortness of breath-emphysema.
A smoker's lung turns blackish due to the continuous deposition of tar, while a healthy person's lung looks clean and pink.
A smoker is prone to develop chronic bronchitis, a long term inflammation of the bronchi. It causes a continuous cough with mucus.
Apart from these, the most dangerous and harmful effect of smoking on the respiratory tract is lung cancer. Lung cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in groups or masses. It starts to begin in the bronchi or the other regions of the respiratory tract.Symptoms of lung cancer include;
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- coughing with a discharge of blood-red sputum
- lung infections
- regular unexplained fever
- change in your voice
Lung cancer can also be the cause of other respiratory cancers such as;
- nose cancer
- throat cancer
- voice box cancer
- sinuses cancer
You would already know that smoking is injurious to one's health but it is most harmful to your lungs.
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