Smoking Effects on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Health,  Technology

Smoking Effects on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a downward plummeting lung disease. People who develop COPD experience worsening conditions over the years. After a great deal of scientific research, a link has been found between smokers, and those who develop COPD.

Some of the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

  1. A feeling of tightness in the chest
  2. Increasing difficulty in breathing
  3. Persistent cough, often with the accompaniment of mucus
  4. A wheezing sound during coughing bouts
  5. Shortness of breath
  6. Lacking the same level of mental alertness
  7. Fingernails or lips turning blue or grey in color
  8. Extreme rapid heartbeat

Unfortunately, COPD is a debilitating disease; the condition simply gets worse as the years pass. You may have to visit a pulmonologist before your condition worsens.

An in depth understanding of COPD

In order to really understand how Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease affects a person, it is important to first understand the inner workings of your lungs. In simple language, your lungs can be compared to a balloon. As you breathe in, air fills up your lungs, and they inflate like a balloon. As you breathe out, the air is pushed out of your lungs, as they deflate.

The air which we breathe in is rich in oxygen. This air passes down your windpipes, and enters into your lungs with each breath. The lungs have several tubes, known as bronchial tubes, which branch off into even smaller tubes called bronchioles. Tiny air sacs known as alveoli. When you breathe in, the air travels down the bronchial tubes, into the bronchioles and enters the alveoli. These alveoli have tiny blood capillaries, which transport the oxygen from the alveoli to the bloodstream. In turn, carbon di-oxide enters the alveoli and is pushed out by the lungs as we breathe out.

This continuous process by our lungs is what keeps out blood pumping and sends oxygen to all parts of our bodies. In patients who are suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, the lungs, airways and alveoli lose their natural elasticity. This means that they do not expand freely with each breath, accommodating the oxygen into our lungs. The walls between the alveoli slowly destroy themselves.

The walls start to thicken, swelling up increasingly and thus now allowing air to pass by freely. The bronchial tubes start to produce more mucus than normal. This can clog up the airways of the lungs.

How does smoking affect Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

Emphysema is one of the common conditions of COPD. This condition is caused due to cigarette smoking, as well as other air borne pollutants such as dust, pollution, smoke, fumes, etc. Over time, these factors start weakening the air sacs or the alveoli in the lungs. The walls between the sac weakens over time, thus, creating a large tear. The capillaries are unable to absorb the oxygen from the air we breathe, along with making the expulsion of carbon di-oxide even more difficult. It becomes progressively harder for people with COPD to breathe normally.

Another condition of COPD known as Chronic Bronchitis causes excessive production of mucus in the airways of the lungs. This, in turn, clogs the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Each cough expels a lot of mucus as well. Both these conditions develop due to cigarette smoking, and can be affected by how many years the patient has been smoking, and how many cigarettes they would smoke per day.

What is surprising is that while first hand smokers are the most affected by COPD, even second hand, passive smokers are at a risk of developing Chronic Bronchitis and COPD. The same process can occur in second hand smokers, slowly weakening the air sacs or the alveoli, and thickening the airways in the lungs.

  1. Studies have revealed that 15% to 20% of cigarette smokers are at a risk of developing COPD.
  2. 90% of cases where patients suffer from lung damage due to COPD are patients who were former smokers.
  3. Smoking can cause deaths in among 90% of COPD patients.
  4. While there might be other causes to developing COPD, about 75% of patients who suffer from stage II, III and IV or COPD have been former smokers.

Who can develop the risk of COPD?

  • Current smokers
  • Second hand smokers
  • Former smokers who smoked before adulthood
  • Former smokers who smoked throughout their lives
  • Children exposed to second hand smoke
  • Children whose mothers smoked while pregnant

Can quitting smoking improve the symptoms of COPD?

Unfortunately, COPD is an incurable disease. However, quitting smoking can be quite helpful in reducing some of the symptoms of COPD. These include:

  1. Prevention of COPD symptoms from worsening
  2. Improving your overall quality of life
  3. Lowering the rate of tissue loss in the lungs
  4. Lessening the symptoms of COPD

There are several medical treatments which COPD patients can undergo to help them with their symptoms of COPD. In addition, use of website can also prove to be effective for help and discounts. No doubt, vaping is much better than smoking.

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