Oct 15 2010
The respiratory system comprises the nasal cavity, larynx, trachea, bronchi, throat and the lungs. Normally, the oxygen from the air is inhaled through the nose and guided towards the lungs, via the nasal cavity. The layer of tiny hair in the nose keeps dust and foreign bodies from reaching the lungs. The oxygen travels through the nose to the pharynx and enter the passage for air thereafter.
From the trachea, the air is taken to the bronchi, bronchioles and finally the alveoli. The alveoli have capillaries. While this process is in action, another intricate system within the human anatomy conducts a simultaneous task. The blood that leaves the heart chambers with impure blood passes through the alveoli, exchanging the carbon dioxide concentrated blood for that charged with oxygen. This energized blood then rejuvenates every cell in the body.
How Smoking Affects the Respiratory System:
The addiction for tobacco is actually one related to the nicotine and tar content in the tobacco. The craving only gets more aggravated with indulgence and becomes very painful, emotionally and physically, when an attempt is made to give it up. Nevertheless, the damage caused by the habit has far reaching effects and even after going through smoking cessation withdrawals, it takes the respiratory tract years to totally rehabilitate.
Smoking cigarettes causes cancer of the mouth and throat and lung cancer. Research reveals that it also causes chronic bronchitis and makes breathing difficult. Women smoking cigarettes during pregnancy are known to have miscarriages and premature deliveries. Governments around the world are trying to implement the smoking ban and encourage citizens to give up the vice. The statutory warning: ‘Cigarette smoking is Injurious to health’ accompanies every cigarette pack and is supposed to work as a motivator to stop smoking.
One breath comprises a complete inhalation and exhalation. The lungs are never completely empty; there is always some air retained within. An adult normally takes 16 breaths per minute when awake and anything between six and eight when asleep. The chest cavity is a protective frame around the two lungs and heart. The internal movements around breathing contribute towards the health of the respiratory system. The quality of the air you breathe and the working of the associated, processing organs are affected by allergies, cold and flu viruses, bacterial infections and pneumonia. The condition of this vital system further deteriorates with smoking and pollution. No artificial structure or machines can ever replace the respiratory system.
The effects of smoking includes the introduction of tar particles into the respiratory system. This sticky substances not only stains the teeth and fingernails, but also leaves a residue on the delicate lung tissue. Carcinogen benzopyrene in tar is a cancer trigger. Although carbon monoxide is an odorless gas, it is fatal for inhalation because it replaces vital oxygen in the blood. Since it binds with hemoglobin faster and better than oxygen, the result is a reduced quantity of oxygen reaching important organs like the heart and brain.
Hydrogen cyanide is another toxic substance that enters the respiratory system through smoking. It damages the lung-clearance-system and facilitates the build up of hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides and oxidizing agents within the lungs. The reactive chemicals damage the blood vessels and the heart, leading towards heart disease and stroke. Tobacco also contains metals like cadmium and lead, which are carcinogenic in nature.
Smoking facts reveal that all these inhalants cause damage to the trachea, larynx and lung function. Long term effects include narrowing of the lung airways, increased risk of lung infection, high blood pressure, blood prone to clotting, increased risk of stroke, damage to the immune system and reduced bone density.