At one point in your life, you have probably heard about a disorder called “smoker’s lung,” commonly associated with people who smoke cigarettes or related products. In classes, you have probably seen diagrams demonstrating the radical differences between pink healthy lungs and tarry-black lungs poisoned by smoke and other dangerous chemicals over a long period of time. Nevertheless, while these changes do occur on a visual level, the most painful and terrible changes are taking place on the cellular level in lung tissue. As a direct result, the lungs will also function poorly, resulting in what some people have aptly named “smoker’s cough.” While pictures are certainly worth a thousand words (the warning posters are enough to make you terrified of cigarettes), though what exactly happens on the inside? What damage does smoker’s lung inflict? Let’s take a closer look at this phenomenon and find out more information.
Appearances Is Everything
Overall, the major differences between healthy lungs and smoker’s lungs are anatomical and physiological, affecting both appearance and function. Keep in mind that not all black and tarry lungs are directly related to cigarette use (like coal mining). However, a closer analysis can help doctors understand if a victim suffers from these black lungs because of smoking.
First of all, you may be asking, where does the characteristic brown or black color come from? Simply put, whenever people take puffs from cigarettes, they are inhaling thousands of tiny carbon-based chemicals. Ultimately, our bodies have a unique method for purging these products: triggering an inflammatory response that results in an overflow of macrophages (the garbage keepers of our body). As a result, these macrophages devour the black particles and store these nasty substances as toxic byproducts, hence the black or brown color of the lungs. The good news is that, through years of cleansing, young macrophages will replace the blackened ones and get you back on track (if you quit, that is).
Problems with Lung Capacity
As expected, blackened and tarry lungs filled with toxins cannot function within the same parameters as non-smokers’ lungs. Overall, the total lung capacity (the largest amount you can take in after a deep breath) lessens due to a loss of elasticity in the airway muscles, and breath intake is also impacted by cigarette-related damages to the alveoli. Also, due to a loss in elasticity, forced expiratory volume (forcing as much air out of your passageways as possible) also depletes, resulting in trapped air.
Seeking Treatment for Cigarette Use
Nothing about smoking cigarettes is glamorous or appealing. Although this may have been a cultural and social fad at one point, these little sticks are filled nicotine and dangerous chemicals that can turn social occasions into a peg in the ladder of a shorter life span. Are you suffering from cigarette abuse or a severe case of nicotine addiction? Is one of your friends or your loved ones also suffering from one of these problems? In either case, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our professional team of counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the rehabilitation process and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle.
If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to break away from cigarettes for good.