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Smoking cigarettes wreak havoc on addicts' lungs. The lungs of many 40-year-olds who smoke cigarettes are like the lungs of old people. Only a complete break with addiction can save their lives.

Answer four very important questions honestly:

  • Do you smokecigarettesat least 10 years?
  • Do you cough in the morning to "cleanselungs "?
  • Are you breathless when you run or climb to the second floor?
  • Do you often catch a cold in winter?

If your answer to at least three of these questions was "yes", see your primary care physician as soon as possible and ask for a referral to a spirometry test, i.e. lung function assessment. The result will either confirm or will rule out chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ).

Smoked bronchi - cigarette smoking effect

The lungs, although covered by the chest, are exposed to the environment. All the particles getting into them with air settle in the mucus layer covering the respiratory tract from the trachea through the bronchi to the smallest bronchioles (at their ends there are pulmonary alveoli). The mucus traps the debris, and then millions of microscopic cilia move them rhythmically back down the throat. By coughing or grunting, we remove a large part of them. There are over 4,000 in cigarette smoke. harmful compounds whose molecules end up in the lungs. These poisons mobilize the lungs to defend themselves, that is, to produce more mucus. But some substances in the smoke block the movement of the cilia and destroy them, preventing the lungs from cleaning themselves. Chronic bronchitis develops. The consequence of addiction is also the so-called emphysema. This is because tobacco smoke causes them to accumulate many white blood cells (leukocytes). From the blood, they get into the alveoli to neutralize harmful compounds in the smoke. Some leukocytes die and break down in the lungs, releasing the so-called elastase. This digestive enzyme destroys the elastic fibers in the lungs that allow us to breathe and causes the small air sacs in the lungs to burst. And it is in them that gas exchange takes place - oxygen penetrates the blood, and carbon dioxide from the blood flows into the bubbles. When the number of alveoli decreases,It becomes more and more difficult for us to breathe and less and less oxygen reaches all cells of the body. When a person has symptoms of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, doctors say they have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Usually, it is caused by many years of heavy smoking.

Chronic Obstructive Pneumonia

COPD is extremely insidious. In fact, it starts to bother when half of the lungs are destroyed. First, the patient coughs and produces sputum, mainly in the morning. Then there is shortness of breath; initially during exercise, and over the years also during sleep and rest. The ailments often worsen in winter. As the disease progresses, you may feel tightness in your chest and your breathing may become wheezing. In the advanced stage of COPD, the patient often loses weight and has symptoms of heart failure.

Learn 7 Ways To Quit Smoking


Mr. Henryk belongs to 7 million Poles in their 40s who smoke. His wife urged him to test because she could no longer bear his morning cough. She was the first to say it was because of the cigarettes. Mr. Henryk, however, believed that he had an allergic cough. After all, he eats well, spends his holidays sailing, and in winter he goes skiing. Every day he runs for 40 minutes around the estate … In fact, he sailed, rode, ran. Now it's hard for him to run to the bus. He was asked at the clinic if he smoked on an empty stomach. He joked: "Only one, because the other is not fasting anymore." But the nurses were not amused. Mr. Henryk's face fell when a lung specialist said: "You will quit smoking or you will only live for a few years." But how can you give up a balloon that has been released for 28 years?

Lungs - necessary tests

The basic one is spirometry. This test should be done by anyone who has been smoking for at least 10 years and has been coughing in the morning. Spirometry allows you to check if your lungs are older than our calendar age. Data is entered into the computer: sex, age, height. Then we exhale, breathe in to the maximum and put the mouthpiece of the "tube" connected to the spirometer to the mouth. The device measures the vital capacity of the lungs (VC), which is the largest volume of air that a person can draw into the lungs after the deepest exhalation. Then the exhalation rate (FEV1) is measured. ) - the maximum volume of air exhaled in the first second of rapid exhalation. The computer calculates the ratio of VC and FEV1 to the standards provided for us. A he althy person over 25 starts to lose about 15 milliliters of his maximum FEV1 a year. A patient with emphysema caused by smoking loses approx. 50 milliliters of FEV1. As a result, by the time he is 65, only a third of his lungs are working!diagnosis, an x-ray is also performed. chest, checks the saturation of blood with oxygen, performs a morphology, sometimes also ECG and ultrasound of the heart.

We can prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by, for example, not smoking, taking the flu vaccine. COPD patients should also get vaccinated. When the disease is detected early, you need to quit smoking, eat right and start exercising. In advanced stage of COPD, the chances of recovery are slim. However, bronchodilators, physical rehabilitation, oxygen therapy and stopping the addiction bring relief.

Where to go for help

Help, information and support are here:

  • Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases in Warsaw tel. (22) 431 21 00
  • Smoker Aid Clinic at the Oncology Center in Warsaw tel. (22) 643 92 34
  • National hotline for those who fight addiction 0 801 108 108
  • World Initiative for Combating Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease:
  • He alth Promotion Foundation

Find out the age of your lungs

As part of theNational Program for Early Diagnosis and Prevention of COPD , spirometry can be performed free of charge.

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