smoking facts

Facts About Smoking and Emphysema

Smoking and emphysema are cause and effect.

The long term effects of smoking cigarettes are what causes emphysema in most cases. The facts on emphysema reveal that this damage is irreversible.

smoking emphysema

The term emphysema means swelling and comes from the Greek emhysan meaning inflate, itself composed of en meaning in and physa meaning breath. This is what happens to the lungs from long term smoking.

The damage to the lungs results in many small compartment enlarging into one compartment. As a result the surface area available for gas exchange is diminished so it becomes difficult to get enough oxygen.

You can see also in the picture that cigarette tar is deposited in the lungs essentially covering the tissue that is needed for gas exchange.

Without enough surface area in the lungs for gas exchange you suffocate.

smoking facts

Facts on Emphysema

  • emphysema is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and the US.
  • over 80% of emphysema cases result from the long term effects of smoking cigarettes.

  • about 90% of emphysema patients are heavy smokers.

  • parental smoking and emphysema in their offspring have now been correlated statistically. More than one study has confirmed that exposure to second hand smoke as a child and even before birth can affect lung function as an adult.

  • together, emphysema and chronic bronchitis are called Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease or COPD

The real facts on emphysema are that all smokers will have some emphysemic changes in their lungs, however, not all smokers will be diagnosed with the disease. Some people will suggest that this is proof that smoking does not cause emphysema.

However, individual variations do occur. Your body will react to the effects of smoking cigarettes in the way that it is programmed genetically.

Instead of emphysema you may develop atherosclerosis disease, heart disease or cancer.

Emphysema is not a reversible disease. Damaged lung tissue cannot be regrown.

Whatever damage is done is done - forever!

by Beverly OMalley

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