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Located in
the chest, the lungs are surrounded by pleural membranes in order to obtain an
airtight area with a little amount of fluid in order, which prevents friction
when the lungs are ventilated. The trachea leads from the pharynx into the
bronchi, leading to the bronchioles. In both the trachea and the bronchi, there
is an important component called the cartilage; in the trachea, it’s organized
in “C-shaped” rings”, but in the bronchi, they’re just irregular blocks/chunks.
The two are also similar in composition in the fact that both contain goblet
cells, smooth muscle, and cilia. The bronchioles are also surrounded by smooth
muscle in order to allow them to relax and dilate the tubes for a larger air
flow. The combination of both body temperature and evaporation moisten and
warms the air coming from the nasal or oral cavity, which protects the delicate
tissue of the lungs from being irritated or dried out. Mucus also protects the
lungs, but it coats the passages in order to trap potentially harmful materials
in the air like dust, dirt, or even bacteria; its composition of carbohydrate-rich
glycoproteins make it sticky. This mucus is secreted by the goblet cells
located in with the ciliated epithelium. A potential danger with the mucus is
the possibility of certain pollutants to dissolve with the substance and
subsequently form an acid. Obviously, the acid could irritate and roughen the
tissue linings. As earlier stated, the cilia are also in this airway area. The
purpose of these cells is to usher mucus containing the particles upwards to be
swallowed. From there, it is digested by acid in the stomach. A particular
phagocyte known as macrophages are also in the airways to digest bacteria and
other substances. In serious circumstances, they remove pathogens in other
areas of the body.

 

            After branching out into the bronchioles
are the alveoli, which has structural components of elastic fibers to stretch
and relax when air is breathed in; because of this expansion, surface area
increases, which allows more space for diffusion and transport of carbon
dioxide and oxygen. The gases diffuse through a single layer of cells known as
squamous epithelium cells. Since the alveoli are located so closely to the
capillaries, the gases diffuse over the epithelium cells into the alveoli sacs
to be oxygenated. The high concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood outside
of the lungs sets up a concentration gradient to move oxygen from the alveoli
to the bloodstream, which is a very important component of the gas exchange
system.

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            Harmful components of smoke contain
tar, carbon monoxide, carcinogens, and nicotine, all of which can have detrimental
effects on the lungs, the gas exchange system, or cardiovascular areas. Tar in particular
can coat and settle on the trachea, bronchi, or bronchioles and cause a series
of diseases; the carcinogens in the tar are found to cause cancer. There are
several different categorizations of lung diseases usually known as COPD, which
stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. These include serious ailments
like chronic bronchitis and emphysema to smaller illnesses like asthma.
However, all of them stem from pollution around us, specifically cigarette and
tobacco smoke. Chronic bronchitis in particular is caused by tar. Goblet cells
and mucous glands begin to enlarge, and they secrete more mucus that necessary
for the body, clogging up the pathways of the lungs and destroying the cilia
that sweep out harmful particles. This leads to a common symptom of the
traditional “smoker’s cough”. In conclusion, chronic bronchitis involves lung
tissue inflammation, airway obstruction, and an excess of phlegm. However,
there is another serious lung disease known as emphysema, which can stem from chronic
bronchitis. Phagocytes in the weakened and infected lungs release elastase in
order to destroy the microorganism in the area, but instead, they digest and
destroy the elastin in the alveoli. This inhibits the alveoli’s ability to
expand and inflate, which can escalate to bronchioles collapsing and limit the
surface area available for diffusion. People infected with emphysema find it
hard to breathe and get as much oxygen as they need. Wheezing and breathlessness
are common, but the condition can get so severe that those affected have to
rely on an oxygenated face mask.

 

            Lung cancer is a different breed of
lung sickness. The carcinogens in the tar of smoke can negatively react with
the DNA in the epithelial cells in the lungs. This can lead into the
development of uncontrolled tumors, beginning in the bronchioles and spreading
throughout the body, damaging tissue along the way; this can cause an obvious
symptom of coughing up blood, but other symptoms include chest pains as well as
difficulty of breathing. In order to discover and locate tumors, procedures
like a bronchoscopy, X-ray, or a CT scan, but usually, the development of the lung
cancer has gone too much, and often times, the entire lung has to be removed
(but only if one lung is affected and the tumor has not spread). Other times, chemotherapy
or radiotherapy has to be used.

 

            The cardiovascular system is
effected in a short amount of time by smoking and the chemicals in it. Nicotine
is an addictive substance and causes pleasuring sensations of happiness, and it
makes it hard for people to quit smoking under this influence. It releases
adrenaline to pump up heat rate and blood pressure. It also decreases blood
supply but increases chances of blood clotting. The effects of carbon monoxide
and its combination with hemoglobin, but this was largely outlined in the past
chapter; the main point to remember is that there is less oxygen in the blood. It
strains the body and lessens the amount of physical activity that a person can
do without struggling for oxygen. Large-term effects on the cardiovascular
system are rampant. Coronary heart disease, stroke, and other diseases is a big
cause of death in developed countries, like America. Smoking is only one cause
of coronary heart disease, and other causes consist of hereditary genetics and
high levels of cholesterol.

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