Cigarette Smoking and the Secondhand Smoking Disease, Emphysema Gregory A. Smith, Jr. University of Phoenix COMM/105 Dr. R. LoDato March 24, 2010 Cigarette smoking is a worldwide problem. Studies show that one in three adult’s smoke, with more than one billion people smoking worldwide. The number of non- smokers, are far greater; however, the hazardous risks from inhaling the harmful chemicals released from cigarette smoke, seems to somehow outweigh the risks of the smoker’s themselves. 3,000 non- smoking adults die of diseases caused by exposure to second- hand smoke each year.
One of the main culprits is Emphysema. Emphysema can be described as an abnormal condition of the lungs, with a noticeable decrease of respiratory function. It can also be associated with smoking or chronic bronchitis or old age. Cigarette smoke is the leading cause of emphysema. When inhaling tobacco smoke, it temporarily paralyzes the microscopic hairs that line bronchial air ways. These hairs sweep irritants and germs out of a person’s airways, but when smoke interferes with this sweeping movement, from the paralysis, irritants remain in a person’s bronchial tubes
Emphysema is a progressive disease of the lungs that can cause shortness of breath. The physical shapes of the lungs are destroyed in people with emphysema. There can be several types of emphysema; although they can all be life threatening, not all of them come from cigarette smoke. Subcutaneous Emphysema – Is a disorder in which bubbles of air become trapped under the skin. This type of emphysema can occur after surgery and can also develop in cases of gas gangrene. The most frequent cause of subcutaneous emphysema develops from rupture of the lung tissue.
Mediastinal Emphysema – Is another kind of emphysema that stems from rupturing of the lungs. Surrounding the heart and central blood vessels, a pocket of air contained within the mediastinum, is usually what forms as a result. Pulmonary Emphysema – This type of emphysema is irreversible, and it happens when the alveolar walls have been destroyed. It can occur in two forms, centrilobular emphysema, and panlobular (or panacinar) emphysema. Distinguishing between the two types can become difficult in advanced cases.
Centrilobular Emphysema is the form most commonly seen in cigarette smokers, and many experts believe it is confined to only smokers. Centrilobular emphysema is more commonly seen in the upper lobes of the lung. Some impairment of a person’s ability will have occurred by the time the disease has developed. Two of the most common symptoms of emphysema are shortness of breath and a reduced capacity for physical activity. As it progresses the symptoms are becoming worse. A few more signs of this disease are a chronic, mild cough, which can cause a person to produce sputum or phlegm.
Weight loss because of loss of appetite is also common with emphysema. Truthfully, the act of eating can become more difficult because it can leave a person out of breath. Fatigue is also an issue. Patients with emphysema are feeling tired because it is more difficult to breathe, a person’s body is receiving less oxygen to cope with even basic everyday life. I read a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, and my findings were that nonsmokers exposed to second- hand smoke were 25% more likely to have coronary heart disease compared to non- smokers not exposed to smoke.
Of course, the most important step in treating smokers with emphysema and other related diseases is to quit smoking; it is the only way to prevent the damage to a person’s lungs from becoming worse. Treating this disease can be as simple as people using a Bronchodilator, which can help with shortness of breath and trouble breathing. Another type of drug used in treating emphysema is Corticosteroid drugs. Although side effects may occur by inhaling this drug as an aerosol spray; relief from asthma and bronchitis, associated with emphysema may occur.
Various forms of oxygen can also provide some relief when introduced to a person’s lungs. By infusing the alpha-1- antitrypsin protein, people can experience some relief. A host of different antibiotics can cure respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia; all of which can lead to complications with emphysema. Surgeons remove damaged lung tissue, in a procedure called lung volume reduction, with hopes of curing people of emphysema. If all else has failed, lung transplantation also can be an option to people with severe emphysema. I for one would hate to have to endure these types of pains and discomforts.
If the information in this essay won’t persuade people to quit smoking and began a better way of life, for themselves as well as others, then I guess those people simply do not want a better way of life. So in closing, cigarette, cigar, pipe smoke and even second- hand smoke can potentially be life threatening. Tobacco smoking can make a person’s life uncomfortable, and with all the different types of emphysema, it almost seems inevitable that a person will contract at least one of these types of emphysema. References wordnetweb. princeton. edu/perl/webwn http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/emphysema