All smokers are well aware of the dangers that smoking poses on their bodies. Each body part and sense is severely affected, especially in the case of chain smoking. Along with various other cancers and diseases, lung cancer is a common outcome of smoking. However, there are cases where lung cancer is detected long after it has been present in the body. This article shows how we can establish the lung damage caused by smoking.
Chronic “Smoker’s” Cough
A regular cough, that occurs as a result of a cold, sounds and feels a lot different than a smoker’s cough. It starts off as a persistent and uncomfortable lingering cough, that does not seem to go away. As it progresses, the sound of the cough becomes hoarse and frisky, but that is not the only unpleasant aspect of it. Due to toxic chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide, one is likely to suffer from bronchitis. As a result, the bronchial passages become swollen and infected, leading to a severe cough. Furthermore, nicotine makes it harder for lungs to remove the tar from the lungs that is inhaled by smoking. Therefore, the cough comes out bearing phlegm, and sometimes blood, due to the irritants present in the lungs and wind pipe.
If your breathing becomes raspy and you experience continuous wheezing due to smoking, it may be a sign that your lungs are getting affected negatively. Furthermore, you may even experience trouble breathing properly, and experience chest tightening sensations due to lack of air. This is because the airways and lung tissues become inflated, causing tightness of chest or loss of breath. Furthermore, when this inflammation continues, scar tissue starts to build up, and breathing becomes harder. Secondly, the alveoli through which oxygen reaches the lungs get destroyed permanently. In severe cases, this can lead to emphysema, which can result in death due to shortness of breath.
Changes in Voice
Over time, regular smokers may develop a hoarse and uneven voice. The vocal cords are affected by tobacco which is inhaled during smoking. This is because the harmful fumes from smoking affect vocal cord nodules, which can seriously affect one’s ability to use the voice properly. Furthermore, smoking is known to cause not only lung cancer, but cancer of the throat box and esophagus as well. Because the lungs are unable to remove harmful toxins from the blood, air and rest of the body, the effect can be heard in one’s voice.
Physical Changes in the Lungs
The most direct way of finding out if the lungs have been affected by smoking, is to check with a doctor for physical differences. A smoker’s lungs would clearly indicate a vast difference in what their lungs look like and what normal lungs should look like. Healthy lungs are full and pink, due to the continuous supply of oxygen. A smoker’s lungs are black, as if smoking has, quite literally, sucked the life out of them. This is due to the deposition of tar in the lungs that comes from smoking. Furthermore, lungs have cilia in them, which are tiny hair-like structures present to move particles through the lungs to ensure even breathing. Smoking damages the cilia, which is why breathing becomes uneven, and this also makes the lungs appear darker since they are not being regularly cleaned.
Last but not least, lung cancer is a sure shot way to determine that the lungs have been damaged far enough by smoking. Lung cancer can occur to other reasons too, since it does not only occur in a smoker. However, for a regular smoker, it is highly probable that smoking is the main cause. Furthermore, the symptoms associated with lung cancer mostly materialize after the cancer has developed, which is why it is hard to detect signs of cancer beforehand.
In conclusion, there are ways to find out about lung damage caused by smoking, but be sure to know that damage will always be done. There is no way in which the lungs would remain perfectly healthy over a long period of time if you are a chain smoker. Therefore, rather than going through the trials and tribulations of cancer, keep yourself safe and avoid smoking at all costs.