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Expect to get COPD if you Smoke

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        <p>Many people think that smoking won't effect them the way they
see it affect others. Most of the younger people who smoke feel a certain
invincibility. Why shouldn't they, they've been told the world is at
their feet and they can accomplish anything. Sadly though, many start
smoking very casually at first and then it just becomes a natural
extension of their cult o' personality.</p>
<p>Many older people who smoke will tell you that it was the biggest
mistake they ever made. I've often had patients tell me they wished they
had never started the habit. Of course, this is some 30-40 years later
when their sense of invincibility is not quite as strong.</p>
<p>That's the thing about smoking, it's kind of like that tortoise in the
race with the rabbit. It just slowly plods along until it wears you out.
Before you realize it, you need a pack of cigarettes each day to get that
same feeling or buzz. Then before you realize it, you need a cigarette to
deal with the stresses of the day. Finally, you start noticing chest
pains or shortness of breath or a cough that just won't go away. But by
this time, smoking has essentially won the race.</p>
<p>Lets look at one disease, COPD. Many know this by another name,
emphysema. Don't believe half of what you read on the internet by people
who aren't acutely familiar with this disease. A lot of it is just hear-
say or someone's best guess. In a nutshell, COPD is where someone's
airways become inflamed and constrict when they exhale. This essentially
traps air in the lungs, not allowing for a full exhalation. This is what
gives many people with COPD that tell-tale barrel chest. Their lungs just
can't get all the air out. So what's the big deal you may ask? Well, if
you can't get all the air out, then you can't exchange the bad air for
good air - carbon dioxide for oxygen. Eventually, your body tries to
adjust to the higher levels of carbon dioxide it has to handle. But it
can only compensate for so long. Then the heart and kidneys become
distressed and now you're talking about multi-system involvement.</p>
<p>I have had people with COPD brag that they can take a deep breath in.
It's like that is a sign they can point to as an indicator of proper lung
health. But I always respond with, "<em>Yes, but can you breathe it all
out?</em>". Of course, the answer is that they cannot, hence the name
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. They are obstructed when
they try to breathe out, the airways simply collapse and it feels like
you're trying to exhale through a straw.</p>
<p>This eventually leads to shortness of breath and the dependence on
airway medications like inhalers and steroids. Not the kind that give you
bulk, but rather the kind that reduce the inflammation in your lungs.
Many people who suffer from COPD are dependent on oxygen therapy as well.
The reason why oxygen medical supply companies are so popular these days
is because so many people smoke. COPD patients and cardiac patients are
the two largest users of home oxygen. Both of course, although not
entirely, are smoking related diseases.</p>
<p>Despite this, smoking continues to enjoy popularity among the people
of the world. In fact, 20% of all Americans smoke. Curiously, 20% of all
deaths in the US are due to smoking as well. So look over the stop
smoking benefits. I think you'll be amazed at how much there is to gain
through smoking cessation.</p>        <!--INFOLINKS_OFF-->
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posted:7/10/2011
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