Guest Author - Rann Patterson
Our lungs make up one of the largest organs in our body, and work with the respiratory system to allow us to breathe. Each person has two, and the left one is slightly smaller than the right one to make room for our heart. We breathe in fresh air, and we exhale stale air. We wouldnít be able to talk without our lungs.
Our lungs are protected by our rib cage, which is connected to our spine. Our diaphragm located beneath the lungs, works with them to allow us to inhale and exhale.
ANATOMY OF THE LUNG
The inside of the lungs are spongy and contain tubes called bronchi (brong-kye). The tubes resemble branches and limbs on a tree. The stems are called bronchus (brong-kuss), and the tiniest tubes are called bronchioles (brong-kee-oles). There are about 30,000 of them in each lung, each the size of a human hair.
At the end of each bronchiole is a special area that leads into clumps of tiny air sacs called alveoli (al-vee-oh-lie). There are about 600 million alveoli in our lungs, and if they were stretched out, they would cover an entire tennis court! A single alveolus has a mesh-like covering of very small blood vessels we know as capillaries.
LUNGS FILTER/MOVE AIR
While we are doing daily tasks, we are unconscious that it is taking dozens of body parts working together with the lungs to get that air in there without us ever thinking about it! When we breathe in our diaphragm decreases to make room for the expansion of our lungs. When we exhale, it all goes in reverse.
All during this time air is traveling through our mouth, nose, and trachea (windpipe). There are tiny hairs located on the inside of the windpipe called cilia that move gently to keep mucus and dirt out of the lungs.
The air then goes through the bronchial system into our lungs, through all those branches and stems, ending up at the alveoli. These millions of stems are what actually fill up with oxygen and make the lungs expand when we inhale. When this happens, oxygen from the air is able to pass into our bloodstream sending it into the body. Every cell in our body needs oxygen to be able to live. Healthy blood is called oxygenated blood.
When we exhale, everything goes in reverse order, and the body then disposes of wastes such as carbon dioxide. During this cleansing process, the air becomes warm while passing back through all the channels. What an amazing process. Which human architect could ever attempt such a design?
Not only do we breathe, but we talk, sing, laugh, cry and shout during games- all because of our lungs!
WHAT IRRITATES THE LUNGS
Smoking and Smog are the largest irritants to the lungs. If you are a Heating & Cooling expert, or work on anything that involves a filter, you should understand and appreciate more than anyone how the lungs work. Every filter on a machine must be cleaned properly for the machine to stay functioning. A mechanic must clean the filter on a car or any other mechanism, or the engine will burn up. What happens when we donít clean the filter on the clothes dryer, or if we donít clean the filter on an air conditioning unit?
The lungs are truly similar, except much more important because they help us, as human beings, to live. We are not inanimate objects.
Smoking is a voluntary action, and is very detrimental to the lungs. When you smoke, you are actually breathing fire and excessive heat down into your windpipe burning away the protective cilia hairs, allowing toxins and pollutants in. The nicotine turns into tar that eventually renders your lungs incapable of doing their job.
The body is an amazing thing, and this complex living system will try to continue to correct what you are doing. However, it cannot keep up the pace. If you continue to smoke, devastating results will occur. In short, you may develop adult asthma, emphysema, or cancer. All three illnesses render a person with not being able to get their breath. However, once cancer is diagnosed, and either a partial lobe or entire lung is able to be removed, a person is left with alot less room to gather air. Emotionally, this causes great anxiety and fear, the lungs that are left cannot deliver as much oxygen to the body, so the rest of the body suffers. And finally, a lung cancer patient's life span is drastically reduced.
Not only are the lungs affected, but every other part mentioned above them can become cancerous, including the voice box (larynx). Even if you survive from larynx cancer, they have to remove it, and you will never be able to hear your own voice ever again, nor will anybody else. Iíve seen this first hand and itís heartbreaking.
Smog is pollution that usually hangs over a very populated city, normally one with a lot of automobile traffic and/or industrial pollution. If the weather pattern gets stalled and does not move the toxic clouds away, residents usually suffer from eyes that sting, and cases of asthma increase. If you suffer from asthma and live in a city with constant smog, if there is any way possible, move to a healthier climate!
CELL BREAKDOWN (SIMPLE ANALYSIS)
When a toxin enters the bloodstream, say from smoking, the toxin steals a neutron from a otherwise healthy cell. This, in turn unbalances the healthy cell, and it steals a neutron from another healthy cell to balance itself, and the cycle just keeps going on and on. Eventually, if toxins are not stopped, the unbalanced cells begin to divide, which in turn causes what we know as cancer.
Donít smoke. Try to quit. Talk to your doctor about a regimen to help you kick the habit once and for all!
Avoid smog, or smoke-filled areas, such as second-hand smoke, fire pits, cooking grills, etc.
Wear a mask in art or shop class, or while working with drywall or similar projects.
Exercise is excellent for your lungs because it produces heavy and deep breathing, not to mention benefits to your heart. If you are in generally good shape and can exercise on a regular basis, it helps transmit oxygen to the blood, which then flows throughout the body keeping cells alive and healthy. Even if you are out of shape, minimal movement three times a week is good to start. This is a main cancer preventive measure, I cannot stress this enough. Be sure to check with your doctor before any new exercise regimen.
CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE HABITS
Biking, running, or swimming are a few examples of intense exercise that moves more air that gives your cells the extra oxygen they need. As you breathe more deeply and take in more air, your lungs will eventually become stronger and better at supplying your body with the air it needs to succeed.
Remember: Buy fresh veggies & fruits! Colors: green, red, orange;
Garlic & onion.
Keep your lungs healthy, and they will love you right back - for life!